By Faye Armstrong.
Afternoon tea is an activity undertaken by ladies. Those swan necked beauties, preened to perfection, who glide whilst twiddling umbrellas and fluttering eyelashes. Afternoon tea is for those who can be trusted handling china and somehow look more delectable than the array of cakes and pastries adorning sparkling silver tiers.
I am female, but this should not be misconstrued as being the same thing as a lady. There is a big difference. More of a difference than margarine and butter, Slipknot and Katherine Jenkins, Man Utd and Man City. There is a saying that horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies merely glow. I carry a wet floor sign around with me.
So, bearing this in mind, when visiting Hush restaurant in London’s exclusive Mayfair, I was a tad apprehensive. I brushed my hair a hundred times and squealed as the bristles locked contact with my tangled mop. I cut, filed and painted my nails, and frowned as the polish diffused from nail to skin, stinging my gnawed-at bloody quicks. I sprayed my skin with perfume and chocked when I realised I was holding a bottle of Old Spice. I slid into a tea dress and raised my arms frustratingly when I caught reflection of a very obvious panty line.
I arrived at Hush deflated and already defeated.
My mother has always told me that ‘it’ won’t be as bad as I think it will be. As I find time and time again, my mother is always wrong. The sun was shining and this only helped to illuminate the perfection of the ladies already dining under the canopies of Hush’s perfect outside space. I felt every inch as out of place as I suspected I would.
But my awkwardness was forgotten as soon as the experience that is known as the Hendrick’s High Tea began.
As with all afternoon teas, tea was served, but it was the Hendrick’s gin cocktails that received my undivided attention. The Hush Wolfsberry infuses Hendrick’s Gin with rose petals and goji berries, goji liqueur and edible flower. You wouldn’t believe the difference the edible flower makes; women are suckers for pretty things you can actually eat. I once tried to eat a hand-carved flower soap. Not so nice. Hendrick’s Spring uses the same trick, with lavender flowers floating in a sea of Hendrick’s gin, lavender and cucumber.
The cocktails are beautiful, artful things, but have a kick stronger than that temperamental donkey in Buckaroo. I needed food and luckily there materialised before me an array of sandwiches (cucumber, salmon and egg), warm scones with rose petal and elderflower jams, and to finish, a selection of pearlescent mini macaroons by Bougie, which looked almost too good to eat. Almost.
As the demolished feast was cleared away, I was left to observe the destruction in its wake; bloody jam stained the white tablecloth, scone crumbs lay lifeless atop fallen cucumber and darkened spots suggested the spilling of tea. I’m certainly not a lady but that doesn’t mean I’m unable to enjoy the things ladies are renown for doing, and I certainly enjoyed the Hendrick’s High Tea experience at Hush.
The Hendricks High Tea Menu - Full Afternoon Tea including a Hendricks cocktail and molecular cocktail samples - at Hush in Mayfair is £24.75. Follow this link to book.
Looking for further Afternoon Tea suggestions in central London? Check out the guide to the best Afternoon tea in London