Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych – it’s not just a girl thing

Is it sherbet? Is it marshmallow? No, its...

More at home half way up a mountain in his waterproofs cooking boil in the bag whilst huddled over a camp stove, hubbie was somewhat sceptical when I suggested he join me on one of my London afternoon tea forays. After all, it’s just for girls, right?

Afternoon tea isn't just for girls!

Afternoon tea isn’t just for girls!

Wrong, gentlemen, wrong! It may not be manly to delicately nibble miniscule morsels, or elegantly sip shimmering cocktails before gently dabbing your lips to banish any stray crumbs from the scene. Yet if you’re doing all this for the sake of your wife, girlfriend or mother then it’s totally acceptable behaviour. And trust, me, you may surprise yourself and find you secretly really enjoy it! A lot was riding on the success of the tea experience, and not wanting hubbie to turn around and say ‘I told you so’ the pressure was on to get it right. So I opted for an old favourite of mine, One Aldwych where the folks always get it spot on. I’d had my eye on their Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed afternoon tea for a while, and was disappointed to miss out on my last visit as my pregnant tea-buddy was more into chocolate gerkins than chocolate eggs! Hubbie however doesn’t need to be asked twice if there’s chocolate involved.

Early evening ambience at One Aldwych

Early evening ambience at One Aldwych

We nearly didn’t make it. Our booking was very last minute since it had taken me that long to persuade the other half to come, and unsurprisingly One Aldwych were fully booked. Yet they kindly agreed to squeeze us in, using some of that Chocolate Factory magic no doubt. Something I love about the hotel is that you never have to open a door, there is always someone there to do it for you, making you feel like royalty the moment you enter. After our coats were taken away to the cloak room we were shown to the classy yet comfy lobby bar where the afternoon tea is served. Hubbie sashayed confidently across the polished floor, already getting into the swing of being posh and pretending he does this all the time. The presence of several other gentlemen chatting merrily away over their respective cuppas confirmed that he didn’t need to feel out of place.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea at One Aldwych, London

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea at One Aldwych, London

I love a themed tea, so the first excitement was the menu. Each came with a different Charlie character on the back (I got the pink and precocious Veruca Salt), detailing all the yummy bits and pieces we’d be tasting. The tea selection at One Aldwych is always unique and comes in flavours that even I, as a non-tea drinker, actually find delicious. This time I opted for the Jewelled Apple, with wild strawberry leaves, caramel and real apple pieces. Rather like drinking a toffee apple in fact. Hubbie went for sweet tooth overload with the Smooth Caramel, which with its caramel chunks and hints of vanilla was a definite winner. To complete our line-up of decadent tipples we then had to decide between a glass of Champagne or a Cocktail Charlie. There really was no contest. Even hubbie agreed that a magically bubbling glass teapot full of such things as whisky and chocolate bitters was a must. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, the dry ice in the pot kept it ‘steaming’ away for a good 10 minutes. That it was delicious as well was just a bonus. A memorable experience for hubbie’s first ever cocktail.

The magically bubbling Cocktail Charlie

The magically bubbling Cocktail Charlie

By this stage he’d stopped worrying about afternoon tea not being very macho, and dug eagerly into the plate of savouries, not even batting an eye at the mini leek and stilton quiche, which he’d normally run a mile to avoid. Pronouncing it delectable (once he’d thought of a posh enough word for it) he continued with the smoked salmon and herb crème fraiche finger sandwich whilst I tucked into the roast beef and grain mustard. After a short break, during which we noticed the oompa-loompa song sneakily popped in between the background classics, came the piece de resistance. The sweets. Considering the theme and not being a fan of chocolate overload I was a little concerned it might be too much for me, (a fact not lamented by hubbie), so I was thrilled with what was laid before us.

Our sweet treats, mmmmmm

Our sweet treats, mmmmmm

The waitress advised we start with the basket of pastries, great advice as the scones, blueberry brioche and cocoa bean financier were all freshly baked and still warm. I would kill for the financier recipe, honestly one of the tastiest little cakes I’ve ever had the pleasure of chomping on. My other winner was the lime, coconut and white chocolate pop, which tasted a bit like those white Ferrero Rocher chocolates, but with a delicious surprise in the middle. Hubbie declared the golden chocolate egg the best as it was filled with vanilla cheesecake and mango sauce. Or should that be coulis? Whatever it was it didn’t last long. We saved the candy floss to the end, having been told by the staff we had to guess the flavour. A long and heated debate ensued, yet it turned out that both ‘sherbet’ and ‘marshmallow’ were way off the mark. Even after tasting we decided there’s no earthly way of knowing the identity of the elusive flavour! I won’t divulge London’s latest culinary secret here, you’ll just have to go and find out for yourselves!

