Exceptional high tea in London is not hard to come by—almost every five-star hotel in the city hosts one worthy of an indulgent afternoon. But if you’ve done the Savoy and the Ritz, we’d suggest popping over to the Rosewood London, one of the properties leading the next generation of grande dames, for a playfully unconventional take on the tradition.
Located in leafy High Holborn, the property’s elegant Mirror Room plays host to the Arts Afternoon Tea, a series that uses the Brits’ favorite type of afternoon indulgence to nod to London’s heritage as an arts hub. The hotel’s latest take on the tea series—which was introduced earlier this year with a tea that featured carefully carved chocolate celebrating the sculptures of Rodin—honors the pioneers of cubism and modern art, namely Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Yayoi Kusama. The tea, best enjoyed with a glass of Dom Pérignon bubbly, is a whimsical (not to mention delicious) exercise in art appreciation.
Executive pastry chef Mark Perkins has transformed each artist’s most recognizable signatures into trays laden with artful treats. Mango and lime macarons are topped with chocolate triangles emblazoned with Picasso’s signature color palette, while raspberry choux are finished with an edible rendition of The Weeping Woman. Wavy red chocolate “brushstrokes” topping a yellow-and-blue banana cheesecake call to mind one of Roy Lichtenstien’s femme fatales, and yuzu mousse, strawberry yuzu jelly, and matcha sponge cake are coated in Kusama’s iconic pink-and-white spots. And most emblematic of all: Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans have been brought to life with Black-Forest-gâteau-inspired cakes decorated in the now-iconic white and red label.
Thoroughly more traditional aspects of British afternoon tea—think Scottish smoked salmon sandwiches and Kentish egg and truffle on caramelized bread—will serve as the backdrop for the artistic pastries. And after you’ve gotten your fill of both the art and the sweets, we’d suggest walking it off with a few laps around the nearby Bloomsbury Square Garden, where you can catch a glimpse of one of the city’s buzziest neighborhoods. That said, we won’t blame you if you simply head back upstairs for a nap back in one of the Rosewood’s 262 sleek and stylish rooms.