What’s the vibe like?
Afternoon tea is set in an opulent and sleek dining room with a 1930s-art deco feel dominated by a statement chandelier and a sweeping marble-top bar. The well-lit space is intimate, quaint and unstuffy with funky sculptured mustard chairs, plush sofas and contemporary art lining the walls. Service is prompt and friendly.
What are the afternoon tea options?
Traditional champagne afternoon tea (£70 pp) comes with a choice of Newby teas served in elegant bone china tea cups and teapots with tea cosies hand-knitted by Adam’s mum. Choose from a selection of white teas, green teas, oolong and black teas. We opt for an aromatic green tea, ‘Gunpowder’, which is smoky yet fragrant, and ‘lapsang souchong’ – dark and smoky with a light, sweet aftertaste. Add a glass of Adam Handling’s own label sparkling wine from West Sussex; crisp and refreshing, for an extra £14. Or go all out with a glass of Krug Grande Cuvee, Edition 164, Champagne NV at £45, served in bespoke delicate glasses.
What’s the savoury round like?
The savoury round is served on a bespoke handmade gold tree stand with slate style black plates either side. We start with rich, salty sausage rolls wrapped in glossy golden pastry with brown sauce; salt cod croquettes were potatoey with a subtle taste of dill which resembling a posh fish finger; and a light, dainty choux bun filled with silky smooth cheese and hints of truffle. Next up is go onto the sandwich round: roasted chicken on nutty soft bread was fresh with hints of lemongrass, and had a lovely crunchy texture; cucumber on walnut bread with plenty of smooth cream cheese; thick slices of salmon with light hints of lemon; classic ham and sweet chutney on onion bread; and subtly curried egg mayo.
What are the scones like?
9/10. Scones came in both plain and raisin varieties and were light and fluffy with golden crunchy tops. Homemade raspberry jam was a simple but well-executed accompaniment to pair with Cornish clotted cream.
And the sweet pastries and desserts?
An impressive Granny Smith apple-shaped white chocolate sphere was filled with smooth lemongrass crémeux and chunks of apple was the highlight. Others that impressed were a rich and inventive chocolate salted caramel sacher torte surrounded by a biscuit crumb; an delicate passion fruit tart sat on a thin crisp biscuit finished with zingy passion fruit and vanilla bean curd piped on top. We finished with a few miniatures of classic British cakes: almondy battenberg, lemon drizzle loaf, and dundee cake packed with plenty of fruit and cherries.
Price: Traditional champagne afternoon tea, £70 pp.
Address: Adam Handling Chelsea, 75 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9SG
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Words by Amanda James, April 2019
Photographs by Tim Green, Helen Cathcart
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