Like any proper expat, Anglophile and daughter of Southerners, I love tea. I am obsessed with tea and all of its wondrous variations. I have a growing tea collection in my kitchen, with fancy Fortnum & Mason white teas, traditional PG Tips and Yorkshire tea, darjeeling, and zanier flavours such as Boston Tea Party (not that one) Pomegranate Green tea and Qi Spicy Christmas tea. I indulge in organic iced tea from Borough Market (fact: not as good as homemade orange pekoe tea mixed with lemon and too much sugar) and love trying new biscuits that will go with all of my teas (I am also a Biscuit Bandit Queen). I even look forward to autumn and winter because I can drink as much tea as I crave ( I don’t use sugar, so it’s healthy! No, it really is.) As you can see, I am crazy about tea. And yet- there is something that slightly irritates me about the expectation to do trad afternoon tea when visiting London (or England as a whole). It just seems so limiting and ignores the vast, multicultural tea cultures that exist in the city. So I am making a list of other teas that can be found in London. Remember, these are just a few examples, sometimes the best thing to do is explore and try a small place that’s out of the way. Enjoy!
- Vintage Patisserie– Expensive, but offers one of a kind service with music, vintage hostesses and handmade cakes and pastries
- Volupte– A burlesque cabaret club that offers ‘Afternoon Tease’ on select dates. Your tea and scones also comes with a special burlesque performance. Expensive, but also includes the show.
East Asian (green, white and bubble teas are common):
- Bubbleology– London has recently discovered bubble tea and has gone mad for it! With affordable prices, this is a great cafe to discover the quirky loveliness of bubble tea houses.
- Jen Cafe– a well-known Chinese restaurant that has some of the best bubble tea in the city
- HK Diner-Another well-known Chinatown restaurant with lovely traditional Chinese tea
- Necco– a cutesy, kawaii Japanese cafe that offers a range of teas with tapas and other dishes for a reasonable price.
- Note: Chinatown is best for a variety of trad tea
Moroccan/Lebanese/Arabic (sweet mint tea is traditional):
- Momo– this swanky bar offers a twist on Afternoon tea with Moroccan pastries and traditional mint tea. Average afternoon tea cost
- Pasha– another fancy restaurant, this houses the Kemia Lounge where you can get trad tea and pastries, along with other small dishes.
- Maroush– a chain of restaurants and delis that offer teas, juices and a wide range of North African food
- Note: Places like Edgware Road are great for Moroccan/Lebanese food
Indian/Southeast Asian (chai, darjeeling):
- Dishoom-one of my favourite restaurants,this has some of the best decor I’ve ever seen (60s Bollywood kitsch, divine!) It also has a range of chai and lassi to accompany a wide range of food.
- Imli-A reasonably priced modern Indian restaurant that offers trad teas with yummy tapas.
- Chor Bizarre-London’s first Indian tea bar, Chai Bizarre, is run in the afternoon with a separate menu. Picked by a tea master, teas are paired with specific pastries to best explore the flavour. Expect to pay average afternoon tea prices.
- Note: Places like Southall and Whitechapel are great for Indian dishes, though Brick Lane is more tourist-based and the food can be lacking.
Where are some tea places that you really like?