|Earl grey/shortbread/teddy hook punch|
One of my favorite things about London is the history infused in every brick of every building. During my time there in September, I found myself taking pictures on every street, and stopping to read historical facts posted on many of the buildings. I had an afternoon tea experience that combined history with tea, food, and booze. I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon, can you?
A dear friend checked with a few co-workers in London to recommend an afternoon tea experience that was different from the rest. What they came back with was something called 'scandal water'. Tea was colloquially referred to as 'scandal water' in the 19th century. Back then the women who gathered for tea often gossiped about the goings on of the day, thus developing the phrase. The Scandal Water menu explains how they take this idea and create their own unique afternoon tea experience:
Walking through the airy Edition hotel towards the back leads you to the cozy Punch Room lined with rich wood panelling and hipster staff where beards and waxed mustaches seem to be the uniform. It feels intimate and exclusive and, well, hip. But the vibe here isn't the 'cooler than you' vibe I was expecting. The staff was quite cheerful and our server was extremely passionate about the afternoon tea menu and history behind the selections.
|Our server, left, and the bartender, right.|
|Special brew tea/eccles cake/entoria punch and jasmine tea/chocolate/edition punch|
My husband joined me for this outing, and we each chose our 3 courses. We ended up with a few of the same as the ingredients were just too good to pass up. We were also given warm, fluffy English muffins which were far and away better than any I've tried. It was as if I hadn't tasted one before.
|Sencha tea/salmon/milk punch and jasmine tea/chocolate tart/edition punch|
My favorite tea was the 'special brew' a Chinese black tea blend that was smoky with a bit of citrus and dried fruit. It paired well with an Eccles cake that had raisins, currants, nutmeg, and cinnamon flavors. The tea was featured in the punch which also included rum, lemon juice, and thyme. It sounds like a lot of complicated flavors but everything really did work. It was a course that felt warming, sweet, and comforting.
|Jasmine tea/chocolate tart/Edition punch|
The punch brought this experience to a different level. They take punch very seriously here (how could you be called the Punch Room if you didn't?), in fact some of the preparations take a day or more to complete. The milk punch was one of the most memorable cocktails I've ever had- it contains milk but it's crystal clear. The subtle milky flavor and mouthfeel is amazing. The milk is slowly clarified, taking out all the solids but leaving the flavor. It's a centuries-old recipe reimagined. This punch also contained cognac, rum, brandy, the sencha tea, lemon juice, and spices. It sounds insane but as with every punch we tried it was smooth, balanced, and complex. I have a few ideas on how to create my own version of milk punch (without any long and complicated procedures) which I'll be working on in the next few weeks.
|How can you not love these guys?|
I like that Scandal Water is a departure from the heavy, excessive afternoon tea experiences most people have come to expect. I'll usually need to skip dinner after an afternoon tea but Scandal Water is meant to be more like the afternoon refreshment it was historically created to be. Just something to tide you over. If you're looking for a unique take on afternoon tea, this is the place to go. It feels like a little secret nook far away from the tourists and tumult of London even though you are in a boutique hotel. I have a few more London adventures to recap, I hope to do so in the coming weeks!