Words by Anuja Gaur
The afternoon tea has been an iconic symbol of exquisite British decadence for a long time, with the likes of London’s high society icons Claridge’s and The Ritz producing admirable bucket list-worthy offerings. Who wouldn’t want to sit among the glitzy walls and experience their quintessential ham and mustard sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream and delectable pastries with a cup or two of earl grey?
Increasingly, however, we have seen a rise in the afternoon ‘treat’ concept of a simple, yet, delicious slice of cake teamed with tea, coffee or Champagne with the likes of Instagram hotspots, Megan’s and Cafe Elan reaping the rewards of the nation’s coffee and cake culture. Hot on their heels is Mayfair newcomer, Moncks Of Dover Street, the British aristocratic gem brought to us by the team behind the ultra-glamorous, Chinese A-list elite favourite, Park Chinois. The brasserie’s inspiration pays tribute to Clarendon Estate owner and 17th century duke, Christopher Monck. Opened in 2019 it has already carved a five-star reputation with a classic all-day brasserie menu with a W1 luxury twist – Eggs Benedict with truffle and artichokes, brioche lobster rolls with optional caviar and truffled mac and cheese to name a few.
Situated arms-length from its oriental sibling, the restaurant interiors infuse a contemporary vibe with an injection of 1920s style glamour completed with large booths, stone flooring and a colour palette of creams and chocolate brown that echo old money.
Warmly welcomed, I was immediately greeted to a sweet aroma followed by the most mouth-watering buffet display of freshly baked cakes and desserts. The selections consisted of three cakes in flavours of red velvet, maple frosted coffee and carrot with caramelised pecans. These were individually encased in solid glass domes beside fine china platters of blackberry frosted financiers (mini almond cakes flavoured with beurre noisette), chocolate filled raspberry macarons, French meringues and rum babas (small yeast cakes) soaking in lashings of Caribbean rum. Next to the desserts stood a small menu set in an exquisite, antique gold painted frame with individual cake labels in Alice in Wonderland “Eat/Drink Me” designs placed by each treat.
Gazing at the lavish selection I finally made my choices; the classic favourite red velvet cake slice and a macaroon, whilst my partner opted for the rum baba. As we picked up our plates the waiter had kindly insisted that we relax and allow him to bring our sweets to us in our spacious comfortable booth. A great spot, we had full view of the stunning marble topped bar, displaying the finest gins, whiskies and spirits.
Complementing our cakes were two glasses of perfectly chilled Prosecco. I started off with the macaron which was a medley of soft chewiness, swirl of raspberry sharpness and rich smooth dark chocolate – it managed to rival my all-time favourite offerings at Laduree. As the red velvet cake made its way, I was stunned by the larger-than-expected portion, centred and topped with generous layers of cream cheese frosting and completed with sprinkles of red velvet crumbs. The cake, although moist with hints of chocolate running through, was very slightly overpowered with the sweet frosting; the creamy smooth texture was worth noting though and the crisp dryness of the Prosecco cut through the sugar hit. The true standout was the rum baba, a small, but more than sufficient sized, portion with an eclair and doughnut cross texture bathed in an abundance of delicious Caribbean rum – a real exotic flavour experience to remember.
The red velvet, though delicious, was a struggle to finish single-handed, however the suave, gentlemanly waiter had insisted on providing a takeaway box in case of any post-dinner dessert cravings. With that I sent my compliments to the talented pastry chefs who had brought this beautiful spread to the neighbourhood.
Freshly introduced in the new year by the Moncks of Dover Street team, the afternoon treat experience is available Monday to Friday from 3pm to 7pm, perfect for that mid/post shopping break, afternoon business meeting or even a romantic first date. Prices start from £1.50 for macaroons to £5 for a cake slice, worth every penny and ideal for sharing. Those looking for a beverage to complement their dessert are spoilt for a choice, with a wide selection of hot teas and coffees, classic and vintage Champagnes or one of 40 wines, including a £300 bottle, should it take your fancy.
Moncks have brought a truly wonderful experience to the tailored, well-heeled and glamorous crowds of Mayfair that is delicious and enjoyable, surrounded in low key yet exquisite surroundings with fantastic staff. Those of you looking for a refreshing getaway from the over-Instagrammed, £15 crushed sapphire lattes and neon pink interiors of Cafe Elan, or more icing than cake Hummingbird Bakery what are you waiting for? Your afternoon treat at Moncks of Dover Street awaits.
Address: 33 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4NF
Phone: 020 3978 7622