Having the British afternoon tea experience was something I’ve been anxiously waiting to do ever since the beginning of our London sojourn. But we’ve been waiting for the right time to do it — for that cold weather to set in, when having hot tea actually sounds good. And it sure is cold here in the UK — much colder and drier than we expected it to be. Being so, we took the opportunity to have a Winter Afternoon Tea at RAW. RAW is a plant-based restaurant inside the boutique hotel, LA Suite West, in West London (Bayswater). We first learned about RAW when it opened in 2013, when we had a raw dinner there (you can see and read about that experience here if you’d like). RAW started off as a raw restaurant, but now they serve both raw and cooked dishes, as well as having afternoon tea. At breakfast only, they also cater to omnivores and vegetarians as well. Because we had such a great experience with Raw the first time, we felt their Winter Afternoon Tea would be better than other vegan afternoon tea options at a non-plant-based hotel and restaurant.
That being said, I was beyond excited for this afternoon tea experience. This Winter menu actually started on the first of November. They change the menu accordingly to season, but certain items are still similar or kept the same. Nevertheless, let me share our experience.
Glass of Not Alcholic Fizz
First off, we were given a non-alcoholic fizz: sparkling apple cider. You have the choice of having their selection of mocktails for an additional cost, but we stuck with the standard offer.
Selection of Tea
After we finished our glass of fizz, we picked from the tea list. We both had the Jade Sword Green Tea. If you’re not a tea fan, you can select plain coffee, latte, cappuccino, or the like. All teas and coffees are unlimited.
A Selection of Finger Sandwiches and Savory Canapés
The finger sandwiches were mushroom and black olive paté, hummus and cucumber, and scrambled tofu and mustard cress. Our favorite here was the hummus and cucumber. The hummus didn’t taste like traditional hummus. It had a twist to it, like it had turmeric in there, but whatever it was it was really tasty.
The savory canapés were cashew nut and spinach spanakopita and stuffed cherry tomatoes with sunflower seed pesto and quinoa topped with kale chips. Our favorite here was the spanakopita. The phyllo pastry was lightly baked, and the cashew was actually like a cream mixed in with spinach. It was really nice.
Warm Homemade Scones
This course was absolutely the best part of the meal. These warm homemade scones were so yummy, and topped with fresh strawberries and whipped coconut cream made it even more scrumptious. In addition to the scones were traditional mince pies. When I first heard of “mince pies” I thought of savory pies with meat, but it seems it’s actually a dessert. The mince pies are in abundance right now as Christmas season is approaching. Warm and oozing with Christmas spices, apples and raisins, these little mince pies were such a delight.
The scones and mince pies felt like dessert to us, but we weren’t done yet. Dessert was actually our next course, completing our Winter Afternoon Tea at RAW. The desserts were a mix of raw and cooked: raw Christmas cake with coconut frosting and red berries, raw carrot cake with mulled wine spice and cranberry and orange topping, and gingerbread loaf with walnuts. Our favorite here was the raw Christmas cake. You could hardly tell it was raw. The texture was like baked cake, and though it was on the sweet side, the flavor was so good. The raw carrot cake was also good for being raw. I am usually not a fan of raw carrot cakes, but this one was not bad. The flavor was really good, and I really enjoyed the cranberry and orange topping. The gingerbread walnut was actually more like banana bread with hazelnut. It was also delicious, but the Christmas cake surpassed them all.
We both had so much fun with our first afternoon tea experience. Everything was delicious and of high quality. The spanakopita and scones really left us with a good, lasting impression. Overall, RAW’s afternoon tea menu is superb and a nice treat. We both were pleased. The experience met my expectation, and it exceeded Nick’s. Whether vegan or not, I would highly recommend RAW’s afternoon tea experience.