I am very excited to be sharing this latest afternoon tea discovery with you, which I happened upon in a tucked-away street in Mayfair just this week.
A week or so previously, my friend and I had met for an afternoon tea which unfortunately did not make it onto my recommendation list to share at bibimbites. While the presentation was lovely and very photogenic, regrettably the sandwiches and pastries lacked depth of flavour, with the latter mostly just sweet and nothing else (making it difficult to finish). The lack of scones might have been acceptable, had there been something else amazingly delicious and innovative in its place, but not so.
The afternoon tea at Hush, Mayfair, however, was an entirely different experience. Its tucked-away location in a cobbled courtyard just off Bond Street at the heart of London was already enough to leave a charming impression. The outdoor seating on a beautiful sunny day in March, with guests chatting away, further increased its appeal.
Once inside, up the open staircase, and past a dark and glamorous bar, a light-filled room with a beautiful wall-length golden hand-painted mural depicting a blooming tree would be the setting for our relaxed afternoon with food, cocktails, talk, and tea. Our table had already been prepared, the jams laid out and the tea blends were waiting to be smelled. We were on time, but it felt as if the staff at Hush had expectantly been awaiting our arrival, making sure everything was well prepared so that we could feel comfortable and attended to.
Upon smelling the different Hush Own Blended loose leaf teas which were presented in small silver tin cans, it felt impossible to single out any one of them as my preferred choice because they all smelt wonderful. And yet memories associated with the scents and the current mood I found myself in finally led me to my decision to go for the green and white tea blend appropriately named Zen. It was served in a gigantic, colourful pot and the tea cup’s porcelain was just fine enough to accommodate such a smooth, delicate and multi-layered tea.
My friend went for the Irish cream black tea blend, equally unsurpassed in quality. The Bailey’s flavour was clearly discernible, yet did not overpower the tea as a whole. After choosing our tea, we were first served a welcome tipple: a Strawberry gin cocktail. It was served in an ingenious champagne-glass-turned-tea-cup and, appearances not deceiving, it was refreshing and delicately delicious too: just on the right side of sweet, the gin came through beautifully and the citrus felt fresh on the tongue.
Amongst the four different sandwiches (refills any time), the salmon and cream cheese, as well as the egg mayonnaise option stood out for me. They were not just sandwiches, but quality ingredients combined with seasonings to bring out their fullest flavours. My friend’s favourite one was the cucumber and cheese sandwich, and it was a nice change to be served a sourdough bread sandwich as well.
The scones ensemble with clotted cream and no less than four different jams were equally delicious. The jams are created exclusively for Hush by Wendy Brandon, a small company based in Pembrokeshire whose members make a wide range of handmade preserves by domestic methods (handcut fruits, handfilled jars, etc.). Our favourites were the juniper and rhubarb, and the gooseberry and elderflower jams. They erred just on the right side of sweet and complemented the clotted cream beautifully.
The macaroons and cute little Early Grey Crème Brûlée at the end were almost too much, in the sense that until we reached the top-tier plate we had already been spoiled with a lot of fantastic food and drink. Last but not least, the gin cocktail we had chosen from a selection of four was waiting to be consumed. Hush’s Mayfair Boutique Gin is distilled in London and paired with a Wendy Brandon jam for an exclusive Hush Gin Cocktail. My friend’s Paddington Bear (Amaretto, orange juice, marmalade) and my Pippi Longstocking (pineapple juice, ginger beer, rhubarb jam) were both exquisite.
The afternoon tea at Hush, Mayfair easily makes it onto my list of the very best afternoon teas in London. Not only are the sandwiches and sweets delicious, the atmosphere charming, and the tea blends as well as gin cocktails exceptional, but in almost every aspect has Hush made the afternoon tea experience unique. Where else can you find a Wendy Brandon gooseberry and elderflower jam paired with a Zen green and white tea blend and a Pippi Longstocking gin and jam cocktail? At Hush, that’s where! Tea blends are also available to take home in 125g caddies for £5 each, as is the Hush Mayfair Boutique Gin for £35 per bottle.
Area: Mayfair, Central London
Closest tube: Bond Street (Central and Jubilee line); Oxford Circus (Central and Victoria line); Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly line)
No.8 Lancashire Court
London W1S 1EY