How can a champagne afternoon tea treat be made even better? By making it chocolate-themed, with heaped on Roald Dahl-shaped childhood nostalgia, that’s how. I was so happy to be invited to One Aldwych’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea which is truly one of London’s most exciting themed teas. Served in their gorgeous lobby bar, this will be a hit with the kids, and also with adults who grew up loving the book and films on which this feast is based.
I had tea with Alexia and Primrose, giving us an ideal opportunity to discuss all things blogging. A lot of bloggers at the moment are declaring they’re doing less reviews for things like restaurants, hotels and bars on their blogs, choosing to keep that space for more personal posts, using Instagram for reviews instead. Us three agreed that having reviews of places and products is often what draws non-bloggers to us from Google searches, so it’s still worth doing, especially when we can see from our analytics that people have stayed on our blogs to look at other content. I can see how Instagram posts (more so than Stories) are still good for brands in terms of word of mouth recommendation, but links to their website are what they also need. As well as blog content, we talked about a lot of things going on in the blogosphere, and what’s working for us and what isn’t. You cannot underestimate the helpful and motivating benefits of chats with fellow bloggers. Plus, only they will understand the long-winded process of getting the perfect candy floss shot.
The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea starts with ice cold champagne and savouries. Gorgeous little sandwiches, quiche and warm cheese scones were insanely good, there’s bacon chutney with the scones, and an onion version for vegetarians. The menu lists a selection of teas that are ideal for the sweets, including chocolate flavour (of course) and mango, though you can order pretty much any tea you like.
Fluffy scones with cream and jam are served alongside cinnamon banana bread and tiny gold-dusted chocolate cakes. That would probably be enough, but this scrumptious tea goes full Wonka, and each person is served their own golden stand of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed goodies. There’s chocolate milkshake to represent poor Augustus Gloop, a blueberry cake pop for Violet Beauregarde, a golden-chocolate egg filled with mango mousse reminding us of Veruca Salt’s fate, cola-cube flavoured candy floss to represent the bit where Charlie and Grandpa Joe snaffle some illegal fizzy pop on the factory tour, and a delicious pink mousse that’s somehow connected to Mike Teevee, though we couldn’t work out how. It’s bubblegum flavoured, so maybe it’s to do with how he’s stretched back to normal size by the Oompa Loompas after being shrunk?
This tea is so scrumptious and indulgent, I couldn’t finish and had to take some of it home, including that chocolate egg (above) which was so good. It makes a change from the usual cake stands you get at afternoon tea, and adds some fun nostalgia to proceedings. We saw some children at the table next to us nearly burst with excitement as those golden stands were carried over to them. Despite the kitsch theme, the hotel is still five-star quality with impeccable service and a luxurious setting on The Strand. Yes, those are giant oars (below) on a boat sculpture, it’s that kind of place.
As a vegetarian I felt well catered for, and we also had a member of our group with a serious nut allergy that the chef was made aware of and took in his stride. The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tea is perfect for sweet-tooths, is available seven days a week, and costs £45 (£56 with champagne).