My friend Larni and I are going to New York in a mere five weeks for six days of fabulousness and we have been doing a lot of shopping to prepare for our Big Apple wardrobe, a lot! A recent West End retail jaunt on a Sunday was completed by taking in a pre-arranged vegetarian afternoon tea at Hix Restaurant & Champagne Bar at Selfridges.
We planned our shopping trip to finish up in Selfridges and then relax over tea and cake and as I’m not a vegetarian, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy a selection of savouries minus the meat, but I needn’t have worried as it was all very appetising.
We each got our own stand filled with treats and at the price of £21.50 per person, it represented really good value for money. There was a good selection of teas to choose from, although Larni and I are not the most sophisticated when it comes to our tea and just opted for an ordinary breakfast blend. I was a little disappointed that we were presented with chipped tea pots that I felt should have been replaced, but this was the only down point we noticed at Hix.
The savouries included finger sandwiches with a duck-egg mayonnaise, Larni really enjoyed these but I bypassed as I don’t enjoy eggs unless they are baked into a cake. We also each had a naughty but nice mini cheese toastie which was lovely and it was nice to have a little hot savoury alongside the other cold options.
The other two savouries included a tomato crostini topped with a sliver of hard cheese – not the most creative, but certainly tasty. And finally, my favourite - a little sourdough toast topped with delicious homemade guacamole – wonderful.
Onto the sweets, the most exciting part of the tea – five portions of utter deliciousness. Firstly we each had half of a plain and a fruit scone topped with the obligatory clotted cream and some strawberry jam. The scones were cooked perfectly with the perfect balance of sweet and savoury and were offset beautifully with the accompaniments, they were, for me a very welcome introduction into the sweet coma I was about to enter.
We had been advised to eat one of the treats quickly – this was basically the equivalent of a fancy Tunnocks Teacake but with a twist. It had a biscuit base, was filled with a glorious pistachio ice cream and then encased with delicious dark chocolate and then finished with some sweetened pistachio shards. Unusual but divine and great to have something I’ve never encountered when having afternoon tea elsewhere before.
We had a mini lemon meringue pie too which was equally impressive. The pies were tiny little pastry confections filled with a rather fluid citrus centre, only a couple of bites to eat, but the kind of bites where you really savour the flavour. The meringue topping was OK as a contrast in texture but was a little bland.
The final confection was the finale for both Larni and myself, and what a showstopper. A rather perfectly portioned wedge of rich chocolate cake, that was moist, unctuous and almost gooey in texture, with a gorgeous flavour of chocolate and topped with a silky chocolate ganache. This is the type of cake that usually I would have a dollop of cream with, but you just didn’t need it, it was pure poetry on a plate – perfection.
Service was perfectly polite at Hix and we were seated with a view down onto the ground floor of Selfridges which was great for people watching and there’s nothing better than enjoying an indulgent afternoon tea at your own, slow pace whilst watching the world frantically go by.