Just a stone’s throw from the Science and Natural History museums in South Kensington, it’s easy to see where The Ampersand got their inspiration from for their whacky ‘science afternoon tea’ – the perfect treat for budding scientists.
The room we take tea in is part English drawing room, part French tea salon, and comes adorned with comfortable sofas. As for the food, everything is obviously made in-house – there’s a meticulously decorated raspberry cake planet with a white chocolate planetary ring, and moreish hazelnut and chocolate cake with a sharp mango mousse volcano. There are also chocolate dinosaurs and a citrus cocktail served in a laboratory beaker, to add to the Dr Jekyll experience. The portions are generous too, very welcome after a morning spent museum-hopping.
White chocolate scones were deliciously crumbly and sweet, tempting to eat just on their own, or with the homemade strawberry preserve and Devonshire clotted cream served on the side.
Gougères – clouds of choux pastry filled with savoury delicacies such as Gloucester old spot ham with sauce gribriche – were suitably tangy and deliciously creamy. We loved the smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese filling, and even enjoyed the modern take on coronation chicken (not a raisin in sight).
There’s a great selection of tea on offer – I had a lemon verbena while my guest stuck to freshly pressed coffee. The staff were always on hand to explain the menu, describe the tea and top up our water when needed.
Star of the show: savoury gougères
Scone rating: 7/10
Perfect for: science and natural history fans of all ages
Price: served from 2:30 – 5:30pm £32.50 per person or £45.50 per person with a glass of Champagne