So it’s just that I like cake then, right? I like the savoury stuff too. In fact I often judge an afternoon tea experience on the savoury offering…favouring those that pay attention to making the sandwiches equally as exciting and delicious as the cake.
I don’t like the tea though. Is that weird? Possibly. But for me afternoon tea is less about its namesake and more about the experience; decadent indulgence that leaves you satisfyingly full and with a smile on your face.
The Ampersand Hotel in Kensington certainly ticked all of these boxes.
Before we had even got a mitts on the afternoon tea, I knew that we were in for a treat. The Ampersand Hotel itself is stunning – traditional elegance with a contemporary twist, and I think that is perfectly echoed in the food on offer there as well.
We were greeted by a light and airy drawing room, with bright colour accents, bold prints and quirky details.
We were seated in that bold and beautiful window seat right there, which meant we had full view of the rest of the drawing room – perfect for the nosy people watcher in me!
It also meant that we were seated right in front of this delectable collection…
These were not quite delicate enough to be gracing our afternoon tea cake stands, but we all greedily eyed up the meringues in particular. I am pretty sure that if our afternoon tea had left us wanting, we would all have packed ourselves off with one of these to take home. But of course, that was never going to happen…
The Ampersand Hotel offers a traditional afternoon tea (with a vegetarian alternative) or a themed special. When I initially booked our table, as a treat for Dani’s birthday, the special afternoon tea was Wimbledon themed.
But Wimbledon had been and gone by the time we descended upon the Ampersand, and in its place was a Musical afternoon tea instead.
Although this looked delicious, and I loved the quirky musical desserts, I decided to opt for the traditional alternative. It was only the white chocolate scones from the Musical Afternoon Tea that nearly made me regret my decision, but the kind waiter brought me some extra to sample, so I had the best of both worlds.
The Ampersand certainly pays attention to detail on the sandwiches, opting for an open top sandwich on the traditional afternoon tea, and choux buns with the same fillings for the musical tea.
I devoured each and every filling, an unusual feat for me as I am normally curtailed by an egg sandwich, but all of these tantalised my taste buds.
There were delicious combinations: Gloucester old spot ham & sauce gribiche; H.Forman & Son London smoked salmon; Dill & cream cheese; Coronation chicken and Cheddar with fruit chutney.
The scones were served warm, I particularly loved my extra special white chocolate scone, with the extra sweet twang from the melted chocolate. I also managed to squeeze a plain scone down, which was equally delicious. They were slightly crispy around the edges but delicately soft inside, and the homemade jam was so soft that it glided over the top of them,
And then there were the cakes, as if we weren’t already full enough.
Chocolate brownie with peanut honey ganache, which was divine; Lemon meringue tart, which was light and twangy; Victoria sponge cake with a delicious vanilla tasting buttercream; a zingy Fruit cake; and an English breakfast tea chocolate bonbon, which I didn’t taste (on account of the anti-tea thing) but am reliably informed was super tasty.
It is all even tastier than it looks, I promise. I left the Ampersand thoroughly satisfied and planning what excuse I could use to visit again… I would love to try the Apero lunch menu there as well!