As part of Helen’s baby shower weekend at One Aldwych I had organised a surprise afternoon tea with the girls in the hotel’s Indigo restaurant.Based on its prime theatre land location, One Aldwych has based their afternoon tea offering on the latest musical to open in the West End, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.
Although a little sceptical about the idea of a ‘theme’ I thought it could be a fun gathering for the girls, so went ahead and made our Sunday afternoon reservation as the finale of our celebration weekend.
Having gone undercover in the private guests lounge for most of the morning, we arrived at our table to be greeted by the girls eagerly awaiting the honorary mum to be. Helen was suitably surprised; so much so, that she didn’t even notice our unexpected table guests for a good 30 seconds, which she later blamed on the ‘baby brain’We were presented with the themed menu which was decorated with quirky illustrations from the original story and detailed the extensive list of treats that we had to look forward to.Celebratory champagne and cocktails ordered, we set about catching up whilst our fun feast was prepared.
First to arrive was our ‘Cocktail Charlie’s’ in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic form. They were presented like something you would expect from Heston Blumenthal; a glass teapot filled with bubbling psychedelic liquid and smoke billowing from the spout. They were beautifully sweet with a hint of chocolate bitterness, and the entertainment factor of watching the ‘eager beavers’ try to drink them before the smoke subsided was too good to miss!Next up was the savoury selection which offered a welcome change from a plate of uniformly cut sandwiches. The traditional sandwiches were there; roast beef & horseradish, as well as cucumber and cream cheese; however these were accompanied by some savoury pastries which included a delicious mini heritage tomato tart.Hearing a commotion, we turned round to see fellow diners of both adults and children alike, shriek in delight as their afternoon tea was served, as the attention to detail of presentation was incredible!The grand finale was everything Willy Wonka could have wished for in his wildest dreams, as our table became filled with magical golden eggs with a gooey cheesecake centre, crackling lemon pops and pastel pink candy floss that tasted like the ‘Rhubarb & Custards’ from your childhood.A few minutes of extreme restraint passed whilst we all went into a photo- frenzy capturing our decadent feast for the purposes of our Instagram accounts. As soon as the last iPhone had been placed on the table, we all dived in.Mini bottles of chocolate caramel milk were sipped through stripy straws, whilst pots of Eton mess were devoured in seconds.Blueberry brioche and chocolate financiers were quirky takes on traditional scones; which we also enjoyed, laden with lashings of plum jam and Devonshire clotted cream.We were quickly entering a state of sugar induced bliss, but for some it all became a bit too much……!For one of the girls who was
supposedly on a strict diet, the hotel presented her with a bowl of vibrant fruit salad and sorbets at a moment’s notice, which I thought was a thoughtful and notable touch.I have experienced many ‘themed’ afternoon teas before, and most have proved to have tenuous links to their subject, or look amazing but taste a little disappointing. This Charlie & The Chocolate Factory version both looked and tasted incredible and the level of detail was remarkable.
With countless offers of refills on any of our items, we made more than a sterling effort at creating a cavity in one sitting, and soon there was nothing left to do at the end of our lovely afternoon, but present the guest of honour with her baby shower present.
……And what to buy for the blogger who has everything (including the biggest selection of handbags known to man….or woman)?
An Anya Hindmarch ‘Baby Kit’ of course!Including a changing mat and various pouches and compartments for all baby related things, it is a designer handbag collector’s essential; our own accessory connoisseur seemed suitably impressed.
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych is priced at £34.50 per person. Visit their website for more details >