When it comes to all things quintessentially British, Burberry and afternoon tea are quick to spring to mind. So it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise when the fashion power house launched its first cafe earlier this year, housed in its flagship store at Regent street, a perfect spot for a spot of tea, alongside offering the very best of seasonal British produce.
And so, mother and I found ourselves at Thomas’ one fine summer’s afternoon, gasping for a cuppa between a spot of shopping as it were.
Named after Burberry’s founder, the restaurant is spaciously spread out over two floors. It’s elegant but not over-done, with dressers and shelves stacked against the walls that add a homely touch. Filled with board games, candles, beautiful stationary, travel accessories and more, these are a veritable treasure trove of gifts that can be personalised or monogrammed in-store!
It’s oh-so-easy to get sidetracked, losing sight of why you wandered in to begin with…
But all distractions fade upon settling down.
Neatly summarised in just a page, there’s plenty to tempt on the all-day – mostly organic – menu, from lobster and chips to a sourdough ham and cheese toastie! Afternoon tea with all the works is on offer, and/ or you can opt for individual desserts or tea fancies, all of which are baked in-store each morning…
Interestingly the tea itself is not English, with a choice between Indian blends – Darjeeling or Meghalaya – and a Japanese green tea, all by Lalani & Co.
We ordered a pot of the Meghalaya, which arrived with a sandglass and the recommendation that the tea leaves be left to steep for three minutes, in order to really release the flavour. Our patience paid off. Woody and bittersweet with a subtle floral hint, the strong cups that followed proved to be a formidable substitute to our usual afternoon chai, doing a lot to revive us from our sleepy state induced by the balmy weather.
And for eats, we had traditional scones that were nestled in a little sack to keep warm – trust Burberry to make even a sack look trendy.
The scones were the best I’ve had in a while, soft yet resilient (there was a minimal scattering of crumbs), they had a very wholesome taste especially once liberally spread over with thick lashings of clotted cream and preserves.
Handmade at Rosebud farm in north Yorkshire, the strawberry jam was the star of the show here. Fresh and with incredibly sharp flavours, rather than the sickly sweetness which usually tends to be the case, it was so moreish that we called for a little dish each.
It was an afternoon well spent. The only thing mother and I couldn’t quite agree on is which comes first, the cream or the jam – I’m of the staunch opinion that it’s the latter. If you have any thoughts either ways, do drop them in the comments below and help us settle our debate!
Thomas’s at Burberry , 121 Regent Street, W1B 4TB