Dessert Correspondents

A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog

The Sanderson London – Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea

Be enchanted by a whimsical afternoon tea in central London.

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Our experience

Afternoon tea in Melbourne/Australia can be a very ordinary affair. Likewise in London – limp ribbon sandwiches, dry scones, carelessly executed petit fours that one could buy at Starbucks perhaps. Ask, search and you shall find is the mantra of these Dessert Correspondents. Afternoon tea at the eclectic Sanderson Hotel in central London is one of the most talked-about afternoon rendezvous.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the setting

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the setting

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the setting

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the setting

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Served on quirky monochromatic dining ware (spot the queen of hearts, spinning carousels or the flying trapeze artists!), afternoon tea at the Sanderson starts off with a dancing ballerina musical box lined with sugar cubes. It accompanies a sweetly fragrant “Strawberries and Cream” loose leaf tea poured from a teapot that wears a paper crown. The head of that evil Queen of Hears perhaps? You ever so slowly sip and ponder this question, but your attention is quickly diverted when you spot the afternoon tea menu presented as a storybook.  The service staff are faultless — Eastern European as is the increasing situation of many London dining establishments, but helpful and thorough.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the table setting

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the table setting

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the table setting

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the table setting

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the tea setting

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the tea setting

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the table setting

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the table setting

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The food component is served on traditional three-tiers but there is nothing traditional, generic, nor boring about the food on offer.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the afternoon tea

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the afternoon tea

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One begins with the savouries, of course, pinwheel sandwiches here rather than ribbon sandwiches. Somewhat damp little things, they were mostly an afterthought. There was smoked Cumbrian ham wrapped in sundried tomato bread, cucumber and chiver rolled in spinach bread, smoked salmon smeared with lemon butter inside a dark rye bread tube, watercress-sprinkled egg mayonaise layered onto spinach bread, a little quiche thing and two slightly miserable lumps of scones — a pumpkin and a chocolate.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the savouries

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the savouries

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the savouries

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the savouries

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the savouries

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the savouries

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If you don’t want to finish the savouries at the Sanderon, don’t. Save your stomach space for the essential sweeties. :)

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the sweets!

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the sweets!

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First to be sampled was the “Strawberries and Cream Marshmallow Mushroom” – a mushroom with a marshmallow stem and a lightly-flavoured strawberry meringue top. So cute!

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Strawberry and Cream Marshmallow Mushroom"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Strawberry and Cream Marshmallow Mushroom”

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One step heavier was one of our favourite nibbles of the afternoon — the “Melting Mango Cheesecake” encased in a psychedelically-coloured white chocolate teardrop. The “cheesecake” was more soft mousse than firm cheesecake, with a deliciously wicked, liquid mango puree centre.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Melting Mango Cheesecake"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Melting Mango Cheesecake”

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Melting Mango Cheesecake"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Melting Mango Cheesecake”

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The next sweet irresistible was another of favourite of these Dessert Correspondents – the “Tick Tock Victoria Sponge.” Topped with a shimmery strawberry gelee layer on which a clock face had been etched with icing, the cake itself was sponge layered with jam and cream. Simply divine, time passed far too quickly when sampling this darling thing.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Tick Tock Victorian Sponge"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Tick Tock Victorian Sponge”

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The fourth sweet thing to be offered was the slightly innocuous “Matcha Green Tea and White Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Tea Cup.” The green tea was not quite compatible when partnered with the white and dark chocolate components of this sweet bite.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Matcha Green Tea and White Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Teacup"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Matcha Green Tea and White Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Teacup”

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The fifth item on was “Drink Me Potion,” a syrup of passionfruit – tangy, sharp, sweet, a good palate cleanser.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Drink Me Potion"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Drink Me Potion”

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And finally, at the top tier of the afternoon tea stand was a large mug containing pea shoots, among which were nestled a clutch of baby meringue carrots. It left us squealing with joy. So girly! :)

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Meringue Carrots"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Meringue Carrots”

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Meringue Carrots"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Meringue Carrots”

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But wait, fellow dessert fanatics, that is not all. Don’t forget the “Jelly Wonderland.” Harder than normal jelly in blueberry, strawberry, orange/lemon flavours to be scooped into a tall sundae glass — just enough for you to wobble out of the Sanderson splendidly contented.

The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Jelly Wonderland"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Jelly Wonderland”

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The Sanderson's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea - the "Jelly Wonderland"

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea – the “Jelly Wonderland”

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Our verdict

Overlook the somewhat dismal savouries, focus on the quirky table setting, the polished, attentive service, and of course, the well-considered, themed sweet irresistibles, and afternoon tea at the Sanderson is an enchanting experience.

  • Dessert adventure checklist
  1. Dessert destination: The Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG, United Kingdom.
  2. Budget: $$$ ($38 GBP p/p)
  3. Sweet irresistibles: High tea.
  4. Must-eat: The “Melting Mango Cheesecake” and the “Tick Tock Victorian Sponge Cake”
  5. The short and sweet story: Be enchanted by a whimsical afternoon tea in central London.
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2 comments on “The Sanderson London – Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea

  1. Cara @ Gourmet Chick
    November 26, 2013

    Loving your London posts! Kicking myself that I never made it to the Sanderson in five years of living in London now.

    • MoMo & Coco
      February 4, 2014

      Hi Cara! Great to hear from you, and apologies for the crazily delayed reply. We are only now just getting back into the blogging routine. Ooops! Hope your foodie adventures have been going well these past months. We move between HK, London and Melbourne now, so hope to bring more desserts from these places soon. Do let us know if there are Melbourne places you recommend and we will try to hit them up asap. Thanks for your continued readership, bon appetit! MoMo & Coco.

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