About Time: You Discovered London’s Best Vegan Afternoon TeasBy Rachel Hugh
Looking for the perfect place for afternoon tea in London that won’t break the bank? Or simply looking for somewhere to take your non-vegan friends that will impress even the greatest sceptics? We’ve got you covered. Many scones, cakes and copious cups of tea later, we’ve assembled a round up of the best spots for a plant-based afternoon tea this World Vegan Day.
The Run-Down: Set against the backdrop of the uber stylish Ham Yard Hotel, the afternoon spread here is modern and decadent, and the service is second to none. The Ham Yard Hotel, complete with its consistent element of surprises and grandiose features, transports you from the bustling streets of Soho to tranquil surroundings. The vibe here is always buzzing, and with afternoon tea served all week long, this is the perfect place to go for a last minute treat with friends.
Eat and Drink: Particular standouts are the curry sandwich, passion fruit jam, and apple ‘crumble’ – a wonderfully light and tangy apple mousse served in a shot glass with a layer of crunchy granola underneath.
Price: £22 with a pot of earl grey or breakfast tea. For a £5 supplement you can order additional sandwiches, or choose from a selection of the Ham Yard’s special teas for an extra £2.50.
Where: 1 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT
The Run-Down: A relative newcomer to the scene, Café Forty-One is London’s first vegan French patisserie. The miniature scones here can rival any non-vegan offering: they’re served super fresh alongside vegan clotted cream, vegan honey and berry compote.
Eat and Drink: The sandwiches are innovative and delicious; our top picks are the brioche roll with cream cheese and smoked carrot ‘salmon’ and a BLT with aubergine ‘bacon’ and vegan mayonnaise. The dessert selection – as should be expected from a French patisserie – is as good as it looks. The cinnamon roll and delicate berry shortbread are not to be missed. While afternoon tea is served all week through, we recommend visiting at the weekend for the best atmosphere!
Price: £35, including unlimited tea and a complimentary glass of non-alcoholic fizz. Fancy a mocktail? For a £5 supplement you can choose from either passion fruit and almond or lychee and vanilla.
The Run-Down: It’s difficult to not feel relaxed when having an afternoon tea in the middle of a Beech tree forest. The offering at Ethos makes a refreshing change from your more traditional afternoon teas; the food is fun, modern and very generously portioned.
Eat and Drink: We advise you to come on an empty stomach or be prepared to take a doggy bag home. For those scone purists out there, this offering comes complete with cashew clotted cream for the authentic experience. And the choice of teas is the nicest we’ve come across, with the baked apple chai being particularly good. They steer clear from your usual sandwich selection in favour of a mixture of savoury bites including a colourful beetroot muffin and a very moreish cheesy asparagus tart, and there’s also a selection of crudités and dips just to make sure you don’t go hungry. For those of you with a sweet tooth, their red velvet cupcake is an absolute must.
Price: £25, including a pot of tea. Available daily from 3-5pm.
The Run-Down: We heard on the grape vine that the amazing Oxo Tower have crafted the ultimate Vegan afternoon tea, so we checked in to see what it was all about.
Eat and Drink: They make no excuses, they welcomed the challenge and created the ultimate indulgent vegan afternoon tea with an amazing view to add. Clotted cream – no problem, cheese pickle sandwiches – of course, Penny’s homemade scones – here’s a stack! They aren’t afraid of pulling out all the stops – and those lemon meringue pies ARE to die for. You will have to wait though, you can book from January onwards in celebration of Veganuary! Trust us, it’s worth the wait.
Price: £35, you can add a glass of Prosecco for an additional £10.
Where: OXO Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank London SE1 9PH
The Run-Down: Farmacy high tea really is a force to be reckoned with, nestled in Notting Hill and surrounded by foliage, being ‘free from’ does not hinder the delicious options available here.
Eat and Drink: Their high tea is inspired by afternoon tea classics, think praline ganache, clotted cream scones and spinach cream quiche – complete with cocktails and infusions. Who can believe that we can finally get hold of a comforting and celebratory high-end plant-based high tea right here in London. What a time to be alive. On top of the amazing innovative house-made fancies, the stand out sweet bite is definitely their CBD-infused sweet truffles. CBD is renowned for its feel good potential and health boosting benefits. Eat truffles and feel amazing? Damn straight.
Price: £42. Available weekends and you have to book 48 hours in advance.
Where: 74-76 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH