Review: Science Afternoon Tea in The Ampersand Hotel, London
The Science Afternoon Tea is an award winning experience (Best Themed Afternoon Tea 2018) held in The Ampersand Hotel in London. Here is a heavily photographed review of my 2019 birthday experience.
The Ampersand Hotel is a boutique hotel located in fashionably expensive South Kensington and the design concept of the hotel is inspired by its proximity to several museums within the cultural heart of London. Botany, ornithology, astronomy, geology and music play heavily into the modern decor of this beautiful Victorian building.
The afternoon tea is served in The Dining Rooms or ‘salon de thé’ (because everything sounds classier in french) on the hotel’s ground floor. This is a light and airy two room arrangement with large Victorian windows facing a quiet (for London) street.
I and my bf easily found parking right next to the hotel building on a Saturday afternoon. We entered through the pretty flower decorated doorway and was led to our tables in The Dining Rooms. Our eight person party had four tables to ourselves as there were no larger furniture available due to the cafe design. The tables had beautiful mirrored surfaces which added to the elegant atmosphere, but they were a bugger to photograph without catching reflections of people.
The café (the hotel calls it a patisserie but…it’s a café) was sparsely occupied and allowed for a very relaxed and leisured afternoon tea experience. Our trays came quickly, the conversation flowed and we didn’t feel rushed to finish our tea at any point. In short it was the quintessential afternoon tea experience true to the spirit of its invention: a pastime for bored and hungry Victorian women.
True to its name the Science Afternoon Tea had a very fun scientific aspect to it and we could see this from the beginning in the silver astrology themed menus.
Our tea arrived first and it was a very traditional affair with classic white china and silverware. The tea was refillable at no additional cost and we could order a different tea if we wished.
The food then arrived in three tiered silver trays with enough food in each individual tray for two people.
The showstopper was immediately revealed with the dry ice volcano.
Separate wooden boxes were then given to us which initially looked like it contained dirt, which I thought was pretty rude considering how much we paid for today.
It turned out to be a mini archaeology site where we excavated milk chocolate and biscuit bones from chocolate soil with brushes:
The pieces tasted like…milk chocolate and biscuits. Which was fair.
We had scientific instruments to mix drinks:
Using syringes to squirt liquid, because pouring things is overrated:
We changed the colour of drinks using food colouring:
Both drinks tasted very carbonated and artificial, but I invested way too much into the drink to not finish it.
The Savoury tray
Anyways, moving onto the lowest savoury and least scientific tray:
Smoked salmon & avocado on blinis:
These were delicious, fresh and perfectly sized. I loved it so much we ordered more.
For the life of me I couldn’t remember the flavour of the tart, I remembered the crust had a satisfying crunch to it.
Chicken with basil & lemon mayonnaise bun:
This was good, the bun was soft and the ingredients mixed together well.
The second highlight of the tray was the brioche; generous slivers of perfectly roasted beef really elevated this snack.
Middle scones tray:
I had a homemade white chocolate and cranberry and a plain scone, first adding lemon curd from a squeeze tube…because toothpaste is scientific?
I then added Devonshire clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve:
Available were toppings of freeze dried raspberry, freeze dried pineapple and crunchy caramel in test tubes:
The scones were very well made, warm and moist and delicious with the generous dollops of cream and jam. The lemon curd and toppings were frankly unnecessary, but then I’m a bit of a purist with scones.
The top dessert tray:
This was a very pretty and very average tasting macaroon.
Non-nut version macaroon:
This tasted lighter and less substantial than the planet macaroon.
Berries, rhubarb & orange jelly petri dish:
Perhaps looking like bacteria on a petri dish wasn’t the most appetizing look, but it was certainly fitting in with the theme. I love jellies, but the texture was too watery for me.
Lime & coconut half-moon cake with chocolate spaceman:
I enjoyed the zesty lime and the chunky chocolate when compared with the cake.
Dark chocolate & passion fruit planet mousse:
This was a surprisingly delicate dessert with a perfectly soft mousse and a nice sharp sweetness from the passion fruit centre.
The Science Afternoon Tea is a well themed experience that should be popular with children and those who want something fun and different in their dining experience. It’s gimmicky but the flavours haven’t been completely sacrificed and there are more hits than misses in the meal.
This is a more affordable themed afternoon tea than similar offerings in London, the presentation is flawless and the science aspect affecting the consumption of the meal is a unique selling point. I highly recommend The Science Afternoon tea for special occasions.
Science Afternoon Tea in the Ampersand Hotel
Address: The Ampersand Hotel, 10 Harrington Road, London, SW7 3ER
Opening hours: Served Monday to Saturday 12:30 – 21:00, Sunday 12:30 – 19:00
Cost: £44.50 per person, £54.50 with a glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne