When my father, wife and niece booked a trip to visit us for a long weekend, I wanted to take them for high tea at The Wolseley before the theatre. It was my niece’s first visit to London, (hopefully just the first of many to come now as she recently moved to Lyon), and high tea is a quintessential baptism type experience for London novices.
I debated where to take them and settled on The Wolseley, as it has a vibe that appeals to parents and there is good-people watching for anyone, plus their afternoon tea menu is priced at £25.50 which is a bargain when compared to other afternoon tea options in London. I haven’t been to many since moving here but I did try the Claridges high tea with Claire before and it was fantastic. On the other hand, last Christmas we went to The Ritz for afternoon tea and the vibe was very festive but it was very expensive and a total disappointment. A good test of high tea is the scones and at the Ritz they were flavourless.
At The Wolseley, the high tea was plentiful and delicious. My family devoured their sandwiches while I ate some scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and then had a scone and a lot of the pastries. I don’t love tea sandwiches as I prefer my bread to be toasted and my cheese to be melted, but I can’t resist a good scone with jam and clotted cream. I also made them try the Welsh Rarebit so I had an excuse to eat some.
Smoked Salmon and Scrambled eggs at The Wolseley
The Welsh Rarebit was good, but they had over-done the amount of Worcestershire sauce, and it was not as yummy as the one from 45 Jermyn Street. The scones were delicious and the pastries were very good. Their assortment is not as fancy or as refined, or indeed as visually stunning as it is at Claridges, but they are tasty nibbles. We particularly liked the chocolate fondant and pistachio cake as well as the other chocolate one while my dad devoured anything involving Marzipan that was put on the table. They were also were very accommodating and brought a generous extra plate of vegetarian sandwiches for my niece and then packed a huge to go box for her plane ride.
In sum: The Wolseley is a good alternative for tea, even more so for people who haven’t been to other fancy hotel offerings and are not comparing it to what you see at The Berkeley with their fashion tea or the traditional and beautiful afternoon tea at Claridges. The setting, service and food at Claridges are certainly superior, but so is the price……I struggled on my food rating and wish there were half points so I would give it a 6.5 as the scones were good but Stewart said the sandwiches were weak and we both agree the cakes were fine but didn’t blow us away.
The Wolseley https://www.thewolseley.com/
160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
+44020 7499 6996