Mad Hatter’s at Sanderson

Carrot meringue, pea shoots, marshmallow shrooms, Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Afternoon tea for the aspiring eccentrics

The Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea at The Sanderson is a joint collaboration between the hotel and a Shoreditch boutique, Luna & Curious. As the name suggests, the tea takes its inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The theme is taken up with marvellous gusto and manifests itself in everything, from crockery to cake, and even the environment itself.

Served in an outdoor atrium, the space is dominated by a Japanese garden centrepiece, complete with miniature topiary and fountains. On both sides of the garden are placed marble tables to take the tea, and the perimeter is lined with perfectly clipped hedges.

Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Loose leaf teas, Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Its outdoor location means that this is a tea experience best enjoyed in spring or summer. Although there is a heated marquee erected during the colder months, this does somewhat mar the garden view. The juxtaposition between the severity of the deeply utilitarian Sanderson building itself and the whimsical inner atrium is distinct; whether by accident or not, it fits the thematic peculiarity well.

Sandwich 'swiss-rolls', tarts finger Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Proceedings commence with a flick through the storybook-cum-menu which details out the different tea options. This is followed by a quick sniff of the bespoke tea blends, brought to each table in vintage glass vials. The novelty tea choices include rhubarb & custard, chocolate & mint, apple pie and strawberry & cream.

Little hints at the wonderland theme are peppered throughout, starting with rolled sandwiches which are made to resemble the hedgehogs from The Queen’s Croquet. The breads are naturally coloured, and include sun-dried tomato bread, cucumber and cream cheese on spinach bread, smoked salmon on rye bread and daily changing mini quiches.

Biscuit-textured scones follow, the savoury ones paired with herb butter, and the plains ones with clotted cream and preserves. The cakes on offer at Sanderson are whimsical creations, and include a melting mango cheesecake encased in a white chocolate shell, under which is a shockingly bright liquid centre of mango puree. Equally as good are sweet little milk chocolate cups, filled with matcha green tea mousse and a surprise sprinkling of popping candy, and also a ‘tick-tock’ Victoria sponge decorated with a white rabbit watch.

Matcha cup, victoria sponge, white chocolate mousse , Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Sweet & herb scones, passionfruit mousse, Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

The centrepiece that crowns this afternoon tea is a plant pot of errant pea shoots, amongst which are carrot meringues and strawberry and cream flavoured marshmallow mushrooms. The level of detail that has gone into every aspect of The Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea is incredible, and everything comes together to recreate Carroll’s fanciful imaginings. In the unlikely chance that you are not stuffed by the end, try out a few of the jellies from the jelly cart. Yes, we have arrived at a place that glorifies the shaped jelly – the mothership.

Teapots and tea Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Camomile tea, Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Jelly Wonderland, Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Jelly Wonderland, Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson

Tube: Oxford Circus
Address: 50 Berners Street, London W1T 3NG
Tel: 020 7300 5588
I was invited to review

Mad Hatter's Tea on Urbanspoon


  • Is there any possibility that we’ll ever see an Afternoon Tea review that isn’t comp’d by the hotel for PR purposes? Funny how they all score around eight out of ten, thus ensuring the gravy train never runs out of steam.

      • Oh, I forgot that. The immensely critical one where you excoriated the unfortunate establishment for being noticeably inferior to its competition; the one where you informed your readers why it was a bit of a let down; the one where you warned us not to bother dropping the best part of fifty notes because there are much better alternatives; the one where you decided to write an honest review because you aren’t afraid to get on the wrong side of press officers who might unsubscribe you from their mailing lists. Yeah, that one.

        • That was one of my first afternoon tea reviews, I could hardly compare it to others as I had not yet been to the ones which I have subsequently. Even though I percieved the experience to be a 6/10, I still had a lovely time at The Athenaeum, the details of which I’ve written about in the review. I appreciate that you feel passionately about the fact that I’ve been invited to review these establishments. You’re not the first person to have misgivings, and I’m not the first blogger to accept invitations. I do understand your perspective, but the last thing I would want to do is direct someone to a bad meal, whether or not I was comped for it. In that spirit, I give honest ratings and reviews that are indicative of the experience. My blog is a work in progress, and I have ways to go still. I appreciate your comments.

Comments are closed.