Monday, 22 April 2013

Not So Afternoon Tea

Well hello there! 

A couple of weeks ago I carted my Mum off to London for her Mother's Day treat. Now, we're not usually huge spenders in my family when it comes to present giving...little gestures and the bits that we've alway deemed too irrelevant to spend our hard-earned money on are the bits that we get - £20-£30 is usually our budget and a lot of handmade gifts were given last christmas.

But I pushed the boat out a bit for this Mother's Day. Since beginning university 2 years ago and with my move to America for a year getting ever closer (4 months now!!) my Mum and I have got a lot closer. I'm at an age now where I understand how annoying those things that I use to do as a hormonal teen were and how disrespectful I could be. So as a thank you I decided to cart her away to London for a day of shopping, girly chats, makeup & afternoon tea (or not so as this case may be...)! 

We started at Camden, having a mooch and a mulled wine (it was FREEZING) before midday. Then we headed to Regent's Street to check out the newly opened & Other Stories which was every bit as beautiful as I had hoped. Then the big guns were pulled out - Selfridges. We spent an hour at the least in the beauty hall. Making our hands very messy with swatches and making our pockets a lot lighter. Mum was treated to a makeover at the Clinique counter and I took the opportunity to swoon of Illamasqua's new I'MPERFECTION range. 

Then we headed to the OXO Tower and up to the top floor for Not Afternoon Tea at the Harvey Nichols Restaurant. We were seated next to the window, overlooking the Thames at St Pauls. 

I've always liked the idea of afternoon tea, but was looking for something a bit quirkier. The Not Afternoon Tea is an offering of sweet treats on a themed desert plate, accompanied with a (very strong) cocktail to boot. You can choose from 4 Flavours; Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Hot & Sticky, Taywell Preserved or Chocolate Fruit & Nut Case. 

I opted for the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. A coffee mousse with espresso syrup, peppermint tea parfait, thai tea sorbet, 4 fruit tea pannacotta, berry jelly & there was supposed to be a green tea frangipane but I swapped it to a rhubarb and fennel meringue because of my intolerance. YUM. The highlights for me were the light and delicate coffee mousse which had quite some kick to it and the 4 fruit tea pannacotta which just melted in the mouth and was over far far too quickly for my liking. The plate was finished with a "Drink Me" hot cocktail. This bad boy was STRONG (capitals absolutely necessary). A heady mix of Chambord & Antica formula vermouth, heated with Velvet falemum, rasberry puree & 4 fruit tea - dashed with smokey Laphroaig whisky. I'll be honest, it wasn't to my taste. I like sweet drinks and all I could taste was whisky - the only downer of the whole experience. 

My Mum went for Hot & Sticky; banana cake, baileys caramel pandan rice pudding, lemongrass chilli ice cream, turkish baklava & a caramelised apple puff. The smells coming from that plate were something else. The baklava was flaky and melting and the banana cake sticky and so very very naughty. The "Guilty Pleasure" cocktail was another strong'un. Appleton VX rum shaken with creme de banana with cocobut syrup, fresh lime juice, fratello hazelnut liqueur and Amargo chuncho bitters. I would really only recommend the cocktails if you like heady, severely alcoholic concoctions. But the food was a solid 9.   

The service was excellent. They state on the website that they cater for all allergies - was this truly means is that you can pick the bits that you can eat from the whole menu and sort of mix and match. Not quite what I was expecting but delicious none the less. The plates come in at £24.50 per plate, but a 12.5% service charge is automatically added to your bill - and the water is not free, nor cheap. 

It was so lovely to be able to give something back to my Mum and to spend some time together at the same time. Love you Mum!! 


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