Is it sherbet? Is it marshmallow? No, its...

Is it sherbet? Is it marshmallow? No, its…

The lounge is such a calm and relaxing spot that we lingered a while, putting off returning to the mad and bustling outside world of London a little longer. Yet all good things have to come to an end, and eventually we waddled out, satisfied, relaxed, and buzzing.

So what was hubbie’s verdict?

Clearing his throat so he could speak in a low and growly masculine voice he reckoned the afternoon tea… “did the job”. I asked myself why I bother, but then noticed the spring in his step, the grin on his face and the sparkle in his eyes. I don’t think that was just down to the sugar!

The Charlie Tea costs £34.50 per person, or £45 per person with a glass of Champagne or a Cocktail Charlie. Many thanks to One Aldwych for providing us with complimentary afternoon teas. As always, words and opinions are my own.


  • Andreja Jernejčič says:

    This place look great! I dont drink coffee and I am tea person. I could spend hours over there, drinkin my favourite tea and chatting with my friends!

  • Elena says:

    I think I know more guys than girls who love their afternoon tea :))) I like it too and not just in the afternoon :))

  • A says:

    A bit baffled by the title. Why on earth would afternoon tea be a girl thing?

    • Heather Cole says:

      Perhaps because daintily sipping tea infusions named after confectionery and delicately nibbling on cucumber sandwiches isn’t particularly manly? Traditionally the sort of thing you do with your girl friends or mum!

  • Lyn - A Hole in my Shoe says:

    That all looks amazing, especially the pot of Charlie Cocktail ‘bubbling’ away. We have some fantastic afternoon teas in Perth, (We wrote an article recently) and we also went together, hubby loved it as much as I did.

  • Lauren says:

    That’s so funny, I never actually thought of afternoon tea as being a women’s thing only! I think everyone needs to enjoy a great cup of tea every once in a while, and I bet all of that chocolate didn’t hurt either 😉 Thanks for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust! One quick note, when you do link up with us, please remember to place our badge at the bottom of your blog post along with a link back to one of the host’s blog posts where you originally linked up, that way other bloggers can find where to join us! 🙂 Thanks!

  • Tim says:

    Never have a problem taking in a good cuppa. If you are ever in Boulder Colorado they have an amazing place built as a gift from Tajikistan as the capital, Dushanbe is Boulders sister city.

  • Sarah Ebner says:

    We are big tea lovers, but we haven’t tried this one. I think we must – and that’s two men and two women…..

  • Joanne Williams says:

    I’ve been trying to decide what tea to go to when me and my friends visit in the summer, this looks perfect, especially the teapot cocktail. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Sally Munt says:

    I love a scone, so does my Dad. It is definitely not just a girl thing ! Agh I miss afternoon tea when I am in Asia !

    • Heather Cole says:

      Wonder if somewhere in Asia they do their own version of afternoon tea? I’ve seen it in Morocco but somehow it’s just not the same, can’t beat an English scone 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    I love tea, proper tea, and for the last 4 and a half years my partner has said he will take me to the Ritz for afternoon tea…. and two days ago we finally went! It was well worth it – the food was delicious, the tea was divine, and it was so wonderfully different to anything we’ve ever done! And, we got to dress up 😉

    • Heather Cole says:

      That’s a long wait for a cuppa 🙂 Sounds like it lived up to expectations though…the Ritz is still one I have to tick off my list, sounds like I should make the effort!

  • Andrea says:

    Something I’ve always wanted to try! And you’re right it’s definitely not just a girl’s thing. Food is universal, good food even more so!

  • Shikha says:

    I keep hearing about this tea and seeing lots of great blog posts about this – I’ve tried so many in and around London but never this one and I’m so intrigued! That cocktail looks fabulous!

  • Gemma says:

    Mmmm that looks so good, I especially love the look of that cocktail! I think you’ve found the perfect way for me to convince my other half to come along to afternoon tea – he loves a bit of molecular gastronomy.

    • Heather Cole says:

      There seriously were lots of blokes there, it’s such a misconception that it’s just for the ladies…and if the cocktail doesn’t convince him I don’t know what will, hope you manage it!

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