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Aug 13, 2012 12:54 PM

High tea in London, with a catch

In September my husband is taking me to London to celebrate my birthday (yay!!)
I'd love to go for a high tea, but alas my husband doesn't like the brew. Would we be able to get a coffee for him instead of the tea?
A silly question I know... I'm sure he'd enjoy the 'high' part tremendously, so if we could find a way around the 'tea' part we should have a nice afternoon.

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  1. It's been a few years since I've been to tea in England, but I recall always being offered coffee as well. Also, afternoon tea is the dainty little cakes and scones tea and high tea is more of a working class meal- think casseroles rather than petit fours. Enjoy your birthday!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hobbert

      I'm also assuming that the OP means afternoon tea, not high tea. Certainly in my part of the UK, I'd have no problem being served coffee, so I assume there would be a similar lack of problem in London.

      1. re: Harters

        Thanks both! I'll go and find a nice place to get an AFTERNOON tea... I see I have to work on my culinary English as well ;)

    2. I don't think you'll have any problem finding coffee or something else for your husband to drink. There are quite a few threads here about where to have a good tea, so use the search button to find some names. A few that come to my mind are Deux Salons, Fortnum & Mason, The Mandeville Hotel etc.

      1. I just took 2 visiting Japanese friends to afternoon tea at The Wolseley on Piccadilly and thought it was excellent food and service and very reasonable at either £9.75 for a cream tea (tea, scones, jam, clotted cream) or the afternoon tea at £22.50 with sandwiches and lovely little cakes. Service was excellent, so you probably could get coffee there - there's also jasmine and green tea for those who don't like black.

        1. Make sure that wherever you get taken, it is doing a "proper" afternoon tea - that means it includes sandwiches, scones and cakes. Anything less is just not "proper"!

          1. The afternoon tea at the Intercontinental in Mayfair is excellent -- the various pastries are particularly well made and elegant, plus they replenish your teas with a whole new pot and new leaves, rather than simply adding more hot water.

            In addition, over the last few years, the ones which I've liked the most include Reubens at the Palace, exceptional technique in the pastry department. The Athenaeum's afternoon tea is quite elaborate, with multiple "courses" -- trays of sandwiches, a cart of pastries and cakes, scones, crumpets and teacakes.

            Some of the more popular "name" hotel afternoon teas, like the ones at the Langham, Goring, Landmark, Corinthian etc. are mostly good but not great, especially for the higher prices that they charge. The only one I've been to that was good value at that price range and worth returning was the one at Espelette in the Connaught.

            2 Replies
            1. re: limster

              Thanks for the rec on the Intercontinental - I have my parents coming over to London next month and having been weighing up the various options and think I might give this one a go.

              1. re: pj26

                Cool - love to hear what you think. I had a Jubilee tea that came with a gin and dubonnet; at £35 it cost roughly the same as other afternoon teas without alcohol that weren't even as good.