Tag: afternoon tea

This was my last blog post coming to you from London! This past Sunday I flew to Los Angeles to join my husband and start my new life. The blog will remain the same and I’m hoping to have more time to post – these past few weeks have been a whirlwind of packing and goodbyes with very little time for blogging! Expect more Los Angeles/USA related vegan stuff in the future!

One of the special things I’ve done during my final week was to visit Claridges for afternoon tea with my mum. We’ve also been to Fortnum and Masons for my mum’s birthday last year but we both agreed this experience was vastly superior!

There are 22 teas to choose from. I chose the Himayalan First Flush and mum had the Single Estate Afternoon Tea. You’re also able to have a glass of champagne or wine but because I don’t drink we declined to have one.



The Himayalan First Flush was delicious – a very bright and clean tasting tea which needed no sugar or milk! I definitely tasted the apricot.

One thing I really liked about how Claridges serves their tea – their teapots only hold enough water for one cup at a time. This means the tea isn’t overbrewed. The wait staff are very attentive and notice very quickly when your cup is empty – we both ended up drinking five (!!) cups of tea during our tea.

The first course was the sandwiches. For the vegan option the sandwiches are:
Mushroom with pinenuts, tomato and olive spread, cucumber and olive spread, hummus and peppers and roasted butternut squash with caramelised onions. The little one on the side was an avocado mousse on a savoury scone with crispy onions on top.

My favourite sandwiches were the mushroom and the butternut squash. I was pleasantly surprised by the tomato one – I normally hate raw tomato but this was delicious! The avocado mousse had a pretty strong lemon taste so I was glad I chose to eat it last. Of course if you wanted you could ask for as many sandwiches as you wanted!

The next two courses were served together. You can see my mum’s vegetarian option on the top in the first photo and my vegan option on the bottom of the photo.



Two vegan scones, one with fruit and one plain. The jam – called Marco Polo was incredible – spiced with tea and spices. One of the wait staff said it was made in France and they had been using it for their afternoon tea for the last eight years! It was available for sale at the end of the meal for the not-so-cheap price of sixteen pounds!
There was no cream alternative for vegans so soya spread was served alongside the jam. I wasn’t too bothered about this but I know it might be an issue for vegans looking for the authentic “clotted cream” experience.

The scones were very well baked – nice and crunchy on the outside but soft and pillowy on the inside. They are quite small but we liked that! When I asked for another scone I was brought one that had clearly just been freshly baked – it was still hot from the oven!

The dessert portion of the tea consisted of a coconut tapioca pudding with mango and kiwi, a tofu chocolate mousse, a ginger spiced brownie with fresh fruit and a chocolate.

 I started with the tapioca as I wanted something lighter after the scones. It was a nice pudding but nothing crazy. After I decided to have the tofu mousse, I figured it would have some kind of fruit inside to contrast a bit with the richness of the chocolate but it was actually just solid mousse. It was very rich tasting – a great dessert for all those tofu haters out there. After working my way through the mousse I definitely couldn’t fit in the brownie and the chocolate so I ended up asking to take them home with me. Claridges boxed up my vegan things seperate from my mum’s vegetarian desserts and I’m sure many vegans would appreciate the gesture.

When paying the bill we were both given a boxed piece of fudge – which unfortunately isn’t remotely close to being vegan. It would be great if they offered a piece of decent quality dark chocolate to their vegan diners at the end of the afternoon tea.
That however, was my only criticism! Since this was a gift I wasn’t allowed to know the price but I think we can assume it was quite a lot!

You can find Claridges at Brook St, London, W1K 4HR, online, on Twitter, Instagram and on Facebook.



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Afternoon tea is a British institution and Fortnums does it extremely well. Imagine my delight when they did a vegan selection! They also do dairy and gluten free, gluten free and a bunch of other special diet options. It’s always great to see vegans and other special diets represented in main stream places.

I went to Fortnums with a very good friend of mine who had the classic version so you will see some of her food in the photos as well.

Dikom Golden Butterfly

I’m a bit of a tea snob and the tea menu at Fortnums is fantastically long. I went for a Single Estate Assam called Dikom Golden Butterfly. It was beautifully smooth tasting with a slight hint of caramel. I ended up drinking two teapots worth during our time in the restaurant.

