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Jun 7, 2007 07:40 AM

Nice Mid-Range Afternoon Tea Spot in London?

As per usual, I am yet another American tourist asking about a good place to get afternoon tea. My one distinction is I am not looking for "the best" place to get afternoon tea, just a good place. I've read all the post about how wonderful Browns is, but at $60 US a person, this is simply not within my budget or worth the cost to me. I was hoping to spend somewhere in the £16.00 per person range, though a few £ up or down won't kill me. In my head, I always envisioned going to some stuffy, proper, Edwardian looking place that makes me feel like I've stepped back in time a bit, but obviously food quality (and cost) is more important. Help?

My hotel is down the street from Marble Arch tube stop, if that helps any.

Also if anyone knows any great Indian food places near Marble Arch, I'd love info on that as well (this can be pricier if it's worth it)!! Actually any good and economical places we might grab dinner in the area would be great to know about....darn the 2 to 1 £ to $ conversion rate!

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  1. Why don't you give this new place a try

    It has just opened in Paternoster Square ( next to St Paul's Cathedral - about 8 stops from MA on The Central Line


    I am off to try it tomorrow, so will report back


    2 Replies
    1. re: Simon Majumdar

      I think if you're going for the English 'cream tea' experience, the place in Paternoster square doesn't hit the mark (it's nice though)

      InmanSQ Girl, The best place, I find, is The Wolseley, and at £19.50 pp (it's just gone up a pound), a steal.
      Beautiful silver service, indivdual tea pots, all just served so beautifully in wonderful surroundings.
      Warm scones (2 each), with clotted cream and strawberry jam. finger sandwiches (about 4 each) and cakes (again about 4 each).
      You honestly can't go wrong by going here (and will be too full to eat again that day).
      The Wolseley is at Picadilly, right next door to the Ritz hotel.

      1. re: Simon Majumdar

        Interesting. Looks comparable to TeaSmith.

      2. go the green valley lebanese supermarket on upper berkeley street, go the back and get the meat pizza, the halloumi pizza, the thyme pizza - VERY good. then get homemade ice cream and sweets at the sweet counter - wonderful.

        should be 5 minutes walk from where you are.

        also, for tea - go to the tea palace in westbourne grove (check out their website). while its not exactly edwardian, the price is right and the quality is good. the best setting for tea though is at the orangery in kensington gardens - and dont miss the specatacular sunken garden in front of the palace.

        if you're looking for atmosphere and tea, its the orangery - and its in your price range. the wearetea stuff is an eastend wanna be place - skip it.

        1. Here is the info I have found online & via email. Please let me know if any of these are particularly nice or terrible. They are listed in my current order of preference, so let me know if I have a lousy location as one of my top choices, please :)!!

          1. Dukes: it seems like it could be nice, seems to have the proper, refines, old world feel I was hoping for, price was £16.00,
          2. Royal Garden is £16.75 and they seem to have very nice stuff, but the ambiance is a lot more modern than I was hoping for :).

          3. Crown Plaza seems like a very nice menu and very pretty, and a good deal at £16.00.
          4. Pelham their website is pretty crappy, but there price is £15.50.

          5. The Capital price is £18.50, which is a bit high, but it certainly looks like lovely food.
          6. Cadogan expensive at £19.50 but seems to have the stuffy old world feel I was hoping for and it is near Harrods, so we can incorporate it with plans we already have.

          4 Replies
          1. re: InmanSQ Girl

            If you want a real old world feel you can always try The Goring, one of London's true treasures



            1. re: Simon Majumdar

              dissident view: i was just at the goring for lunch last week. boring lunch at a silly price. and the only old world feel came from the clientele, whose age must have averaged a sprightly seventy five.

              seems like the kind of place brits thought was quality a few decades ago. ugh.

              1. re: howler

                haha! so glad someone feels the same about the Goring as i do. Stuffy, overpriced and confused place. The garden is really the only nice thing.

            2. re: InmanSQ Girl

              you'll love dukes - it does have that slightly stuffy feel, and its in the prettiest backwater off st. james's.

              i'd actively avoid the others on your list.

            3. I have never been, but my girlfriends love the Orangerie in South Ken. It's decently priced, if I understand correctly. May not be super gourmet but maybe worth a look?

              6 Replies
              1. re: kristainlondon

                you go for the atmosphere to the orangery. the teas are ok, but the scones are mysteriously leaden. when i first got to travelling in the uk in mid 1980's, scones used to be small and light - now they're american - big and heavy. (grin)

                but the sunken garden in front is spectacular, and when the late evening summer sun slopes down and bathes christopher wrens palace in gold, you are willing to put up with yet another year filled with dreary days.

                1. re: howler

                  Shame the Wolseley's gone up - but even at that price, it's absolutely your best bet. Another worth exploring is the Fountain Room at Fortnum's - not sure how expensive it is though. Dukes is a lovely old place, but never renowned for its tea. Used to have a barman making the best martinis in London, but he's retired now, so even less reason for going there. Unless you're going to splash out on the Ritz or the Dorchester (or possibly Claridges), please forget having tea at a hotel. You'll just be disappointed. I'd make it the Woseley, if I were you.

                  1. re: SpikeyD

                    For those that read this thread in the future, Fountain Room at Fortnum's is closed for refurbishment and will re-open in September 2007. They are currently serving afternoon tea at their St. James Restaurant. While it looks lovely, at £24 per person, it is certainly not mid range.

                    The Ritz, while again quite spectacular looking, is an even more expensive £36 per person (worse than Browns!).

                    The Dorchester, again lovely, which it should be at £29.50 per person.

                    This is not intended to disrespect the suggestions, as I am sure they are wonderful, but if you are traveling from the US to London on a budget, these choices may be out of your league. If afternoon tea was one of those pinnacle experiences you were looking forward to as the highlight of your trip, then it could be worth the splurge. If this is just one among the many nice things your hoping to experience, $48 to $60 US for an afternoon meal may be a bit much.

                    1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                      i hope you didn't miss green valley!

                      1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                        I agree the hotels charge utterly ripoff prices - and they tend to be very packaged, production line experiences, specifically designed to lure gaping tourists. You can get a great 3 course set lunch at some of London's best restaurants for less than the hotels are charging.

                        1. re: SpikeyD

                          I stick by my earlier comment.
                          £18.50 is not much for the quality and volume you receive at the Wolseley. It's a fantasticly beautiful building too and I find visiting it a far more special occasion than the above venues in the same street (Fortnum's and Ritz)