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London: The Art of Tea

London: The Art of Tea
Afternoon tea, the most British of traditions is an indulgence we should do our best to uphold - the scoffing of neat little finger sandwiches with their crusts clipped, the warm scones smothered with lashings of clotted cream and jam, and the cakes. Oh the cakes. So, it was with much glee and a growling stomach that I discovered the 1901 Restaurant at Andaz Hotel were celebrating London's Design Festival by serving afternoon tea on hand crafted porcelain designed by renowned British artist Helen Beard. The perfect excuse to eat - culture and clotted cream.
The Andaz Hotel, hidden behind the mania of Liverpool Street in a beautiful Victorian building, serves high tea in its glam 1901 restaurant - sparkling central bar, marble floors and a service that is as polished as its tea cups. Helen Beard a ceramist, painter and illustrator, takes everyday happenings and translates them into cheeky, homely illustrations on pottery. Our tea pots, plates, cups and saucers payed homage to food stalls from Borough market - quirky eccentricities of London life.
 But lets get down to the bounty. Tea is a choice of three - Afternoon tea (£18), Cocktail Afternoon tea (£21) and Champagne Afternoon tea (£25), we opted for the cocktails with the quirky tea inspired drinks. Served in clear tea pots the Earl Grey tea cocktail was a tangy blend of Earl Grey tea, 209 gin, apricot jam and lemon juice which knocked you sideways. The Mint tea cocktail an electric green combo of peppermint tea, ginger infused vodka, apple schnapps, absinth and Midori - minty, sweet and potent. With our cocktails kicking in we tackle the sandwiches, a simple selection of parma ham and rocket, smoked salmon and cream cheese and an unusual cress and cranberry number. Next layer up, the scones - warm from the oven we tucked into raisin and sultana, plain, sweet cinnamon and Parmesan-olive and rosemary - which was
London: The Art of Tea
deliciously salty. And the finale the cakes - bite sized and beautiful - mini lemon meringue pie, a brownie, treacle pudding, orange cake and macaroon. All washed down with an enormous pot of tea. This is a great place to hide out for afternoon tea and languish the day away - pretty portions and prices make it a strong contender of the tea scene.
Craft Afternoon Tea at 1901 restaurant,
Andaz Liverpool Street,
40 Liverpool Street,
London EC2M 7QN
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20 September 2010
By: Laura Evans
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