I love tea parties! I’ve had a couple in my backyard, one in a park, and have visited a few tea houses (Darteeling, Crown & Crumpet, and Petunia’s) in San Francisco and Portland. I love how all the food is cute. The only time I have actually been to a high tea was at the Stanford Inn. They offer an all-vegan high tea every day for their overnight guests, and it’s divine! They give you a choice of coconut or soy creamer for your tea, and I have only been once, but I would love to go again! (They’re also doggie friendly if you have a pooch in your life who you would like to invite to high tea.)
Even though I noticed that every hotel we stayed at in London had a tea station set up in every room, I would never have thought to go to high tea while visiting there. It wasn’t until I saw Ashley’s instagram post from her afternoon tea at The Savoy that I even realized it was a possibility to have vegan afternoon tea in London.
So, I started doing some research to see if there were other places to have vegan afternoon tea as well. While none of these are strictly vegan places, they all offer a vegan tea option. Here is a quick synopsis of what I discovered. I’m ordering this list by the ones that looked the best to the least attractive.
- Le Chandelier in Dulwich: £18/person, but outside of London (30 minutes by car, 60 minutes by bus)
- The Promenade at the Dorchester: £45/person; vegan menu options include the following
_Sandwiches: _ Rocket salad and hummus, Grilled Mediterranean vegetables, Cucumber and cress
_Pastries: _ Fruit salad, Dark chocolate mousse, Vegan Carrot cake, Orange jelly with raspberry
- Flemings Mayfair London: £25/person
- Claridges: £50/person
- Palm Court at The Langham: £38/person for unlimited sandwiches, cakes, and tea refills
- Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason: £44/person and the vegan menu is online
- Lanesborough hotel: They were closed for renovations in April 2014, so I wasn’t able to find out how much they charge
- The Savoy Hotel: £45/person (below is a picture of their dessert, taken by @ashleythevegan)
- Coworth Park in Ascot: I didn’t inquire as to the cost of this one, because it was so very far outside of London, but I did see a delicious looking picture posted by VeganLuke.
- Connaught: £41/person
So, after staying up until 3am doing all this research (I’m not so good at adjusting to new time zones when traveling), in the end I decided not to participate in high tea while visiting London. Here is some of the supporting evidence in my decision.
I was already feeling like $45/person for tea time was a bit steep until I used my currency calculator to determine that 45 pounds is actually 75 dollars!!! For one person! And the pastries aren’t even garnished with gold!
There’s a lot of controversy on the internet about whether or not vegans should support these places by giving them our hard-earned money. While it’s great that they cater to vegans (and gluten-free diets), they also serve Foie Gras on their menus. As someone who experiences cross contamination issues about 25% of the time when dining at omnivore establishments, I tend to opt for all-vegan places whenever possible.
So, the next 5 days in London will probably consist of me mentally (and quite possibly in blog format as well) converting all my purchases into how they compare to a vegan afternoon tea (or portion thereof).
Since I’m not yet in London and still waiting patiently at the boarding gate, I will begin this comparison by using the 75 pounds that I saved to go back to the Stanford Inn, look at llamas, enjoy their complimentary vegan tea, and order a vegan white russian during their happy hour.