Friday, July 17, 2015

Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Gluten Free Style

Nothing could compare to the experience at Claridge's for Afternoon Tea, in my mind, but my 16 year old daughter actually preferred our tea at the Sanderson Hotel, a funky West End hotel with eclectic and whimsical decor.

Funky seating in the Lobby at the Sanderson Hotel

The day couldn't have been better for sitting outside on their lovely garden terrace.  Their Afternoon Tea is advertised as a "Mad Hatter's Tea Party," and there are lots of playful touches: the sugar cubes come inside a ballerina music box; the menu is inside a book; the treats included little brown bottles marked "Drink Me" (filled with a passion fruit smoothie) and chocolate tea cups, filled with mousse, with a Queen of Hearts card made of white chocolate on top.

Outdoor Terrace at Sanderson's Hotel

The experience wasn't perfect.  They lost our reservation (which was held with a credit card!), so it took forever to get a table, then another eternity to actually get served.  Then the waiter forgot I had said I needed a GF meal, so he had to go back and order it, so everyone was nearly done by the time I got started.  Additionally, my sandwiches were served plain on uninspired white gf bread.  They were edible, but just barely.  They didn't have any of the condiments that were on the "regular" sandwiches -- they were just meat and bread.  Fortunately, that is exactly what the 12-year-old likes to eat, so I passed them to her.  The scones were tasty, but fell apart in your hands.  Desserts, however, were better than Claridge's!  

Samples on the table so you can smell their custom blends before ordering.

Queen of Hearts Teapot (at the Sanderson)

Gluten Free scones and desserts at the Sanderson

Marshmallow Mushrooms

Passion fruit smoothie

Boring gluten free sandwiches at the Sanderson

Regular (gluten filled) sandwiches looked much better

Despite these problems, Caroline liked The Sanderson better than Claridge's for both food and ambiance.  (My foodie Colin still preferred Claridge's).  The desserts were particularly yummy, especially their little raspberry cake, which came in a gf and non-gf version.  My husband tasted both and thought it was actually better than the non-gf version.  

For the 5 of us, it was $100 cheaper than Claridge's (though still pricey at $340 US dollars).  


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