Review: Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel

by Charlotte McGaffney

Kids Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand

It's just wonderful when reality surpasses already high expectation and in summary - this was our experience at The Ampersand Hotel.

The Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel is prolific to say the least. In a 'camera eats first' world - it's no wonder. Between the dramatic dry ice, colourful liquids in beakers, excavating your own personal chocolate dinosaur, it is a delight to capture. We chose The Ampersand because it looks pretty and we knew it would be wonderful, but we were still pleasantly surprised by how well executed everything was.

The Ampersand is a beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of leafy South Kensington, just minutes’ walk from the royal parks. The Drawing Rooms is plush and intimate, with lush armchairs and mirrored tables. Natural light floods through the original feature Victorian windows.

I brought my one-year-old, and it's worth mentioning that the high-chair was comfortable with a spacious table. I feel often that littles are overlooked in these experiences, but even the highchair was ergonomically perfect, with a large tray for inevitable splashback.

Both the tea menu and the drinks menu have ample choice. We were sorely tempted by the cocktail teapots but as we had a day of sightseeing planned, we went for a glass of Champagne, which of course, perfectly complimented the food.

Science beakers arrive at the table along with pipettes of different coloured liquid and sachets of powder. Your inner scientist comes out to play as you mix yourself possibly the fanciest lemonade you will ever have in your life.

Before you know it, the three-tiered stand is served - and quite a spectacle it is! The children's Afternoon Tea stand is in the shape of a rocket and the adults an elegant classical stand decorated with planets, carrying the theme. Both were poured with frothing dry ice with the themed cakes at the top peeping through it.

Each morsel is executed with finesse. The bellini of swirled salmon and cream cheese with little pearls of caviar on top was my personal favourite of the savouries. The pastry on the quiche was perfectly crisp with a silky egg filling.

The children's Afternoon Tea savouries include a ‘rocket cheese straw’, dinosaur shaped jam sandwich and finally - a miniature hot dog which I ‘mum taxed’ a bite of. The savouries are a good size on the children’s Afternoon Tea. The jam sandwich was predictably baby’s favourite!

The scones were the perfect balance of buttery and fluffy. I particularly enjoyed the variety of toppings. There was the traditional Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, but also passionfruit curd in a squeeze tube (deliciously creamy and tart) along with toppings in test tubes which included freeze-dried raspberry, pineapple and crunchy caramel.

The cakes were both artful and delicious. The caramel chocolate and raspberry planet with ethereal brushstrokes of colour is particularly stunning. The macaron came with a pipette filled with a raspberry coulis so you can administer the exact amount you require. The chocolatey moon cake with apricot and almond was somehow both perfectly rich and light.

My little dove into the sweets with no holds barred enthusiasm. The beaker of jelly was a particular and firm favourite. If the lovely and professional staff were put out by the chaos, they didn’t show it.

It was a captivating experience from the moment we sat down to the end, combining playfulness, theatre, and excellent food. It is such good value for the location, just moments away from some of London’s best attractions – The Natural History Museum, Hyde Park and Royal Albert Hall just to name a few. It is a slice of luxury that you would be hard pressed not to enjoy.

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Charlotte McGaffney

Charlotte is the Digital Marketing Manager for AfternoonTea.co.uk. Off duty, she blogs about wine at everydaydrinkingwine.com.

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