London can be what you want it to be. It can be as casual as you need, or it be dripping in luxury. The former is usually the more appropriate with a family as certain experiences just aren’t child friendly.
I have not hidden my love for afternoon tea. One of my first posts on my blog was about my experience at The Lanesborough, and I’ve also written about No.11 Cadogan Gardens and the Amba Hotel afternoon teas. I love the relaxing atmosphere of an afternoon tea. The ability to sit back and relax while eating perfectly cut sandwiches, scones and cake with a glass or two of champers and of course the obligatory tea.
Try as I might I could never make afternoon tea a family affair. My Son just wouldn’t be table appropriate, and Mr London Mum would give me that look of disgust if I mentioned going as a couple. Turns out afternoon tea just isn’t high on the manly spectrum. Who knew?
And then some kind of divine intervention happened.
Something which would see the three of us enjoying afternoon tea.
Something that was manly enough to convince Mr London Mum to leave his prejudice at the door, and something which would allow my child to enjoy the experience too- while of course allowing me to indulge one of my favourite past times. Hurrah!
In the splendid Mandeville Hotel, a stones throw from Selfridges, is Reform, Social & Grill.
It’s decked out like a gentleman’s club of yesteryear, and has that great British atmosphere when you walk in.
Authenticity after all is what makes the experience thrilling. With regal clientele such as Kate Middleton, we were excited to see if their version of an afternoon tea would be the happy medium for all of us. It needed to be slightly upmarket for me to enjoy but casual for my child, and all manly for Mr London Mum *rolls eyes.*
Turns out they’ve nailed it.
While we were attentively seen to by the staff we didn’t feel like we had to silence our child. Considering he was meant to nap on the tube journey in and he refused he wasn’t in the best of moods. So with a few tantrums and tears we did fully test this aspect of the restaurant. The staff talked to him, interacted with him and made him smile letting me put my guard down and feel at ease. The glasses of champagne also helped to chill me out somewhat ;).
^^ they do offer a free flow bubbles or champagne option with your afternoon tea.
A quick look at the menu, and we decided to order the full range of afternoon teas they had available. Myself and Mr London Mum shared an afternoon tea stand, but our dishes were considerably different. And this was my bargaining chip to get him to come with me.
While my afternoon tea was the classic Great British Vintage Afternoon Tea; which is inspired by the 1940’s and 1950’s, Mr London Mum went for the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea. And the most important person had his own afternoon tea as well, with the new Mini Afternoon Tea.
^^ the Organic African Amber Tea was delicious.
^^ Vintage afternoon tea sandwich collection: coronation chicken, hot smoked salmon with cream cheese and chive, goats curd with chive and cucumber, egg mayonnaise with cress.
^^ Somerset cider apple cakes, after eight chocolate meringues, classic battenburgs black forest rolls, summer fruit custard pots.
^^ Gentleman’s afternoon tea: steak sandwich with snails, fish with mushy peas and a sausage roll.
^^ Mini afternoon tea goodies: Strawberry milkshake with gingerbread man dipper, fruit and chocolate chip scone, chocolate and marshmallow lollipop, jelly and custard pot and a Reform jammy dodger.
I loved that Little London’s afternoon tea came out in a lunch box. I was slightly worried about how it would be dished up, and this certainly made it nice and easy on me. I didn’t have to worry about him grabbing at china or breaking things. He had a good selection of food to pick at and try.
^^ Mini afternoon tea sandwich selection: smooth peanut butter and homemade jam sandwich, fish finger and sweet ketchup sandwich and a BBQ chicken slider.
With the selection available suiting all of us, this is an afternoon tea experience aimed at pleasing the entire family.
If Oxford Street is on your agenda for Christmas shopping or if you’re thinking of taking your children to see the Christmas lights, make sure to pop in here with your children to give them a treat away from the hustle and bustle.
(Disclosure: Complimentary meal)