THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Tipsy Tea at Mr Fogg's Tavern
Afternoon tea, Victorian paraphernalia, theatre and gin. What could possibly be more English than that??? Bring a brolly and a stiff upper lip, and you have the whole kit and caboodle at one fell swoop!
Honestly, this is a must do the next time you have a couple of Yankees in your guestroom. They will love it, as will you. Afternoon tea is of course, my favourite English meal. Beats mutton hands down!
At Mr Fogg’s however, the teapot is filled with gin. Why this hasn’t always been so is beyond me. It makes the meal ever so much more enjoyable. Served by the charming and theatrical Raphael, it just doesn’t get much better! He’s a gem.
There are several “teas” to choose from. 3 with gin and 3 with champagne. £38 for a single pot, £58 for bottomless gin and £68 for bottomless Champagne. A single pot was more than ample. Especially if you continue directly to the adjacent gin parlour for cocktail hour. Of course we did!
We sampled a “What win I, if I gain the gin I seek?” with rose and cranberry green tea, Tanqueray, bergamot, honey, lemon and grapefruit. Complex and flowery with a touch of sharp citrus. “Fall to your knees, Tanqueray to the Gods!” was a smoother gintail with jasmine green tea, pineapple syrup, lemon and orange bitters. Both were extremely well concocted and surprisingly well suited to the three-tiered offering of teatime treats.
The sandwiches were not the best ever. Classically crustless ham, salmon and cheese and chutney. All the right ingredients, but skimpy as opposed to sumptuous. Two quiches and a sausage roll were the best of the savouries.
Scones were served with a portion of clotted cream that stilled my heart and the lemon meringue and chocolate ganache tarts were both good. In between, an elderflower cream was a delightful surprise.
During our meal Siegfried Loew amazed us with his sleight of hand. Coins and cards disappeared and reappeared in ways I just couldn’t figure out…no matter how much gin I swilled!
The room and décor are just divine. Victorian with a capital V. Hats, wigs, costumes, jewels, chaise longues, settees…it’s all set in precisely the year 1885, when Phileas J. Fogg inherited the tavern from his aunt, the actress Gertrude Fogg. I had assumed the Fogg came from the state one is in upon leaving the tavern. Such a fog, it requires two g’s! It is of course, all based on the character from the Jules Verne classic, Around the World in Eighty Days.
As I mentioned, we continued directly into Aunt Gertrude’s gin parlour for yet another libation. Should you miss tea, the gin parlour is a delightful, and depending on your disposition, possibly superior alternative. The array of gins on display is nearly as impressive as the knowledge of the woman who serves them. And you will definitely leave in a London Fogg!