tea and pastries
I'm looking for a good tea room in London but I don't want the usual old-fashioned scones and sandwiches prix fixe, rather I'm looking for a great cafe/pastry shop that has good pastries and a nice selection of teas to choose from. Maybe something a little more French in style.
You'd probably enjoy Patisserie Valerie or Paul's. Both are chains in London and have all the French pastries like pain au chocolat, almond crossants etc. You can Google for locations. I've seen people mention the pastries at Sketch, but I haven't been there personally.
I was in London this summer and went to both Patisserie Valerie and Paul's - I preferred Paul's, specifically the location near Covent Garden.
Valerie has become too chain-like for my taste and Paul is a pastiche of the original chain (it's a UK owned franchise). Better to head for Amato's for decent pastries and very good coffee, or Maison Bertaux for the nicest (i.e. quirkiest ambience) and marvellous patisserie. Both independent, and both in Soho. If you're around Marylebone, try Le Pain Quotidien. The Wolseley (to my surprise) does an excellent value tea - in Piccadilly. Maison Blanc still have a cafe in South Kensington and a shop on Holland Park - really fabulous patisseries and bread; and authentically French.
PV blew my texan mind, and MB was exceptional, though I preferred the former. I was at the original location in soho and some of the extensions may not be up to the same quality, who knows.