This is a sponsored post. I was recently invited to experience Egerton House’s Vegan Afternoon Tea in London and my meal was kindly hosted by the hotel. This is, however, an honest review and all views and opinions expressed here are my own.
For vegans, enjoying Afternoon Tea in a beautiful Knightsbridge hotel isn’t a regular occurrence. Although veganism is entering the mainstream more and more these days, we’re still not often catered for in traditional hotels, pubs and restaurants. This can make it difficult to enjoy some of those quintessentially British experiences that we all love.
Happily, this isn’t the case with Egerton House’s vegan Afternoon Tea! From the moment you step into the hotel (which is minutes away from the V&A and Natural History Museum) it feels like you’ve walked into your EXTREMELY posh grandmother’s sitting room, such is the mixture of glamour and homeliness. Although cosy, the Egerton House Hotel lounge is arranged so that each table has privacy. This really allows the Afternoon Tea experience to feel special and intimate. The staff do everything they can to make you feel instantly at home, and the noise of London disappears into the background. The lounge is both plush and relaxed, and is the perfect setting for an intimate experience. As soon as you sit in one of the cosy upholstered chairs any cares melt away into the afternoon.
To begin, my companion and I were served our choice of tea by Egerton House’s extremely knowledgeable staff. The hotel offered some special flowering teas – tea leaves served as a closed bud which slowly open into a flower while being steeped in hot water. The experience was hypnotic to watch, not least because our server talked us through the whole process which made it more magical. Watching the tea unfurl was beautiful and really set the tone for the rest of the meal.
Our Afternoon Tea was then presented to us in traditional style, on a three-tiered cake stand which was beautiful. A variety of finger sandwiches were offered, followed by a selection of delicious vegan scones and finally, vegan cakes. The presentation was impeccable and my companion and I both wanted to dive right in!
Sandwiches included traditional offerings such as cucumber on brown bread, alongside modern combinations such as roasted vegetables, and hummus. Although everything was delicious, the vegan sandwich fillings could have been a little more imaginative, making use of nut-based cheeses, for example. What particularly surprised me however was how delicious the traditional cucumber sandwich was – I enjoyed it so much that our server very kindly brought me more!
The scones, coconut cream and jam were, for me, the highlight of the tea. Vegans aren’t usually offered any sort of cream and as such, being able to enjoy a traditional cream tea was a wonderful part of the experience. The coconut cream was perfectly whipped, and the scones were light and sweet. Had they not been so filling, I would have finished them all in minutes! They tasted delicious with the selection of jams we were offered and felt like the ultimate in decadence.
A selection of chocolate, coconut, lemon cakes and a custard tart were presented in a mouth-watering style. It felt like a huge novelty being able to enjoy a custard tart, and as a vegan I absolutely loved having a selection of cakes to choose from (it’s so unusual that we’re offered a choice!). Not having a huge sweet tooth myself, I found them delicious but very indulgent and sweet, and the hotel were kind enough to package up anything we didn’t finish to take away.
Egerton House’s Vegan Afternoon Tea is an absolutely charming experience. From the hotel’s central location to the beautiful sitting room, the affair is relaxed yet sumptuous. Highlights include the delectable scones and cream, beautiful flowering teas and the wonderful ambience of the lounge.
Some vegan food connoisseurs may find the Afternoon Tea slightly unimaginative in terms of its offerings. The sandwich fillings could perhaps be more innovative, making use of the range of vegan proteins and dairy alternatives now available on the market (for the sandwiches). Similarly, I’d love to see more unique flavour combinations and ingredients used in their cakes. That said, credit must absolutely be given to Egerton House for offering such a delightful alternative to a traditionally non-vegan English classic. They have excelled in providing a plant-based version of the typical Afternoon Tea, and they’ve done it in style.
Of the whole experience, the part that has left the most impression in my mind is simply the warmth, knowledge and friendliness of the hotel’s staff. Not once during our visit did we feel rushed. We felt welcomed and indulged for the entire 3 hours (!) we spent at the hotel, without any overbearance. Far from it, the kind and knowledgeable staff were always on hand to provide interesting information about teas and ingredients, but happily left us alone to enjoy our experience. This level of service was second to none, and truly made the experience all the more special.