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Best spots in London for vegan afternoon tea

Isabel Putinja

Contributor

Afternoon tea is a quintessential London experience with a long tradition which recently got a plant-based upgrade. More and more of the capital's gastronomic hotspots and luxury hotels have introduced a vegan version of this favourite afternoon indulgence. Yes, you can have your vegan scones and eat them! If you like your afternoon tea with a plant-based twist, check out these lavish options:

The Savoy

The Savoy's Thames Foyer is one of the most luxurious settings to sit down to tea. This traditional afternoon ritual has been a firm feature here since 1889 and is part of this landmark hotel's historical heritage. Nibble on plant-based delights while listening to the sounds of live piano music under the elegant glass dome. On the traditional vegan afternoon tea menu you'll find 26 different types of tea to choose from, and sandwiches filled with tantalising ingredients such as roasted courgettes, baba ghanoush, beet remoulade, carmelised walnuts, tomato jam and olive spread. For your sweet tooth, the delicate tiered cake stands are piled with seasonal handmade pastries and the Savoy's signature cakes. And of course, afternoon tea is not complete without scones and clotted cream: these are of course egg- and dairy-free, and delicious. If this is not enough indulgence for you, add a glass of Deutz Rosé Champagne.

Café Forty One @ La Suite West

Expectations are high at Café Forty One, the vegan restaurant and French patisserie located at London's one and only plant-based hotel. But vegans looking for a spot of afternoon tea will not be disappointed by the goodies on offer. Menus are seasonal and change weekly, but a small sample of some of the savoury offerings include sandwiches of Coronation Jackfruit (the vegan version of Coronation Chicken!), roasted aubergine with pesto, cream cheese and dill, cucumber and cashew nut butter, Tofu mayo, and ajvar (a red pepper spread). This is followed by cakes and pastries, and plain or raisin scones served with coconut cream and seasonal fruit compote. Wash it all down with a luxury tea blend or Italian coffee served with your choice of six different types of plant-based milk, or a selection of mocktails. Gluten-free options are available with advance notice.

Lady Dinah's

If your prefer to take your high tea in the company of cats, head to Lady Dinah's, London's original cat cafe. Under the gaze of its resident felines, you can tuck into sweet and savoury vegan delicacies such as vegan sausage rolls, tofu and tomato tarts, and scones with jam and clotted cream. But the sweetest part is the purrfect plates of mini Victoria sponge and red velvet cakes, lemon shortbread, berry cupcakes, and chocolate and coconut domes. Pescatarian, vegetarian and gluten-free diets are also catered for here. This unique afternoon tea experience is fully booked months in advance, so do plan to reserve well ahead of time.

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason is another high tea favourite and an award-winner when it comes to London's best afternoon tea experiences. Afternoon tea has been served in the elegant décor of their splendid Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon since 1926. A tempting selection of 100 percent plant-based treats await vegans here. Start with finger sandwiches of picked celeriac with kale pesto, red pepper and aubergine tapenade, root vegetable hummus, and grilled courgettes with artichoke. Follow this up with scones paired with Fortnum's strawberry preserve, but leave space for the tantalising tea cakes: Earl Grey panna cotta and prune d'Agen, passion fruit and avocado mousse, or the vanilla cheesecake with raspberry jelly are only a few of the irresistible options. Tea lovers can book the tea tasting experience, while those who fancy some fizz can order a glass of Fortnum’s Blanc de Blancs Champagne.

One Aldwych

Themed versions of afternoon tea add a fun vibe to this tradition. One of the most popular is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea served up at the One Aldwych Hotel. Diners feast on treats like scones spread with snozzberry jam and vegan clotted cream with pineapple, candy floss, bubble gum panna cotta, and golden chocolate eggs. These are washed down with chocolate caramel milk or flavoured teas with names like Chocolate Chai, Cinnamon Toast and Mango Noir. Vegan versions of all these Roald Dahl-inspired delights can be prepared with 48 hours advance notice.

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