Science Afternoon Tea: The Ampersand Hotel, Kensington in London
With Afternoon Tea at London’s The Ampersand Hotel Nick Constance is swept up in a wave of brew-phoria.
I could throw a scone out of the window and hit South Kensington tube station, so close is it to The Ampersand Hotel. i.e. well handy for a spot of High Tea.
The Ampersand is an elegant boutique hotel in South Kensington, a beautifully restored Victorian treasure near the V&A, Natural History Museum and many of London’s most popular museums. Indeed, the Science Afternoon Tea is a reference to the Ampersand’s close proximity to the Science museum.
It’s also well located for Harrods department store in Knightsbridge with Hyde Park, Chelsea and the Kings Road within easy reach. Slightly further afield is the new Design Museum on Kensington High Street.
The room we ‘take’ Afternoon Tea in is part English drawing room, part French tea salon: a triumphant mishmash of styles. The atmosphere, here, defies Afternoon Tea convention by being upbeat and cheerful rather than formal and ‘fuddy-duddy’.
Tiered cake-stands are brought ceremoniously to our table laden with delicate pastries, moist cakes and warm, freshly baked scones; and the whole lot is totally snackable.
Everything is made in-house by super-talented pastry chef Marie Bolland. There’s a cream Cheese Planet Mousse, Chocolate spacemen and mini dinosaur biscuits. Our Planet Mousse was even brought to life with a swirling mist of Blumenthalesque dry ice. Bravo, Ampersand, bravo!
It all looks scrumptious enough. The problem is – without having prior knowledge of what everything symbolises – the local references and connections could well pass you by.
The scones are crumbly and sweet. Tempting to eat unadorned – even better with lashings of strawberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream. Not having much of a sweet tooth, I particularly loved the smoked salmon and avocado Blinis and the bite-size seasonal quiches.
Let’s not forget the fabulous tea selection, too. I had a rather fiendish ‘Jade Sword’ green tea (“grown in misty mountains”) while JJ chose a full-bodied Assam Breakfast Tea. The whole feast is completed with a glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
Members of staff are always on hand to explain the menu, describing the teas and dispensing complimentary top-ups when required. Gluten Free and Vegetarian Science Afternoon Teas are also available. There’s even an allergy key on the menu, warning of ingredients we might be allergic to: peanuts, dairy, fish, soya, molluscs etc. They think of everything, here.
Star of the show: It’s gotta be the misty planet mousse.
Science Afternoon Teas are served from 2.30 – 5.30pm Monday to Friday (and Bank Holiday), and from 12.30 – 5.30pm at weekends. £45.50 per person. (£32.50 without Champagne).
For booking call +44 207 591 4414 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Private rooms for special occasions are also available.
Address: 10 Harrington Rd, Kensington, London, SW7 3ER+44 | (0) 207 589 5895