My sister loves Alice in Wonderland and I love cake, so it seemed only fitting that I take her to an Alice inspired afternoon tea for her birthday. I’ve decided that this is the best possible gift to give someone. Not only do they get the enjoyment of the afternoon tea but so do I, which is totally a win-win situation.
Themed afternoon teas are my favourite – there’s always something different to both fill you up and to entertain you and the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea didn’t disappoint. Set in the Sanderson Hotel just off Oxford Street, from the outside it looks like a simple office building and nothing fancy at all. Inside though, the reception and bar area is decked out with a random collection of various shaped chairs which we obviously both got comfy on straight away. I guess it made sense that such a unique hotel would hold something as quirky as a Mad Hatter’s tea party!
The garden area where the tea is served was beautiful with dainty white garden furniture surrounding a flowing fountain and pond, with lanterns covering the awning above. Our table was covered in flowers and crockery that matched the theme. There were so many little details that added to the afternoon, from riddles wrapped around our napkins to king and queen teapots wearing crowns.
But it was the pretty music box full of sugar cubes and the old antique looking book that drew my eye. I couldn’t decide whether to read first or eat my cake!
Little glass jars full of tea leaves were waiting for us and we got sniffing to decide which to try. Nothing beats a pot of good old English breakfast tea but the flavours and smells of the selection here were too hard to resist and I knew that, in true Mad Hatter fashion, I was unlikely to come across these teas anywhere else. I went for the Cheshire Cat, a blend of marmalade infused with chocolate and orange, while my sister picked the Mad Hatter, a green tea infused with passion fruit, guava and mango. Both were delicious, my sister’s being fruity and more tea-like while mine tasted just like chocolate orange. Mmm!
I have never seen such a flamboyant and colourful display as when our cake tiers arrived. The soft fresh scones on the bottom tier were completely overlooked at first (which never usually happens when I’m around) because the top two tiers full of quirky cakes were too impressive not to gawp at and drool over.
The Blue Caterpillar, magic marshmallow mushrooms, the White Rabbit’s pocket watch macaron, a red velvet ladybird, banana bread-and-butterly, the Queen of Hearts Oreo cookie solider, and a curious carrot meringue hidden in a bed of grass on top…and this was just my sister’s selection!
I have a nut allergy which often means that I’m stuck with treats that aren’t quite as interesting as those everyone else gets, but I loved that my cakes here were still just as wacky and fun as the normal selection. Especially the chocolate ganache and raspberry tart which was A-MAZE-ING and my mouth seems to fill with saliva every time I think about it.
Not forgetting the “Drink Me” potion that Alice is famous for, we sipped at the tiny glass bottle filled with passion fruit puree, coconut cream and exotic fruit foam. Sweet and creamy but with a fruity tang, it was definitely delicious but unfortunately it didn’t shrink us and send us into Wonderland.
I now realise that I have completely bypassed the savoury section and just went straight in for the cakes! We did of course have a savoury selection to start but clearly the sweet treats were just too mouth-watering not to tell you about first. Not that the sandwiches weren’t good because of course they too were completely different to the usual finger sandwiches and this was the first time that I have seriously considered asking for some more.
A smoked salmon, quail egg and caviar scotch egg; Wiltshire ham and smoked applewood croque-monsieur; a Cornish crab éclair; and a cream cheese and cucumber sandwich on lime bread (the green bread may not look particularly appetising but it really really was). My sister had the vegetarian option and her avocado cream in a bamboo cone was surprisingly tasty and, of course, extremely quirky.
All washed down with a fruity and syrupy cocktail, we were both so full by this point that we had to ask for a little goody bag to take our leftovers home in. But this didn’t stop still more treats from arriving at our table in the form of the cutest little flower pots on a bed of grass, filled with passion fruit ice cream, chocolate and honeycomb sprinkles with a pretty little flower on top. In true dessert lover style, we obviously dug in and stuffed ourselves some more and I’m pretty sure no one would blame us for this.
