Behind buzzing Shaftesbury Avenue and the throngs of people who fill the street lies a haven. A small paved courtyard lined with trees, sits hidden behind one of the busiest streets in London, and this little courtyard belongs to the Ham Yard Hotel. In the heart of Soho hides a respite from the chaos, an elegant hideaway. It is here in the cool and quiet courtyard that I devoured a beautiful afternoon tea, it was so very easy to forget that I was in London in the middle of Soho.
From the moment we got to the Ham Yard Hotel you felt relaxed, the staff were lovely and nothing seemed too much trouble. Afternoon tea can be served in the bar, restaurant or lounge area, but our waiter had assigned us a table outside presuming that we would want to enjoy the glorious weather, he presumed correct. I had a quick snoop around the lounge (and the restaurant area of course!) and in autumn or winter this would be a great place for tea, big deep sofas and chairs, a place you could while away the afternoon away from the cold and enjoy delicate cakes and tea.
From the moment we sat down I felt taken care of, our waiter returned now and again throughout the tea to make sure we were ok, and chat away with us, he was such a sweety! The staff were friendly but not overbearing. We choose the basic afternoon tea, you can upgrade for a little more money and have their speciality teas but I was more than happy with my Earl Grey. As our afternoon tea arrived I could feel myself wanting to dive on it straight away, everything looked amazing.
The savouries included a chorizo sausage roll ( so going to have to make some of these myself), pea and mint tarts, sandwiches of course (salmon and black pepper and cucumber) and a duck slider with hoisin sauce. This is clearly not your delicate traditional tea but a great modern spin using a range of flavours that made it exciting. Each individual item was full of flavour, not to big or over powering, they all just worked together.
Going up we had the cakes, yum! There were chocolate macaroons, a pretty little éclair filled with crème patisserie and gold dusted blueberries, strawberry mouse, chocolate and lemon battenburg, bakewell tart and a coconut cupcake. Nothing was too overwhelming, sometimes you go to a tea and the cakes are all to big, they are meant to be small and delicate, these cakes worked well. They all had a slight twist on the traditional which I liked and surprisingly nothing disappointed me, the sponges moist, the éclair crisp and the macaroons delightful.
Now I always find the real test of an afternoon tea are their scones. So many places give you massive scones or they are dry, it’s hard to find a really decent scone, but the Ham Yard did pretty well. Their scones were small which I liked, you were not faced with a scone eating challenge, and instead you were given several small scones which were light and fluffy. With two types of jam and plenty of clotted cream it was really hard not to try to devour them all at once. I managed to maintain a small amount of ladylike behaviour while eating them.
As we lazed away the afternoon with our tea I could have quite happily stayed there all afternoon, the bar certainly looked tempting and as I walked through they were making some interesting looking cocktails.
On first visit to the Ham Yard Hotel I instantly loved it. I of course have a great love of the Firmdale brand as the Charlotte Street Hotel’s restaurant and bar are a favourite, it’s so annoying living in London as I have no excuse to actually try them out as a hotel! The Ham Yard is now a firm new favourite and with the afternoon tea being so reasonably priced at £18, I know! The quality of the food was worth much more, but at this price it means I can keep going back without having to make up an excuse for a treat, plus the menu changes every week so there is always a new surprise waiting. I look forward to experiencing the restaurant and bar as well as more tea!