Take the tube to Bank Station and you’ll emerge in London’s financial district — a spectacular part of British history. Walking hand in hand with your belle or beau, you gaze up in awe at the imposing Bank of England, with its massive white columns and many levels looming up even taller than you remembered. But you’re not here for the sight-seeing: It’s nearly teatime, and you have something special in mind today.
A minute’s walk leads you to the Threadneedles Hotel, another old bank that boasts classic style – only this one’s been turned into a boutique hotel. You’ve been lured here to try the Great Britons Afternoon Tea: a collection of tempting treats that pay homage to six of the greatest Britons of all time, such as the Sir Winston Churchill fruitcake and the Sir Isaac Newton apple tart.
Tea is served in the hotel’s circular lobby, where each table comes complete with a starched white table cloth and lamps that create a warm, romantic glow. Sinking back into your plush leather chairs, the two of you can’t help but look upward, noticing that the Georgian-style pillars lead up to a spectacular glass dome overhead, where sunlight filters softly into the room.
You sip your fragrant Earl Grey, relaxing in the gorgeous space as the afternoon tea arrives – along with your Champagne – on a slate tiered cake stand. After a cheeky wink and chink of glasses, you begin to savour the finger sandwiches and fruit scones between sips of bubbly.
The showstoppers here, of course, are those Great Britons pastries. You’re immediately drawn to the Diana Princess of Wales, a light and delicate Victoria sponge of sweet strawberry jam and fluffy rosewater cream. With your sweet tooth well and truly lured in, it’s not long before you dig into the chocolate gateau in honour of John Lennon. The late Beatle had a penchant for cornflakes and chocolate – and so do you, it seems. As you devour this nostalgic homage of a cake, layered with flavours of coffee, crunchy flakes, and gooey chocolate, you’re amazed at how well the combination works. Looks like you and Lennon have something in common, after all.
But caramelised apple can be just as tempting, it seems. Like kids in a candy shop, you and your love clash forks over the caramelised apple tart dedicated to Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists in British history. It’s sticky and sweet, and there’s not quite enough of it for your liking. To be fair, a whole platter of the stuff probably wouldn’t be enough for your liking — but you can’t think of a better place to enjoy it, or a better way to spend an afternoon.