It was the most weird and wonderful way to spend an afternoon and it has definitely become one of my favourite afternoon teas in London. This was my sister’s first afternoon tea outing and it’s safe to say that she is now a big fan. Welcome to the dark side little sis, full of whole afternoons of tea drinking, cake eating, sugar overloads, and stuffing our faces to our hearts content!
What’s your favourite themed or quirky afternoon tea? Let me know in the comments below or at:
39 thoughts on “A Weird and Wonderful Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson”
I love the look of this tea, it looks so fun and unique! I still need to make it down there own day.
It’s a fabulous one Angie. I definitely recommend it 🙂
I have to say that the Mad Hatters Tea is one of my favourites – they just have it spot on!
Right?! Totally brilliant!
These photos are just gorgeous Ayla! I’ve always wanted to try this tea – pretty please go back again with me next time 🙂 I’m going to a Mad Hatter’s Brunch in a couple of weeks so looking forward to a bit of themed fun then but the beautiful quirky display here looks 100% up my street!
You don’t need to ask me twice! It was so quirky and delicious that I would easily go back again. Looking forward to hearing about your Mad Hatter’s brunch!
Ah such a great birthday present!! The afternoon tea looks like so much fun – I love all the colours of the food!
C x | Lux Life
It was all so colourful and fun. Love a unique and special afternoon tea 🙂
That looks like such great fun!
It really was!
A themed afternoon tea totally hits the spot for me too! Of course, I also like un-themed tea, so I suppose I’m not the most picky tea goer. I have been meaning to try out Mad Hatter’s – it’s so stinking cute. I love the ‘Drink Me’ tag.
Any afternoon tea that includes tea and cake is going to be good but this one is particularly special 🙂
Wow it all looks mouthwateringly good! I haven’t had an afternoon tea for quite some time… this might be the one to break the fast!
Do it Jessi! This one was so much fun and super yummy!
Like you I’m a sucker for a themed tea! I love the Drink Me potion and your Cheshire Cat tea sounds gorgeous
The Cheshire Cat tea was delicious Suze. Went with all the chocolate treats perfectly 🙂
This looks SO good! I love going for afternoon tea and this is most definitely on the list now!
You would love this one Char! Definitely try it for your next afternoon tea outing 🙂
Sounds absolutely amazing! The quality seems top notch, and everything looks exquisite. I’d love to go.
You’d love it Mani. Was so much fun and delicious too!
I’ve been wanting to try this one for ages! I love the quirky plates and the teapot, plus all the creative presentation – it’s incredible how innovative and unique these themed afternoon teas are becoming!
I love themed afternoon teas and this has got to be one of the best. It’s so unique and fun 🙂
I adore themed afternoon teas and this was one of my favourites, love this place, I may have to go again! Keri x
Glad you enjoyed it as well Keri! So much fun 🙂
The tea party looks so cool! I love the way the teas are displayed!
The teas were great and loved that we got to have a smell of them first. Although that did make it a lot harder to choose between them all!
I love themed afternoon teas too and by the sounds of it, this is definitely the pinnacle of them ! It all seems so deliciously quirky, especially the “drink me” potion. Mmmm
It was SO quirky! Love unique places like this!
This looks amazing! I can’t believe the amount of detail on each cake. What a fab present – I’m sure you and your sister will be going for lots more afternoon teas in the future!
It’s a super fun one Emily! And we sure will 🙂
I know exactly what you mean – afternoon teas are definitely the perfect gift! Glad you both enjoyed it 😀 It looks like it’s changed quite a bit since I went last year. Maybe I’ll have to go again?!?! x
Your review on it is one of the reasons I wanted to go! Looked so fab and it really was. Any excuse to go again haha! 😉
I absolutely adore how they have gone full steam ahead with the theme here – the china, food obviously, but even the tea?! A fantastic first afternoon tea experience!
Everything suited the theme perfectly. It really was a great afternoon tea 🙂
Looks so lovely! xo
It was so lovely!
This is so quirky and fun!! I love trying new places when we’re back in London, and I think we might have to do this one day. What a lovely bday pressie!
I’d definitely recommend this one next time you’re in London Polly. It’s quirky, fun and most importantly delicious 🙂