Obviously, eating afternoon tea at somewhere like Fortnums is not going to be cheap (£40 for their own classic blends and £44 for a single estate tea like mine) But I’m happy to report that they will refresh any of the plates for you as many times as you like. We had extra sandwiches and scones and left feeling completely stuffed!

The Vegan afternoon tea menu

The sandwiches

 

I started with my sandwiches. The char grilled pepper with salsa verdi was easily my favourite and asked for a refresh! I’m not a huge fan of cucumber but I actually enjoyed the sandwich very much. The bread was light and fluffy and not at all dry – previously when I’ve had afternoon tea you could tell the sandwiches were not fresh due to the bread being dry.

The scones with dairy-free butter

Next the scones! Slightly warm and pillow-y soft. I’m completely aware that many people are scared of vegan baking and I was so happy to see I got scones! A lot of the time vegan baking can be dense and cake-y but these scones were super light. The dairy-free butter was great as well. I had some of the scones with Fortnums strawberry jam – which you can’t really go wrong on!

The final tier – seasonal fruits

I know many people would be unhappy with a fruit salad to top off their afternoon tea but for me it was lovely. After eating all the carbs during the rest of the tea it was great to have something light to finish on.  There was also a lot of fruit I’d never tried before like starfruit and dragon fruit. I’m not a big fan of melon usually but I really enjoyed it here and made my husband proud!

Enjoying our tea!

At the end of our tea we were offered more cake – sadly none of it was vegan but I took a slice of Victoria sandwich home for my mum. We also got to take home the jam and lemon curd.

The service throughout was impeccable, we were offered numerous refreshes on our tea and food. The only thing that bothered us was the tea room was FREEZING so we had to keep our cardigans on the whole time! I would definitely come back!

You can book afternoon tea at Fortnums online here and follow them online on Twitter @fortnums

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Today I went for my second visit to Raw at La Suite West!
La Suite West
41-51 Inverness Terrace
London
W2 3JN

The restaurant is part of the La Suite West, a boutique hotel with a minimalist design. What makes La Suite West different is it’s restaurant : RAW, a vegan, sometimes gluten-free and sometimes raw food experience. Glancing at the evening menu I’ll definitely be coming back here.

Both times I’ve visited RAW I’ve had the afternoon tea. There’s something infinitely appealing and charming about a vegan afternoon tea!

Afternoon tea menu, each course comes one after the other on separate plates

Darjeeling 2nd flush in a Jing teapot! 

You can choose from a selection of loose leaf teas or coffee prepared to your liking (ask for soya milk – today they automatically gave us cow milk…) I chose the Darjeeling 2nd flush. Beautiful tasting tea, very light and great to have black. The staff are more than happy to refill your pot with more hot water if asked.

On a side note – After the cow milk appeared on the table I took a look at the brunch menu of the restaurant and I was intrigued to see eggs and beef available. On my last visit to the restaurant I wasn’t aware they served any animal products at all. The brunch menu did not look very friendly to vegans (a porridge and a fruit salad), a bit bizarre considering the restaurant is called RAW.

The first thing to arrive is the selection of finger sandwiches:

I was not a fan of the tofu scramble sandwich or the aubergine. The tofu scramble lacked real flavour and ended up with a squishy bland consistency. The aubergine was slimy but chewy. Most of our party ended up leaving this sandwich. However, the butternut squash, hummus and the portbello (the best one in my opinion) were delicious. I’d have happily swapped the tofu scramble and aubergine for any of those three!

Next the scones with coconut whipped cream and strawberries!

The scones! Great scones, slight flavour of almond which I loved. The coconut cream was light and fluffy this visit, last time a little slimy and separated. There is also Tiptree strawberry jam! I very much enjoyed this portion of the tea.

Finally the trio of cakes

Mini Chocolate and Coconut cake, Mini Passionfruit Bavarois, Mini Orange and Date raw cheesecake

Passionfruit bavarois, massive thumbs up! Light and creamy, almost like a solid pana cotta. I was really interested to know how it could have been made. The little biscuit tasted of cinnamon, like a christmas biscuit. Very enjoyable. The raw cheesecake I also enjoyed immensely but I am a big fan of raw desserts in general. The chocolate cake I found a little bitter, I thought it could have done with something else a little sweeter to balance it out.

All in all, a very pleasant experience and a happy vegan belly. I’ll definitely be coming back to try the evening menu (Wild spinach gnocchi..um hello!!!)

You can follow La Suite West on Twitter here

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