Afternoon tea before theatre
I'd love a recommendation for afternoon tea before theatre on a Saturday afternoon. I'll be coming from Notting Hill and heading to the National Theatre (though obviously could hop on the tube and travel anywhere for a brilliant tea).
I'm debating fancy hotel vs. off-the-beaten track/cozy tea rooms. Would appreciate suggestions for either (and your preference).
I've done afternoon tea in fancy hotels and cosy tea rooms (although not in London). Based on those experiences, my advice to the OP is go for fancy hotel every time. Taking afternoon tea is, almost certainly, a rare event and, as such, it should be an "event".
Whereever you consider, check out their website before deciding so you're sure you're going to be getting the proper experience - decent sandwiches, scones & jam and cakes.
Fairly central is the small cafe at Sotheby's Auction House. If you have time, you can look over some of the treasures displayed before or after eating. It's near the Jubilee Line, convenient for getting to the National. Unfortunately, we're usually there in the morning, so I haven't done the tea yet, but the menu looks interesting.
The Mandeville Hotel also does a good tea in a very serene and pretty room.
Sort of inbetween Notting Hill and Central is a cute place called Coco Maya (there are a few but the original on Porchester Place is my fav) does a great afternoon tea.
The pastries and sandwiches are excellent and while they're not exactly standard fare, don't deviate too far from a traditional offering. It's much less formal then a hotel but very nice and you'll certainly have a more local experience.