Another birthday has come around so quickly, it always alarms me how fast it creeps up on me straight after the Christmas period. You would think that three months is a long time, but often enough you don’t realise how fast the time is going past! 22, not as a big a birthday as 21 but none the less a day that celebrates my existence. My birthday is probably one of my favourite days of the year, because it’s the one day that you don’t have to have any excuse to eat whatever you want or do something extraordinary to celebrate. However, one thing I do like to do in celebration is always afternoon tea.
I like to take it one step further every year though. Last year, for my 21st I went and experienced the afternoon tea at Radisson Blu but this year I wanted to try the much raved about Sketch afternoon tea.
Walking into the Gallery home to Sketch’s afternoon tea, one of the many rooms in Sketch, was a warm, dim lit room with candy floss coloured booths and a beautifully structured celling that lit up the room with a soft glow. Completely excited, we were given the ‘best booth’ because it looks over the whole room from the corner providing a great view whilst indulging.
As it was my birthday, we felt the champagne tea was essential. Celebrations paired with good bubbles is always a good combination, I repeat… always. 😉 However, there is a twist! Sketch had launched a new way of enjoyable bubbles with a tea theme, tea infused champagne. Only been available for two days now, I felt honoured to be one the very first people to try it (and good job I had my camera with me too!).
There was the option of having Earl Grey or Vanilla for the infusion, however Sofia and I both opted for Vanilla tea. Large flutes were brought out and a tea strainer filled with fresh vanilla tea leaves was spooned in.
Right before being topped up with ice cold Veuve Clicquot champagne, taking in vanilla tones as it passes over the tea leaves. Mmm!
Finally, adding a few cold ice cubes that kept the drink cold but also allowed more bubbles to form due to the bubble promoting imperfect surfaces on the ice.
It definitely made for a picture perfect drink, that’s for sure. So, let’s raise a toast to being twenty two!
Just as we finished toasting, porcelain tea pots came out filled with hot, steamy tea. Perfect! I was throughly impressed by selection of tea on offer, especially as they offered three different types of green tea which you rarely find! I opted for jasmine pearls green tea, which had jasmine undertones making it an aromatic and tasty choice. Sofia opted for the blackcurrant and hibiscus tea, which had a beautiful ruby red colour.
Before we knew it our stunning three tier afternoon tea stand filled with delicious sweet and savoury goodies was on its way to the table, safe to say we were squealing with excitement. This is what birthdays are all about!
On the first tier was the savoury sandwiches, corn-fed coronation chicken, smoked salmon and Jacob’s cream, cucumber and ricotta, warm Comté cheese panini and egg & mayonnaise with quail egg and caviar. I am not normally a fan of the the sandwich part of the afternoon tea, as they are generally boring, however Sketch definitely proved me wrong. They were all presented so beautifully, tasted extraordinary and adding the lux to what is normally standard sandwiches.
The second tier had two passion fruit tartlets, chocolate and mint gâteau, and pistachio choux. The passion fruit tartlet was by far my favourite, firstly starting with a sweet taste and crumbly, soft pastry followed up by a tang from the passion fruit. The pistachio choux was delicious too, as you cut it in half, out oozed a light green pistachio flavoured custard, so good! Finally the chocolate mint gâteau was a chocolate layered cake with a bit of mousse and chocolate sauce with strong mint flavours that came from the hardened chocolate and mint decoration on top.
The final tier was a coffee cake that was literally soaked in coffee. Every bite brought about an oozing of freshly brewed coffee. Also a cute cassis cheesecake, with blackcurrant puree on in between the layers. I was so full, but if I told you this was the end I would be lying!
You thought there were no scones, didn’t you? It isn’t afternoon tea without the scones! There was a choice of two types, plain or with sultanas. I went for plain and Sofia went for one with sultanas. A few minutes later, freshly baked (still hot) scones were brought over to us, along with clotted cream, fig and strawberry jam. The hot scones is what really took me by surprise. Normally, you the scones are already on the tier when you get served afternoon tea, so by the time you get to them they have gone a bit hard. However, this doesn’t happen at Sketch because they bring fresh scones to you when you’re ready to eat them. Amazing!
It was time for more sweet treats, because you can never have too much sugar. Savoury to sweet, back to savoury and then to sweet, Sketch has got this afternoon tea concept down to a T. There was a choice of two treats, Yorkshire rhubarb and Tahitian vanilla mousse with a raspberry glaze or a caramel & chocolate fondant cake. I opted for mousse and Sofia went for the fondant cake, then of course we shared both ’cause life is too short to not know what the other things taste like!
To finish off the tea, there was a few citrus meringues and malabar marshmallows. We were also asked if we wanted anymore sweet treats or sandwiches, as it was unlimited. We frantically shook our heads, we were already in a deep food coma from all the indulging, there was certainly no space for anymore food.
However, we couldn’t leave without visiting the famous egg shaped toilets!
Overall, Sketch’s afternoon tea was an unforgettable experience and it even more special when you have been wanting to go for over a year. I have to say, it probably is the best afternoon tea I have had in London yet with top quality service. A must try for anyone wanting the complete afternoon tea experience.
9 Conduit Street
Until next time…