Whiling away a lazy Sunday afternoon having high tea is somewhat of an institution in London and England.
Typically, this results in the loosening of waistbands and a sugar high (followed by a sugar crash) to give even the hardest junkie an unforgettable fix. An endless layering of dainty, crustless sandwiches and sweet desserts of varying colours and creations. I find there is only so much I can eat before saturation point. Before I just cant swell anymore. This is why high tea at Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel was so perfect because it’s more experiential and there are courses where sugars do not feature on the plate at all.
Photo credit @food_feels
Ham Yard Hotel, London
Ham Yard Hotel has a distinctly urban village feel and its eclectic interiors have been designed by Kit Kemp in modern British style. Owned by the Firmdale group, Ham Yard was awarded ‘Best Afternoon Tea’ at the prestigious Harden’s London Restaurant Awards 2016. Unassuming from the outside, the inside is truly beautiful with bar and restaurant areas, vintage bowling lanes and private event areas; all the way up to the rooftop terrace with urban views of the Soho skyline.
Ham Yard High Tea Experience
High tea at Ham Yard is not your quintessential ‘all-you-can-eat’ experience, although believe me you will depart feeling perfectly satisfied. They combine alternative menus with savoury, healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan options. Our day was spent reclining on beautiful couches in the Orangery, surrounded by funky furniture and plants under a glass ceiling, allowing light and sunshine to stream in.
At £60 per person it isn’t a cheap day out although most days out in London are not for the price conscious. Just pay the money, sit back and enjoy this memorable treat, a true experience, instead of crying into your champagne which is served promptly upon arrival.
Whilst we sipped bubbles from long-stemmed glasses, our waitress brought around a tea menu from which we could select our favourite(s). Tea is served on Kit Kemp’s beautiful Wedgwood bespoke chinaware, decorated with mythical creatures and specially designed for Ham Yard. It is beautiful and compliments the surroundings well.
Next up, a layered selection of dainty and colourful vegetables, tarragon chicken and seafood finger sandwiches arrived before a small plate of lobster, caviar and select meat dish was laid before us. With a palate-refreshing signature cocktail, a collection of miniature vegetables in a goats cheese and parsley display was washed down with sips of mint-infused gin. Oh and let’s not forget about the absolutely divine risotto cups!
A wonderful addition to the day and before the desserts had arrived, we relished the novel opportunity to create our own signature infusions in small glass teapots. A table with dried fruit, herbs, vanilla pods and berries was laid out to create an infusion, personally crafted and perfectly unique. It helped prepare us for the divine patisserie of cakes and taste sensation that followed.
Naturally they offered the classic treats such as scones, a selection of delicious jams and essential clotted cream but they also brought macaroons and wonderful hand crafted desserts. I’m led to believe that the Head Chef, Robin Read and his team are constantly evolving and changing the impressive deserts on offer.
It was an afternoon well spent, chatting with good friends and experiencing a taste delight in the most wonderful ambiance. Bookings must be made in advance but after arriving, all you have to do is eat, enjoy and be merry.