Andaz London for Afternoon Tea – restaurant review

Originally designed by Charles Barry and his son, Charles Edward Barry, the hotel opened in 1884, after ten years in construction.  It was extended in 1901 by Colonel Robert Edis. It’s this date that gives its name to the restaurant and wine bar.

Andaz bar The Great Eastern Hotel, for that was its original name, had its own dedicated railway tracks and sidings connecting to the adjacent Liverpool Street Station, which it used for provisioning the hotel. The London station at Liverpool Street was opened to traffic in 1874. Every large railway station had its hotel in Victorian times: they were very much like airport hotels of the 21st century and reflected the iconic style and opulence of those times.

The hotel was closed in the late 1990s while it underwent a seventy million pound renovation under joint owners Conran Holdings and Wyndham International, but the reconstruction retained its Victorian features such as the marble staircase. In 2006 the hotel once again changed hands and was bought by Global Hyatt Corporation and in September of 2007 the hotel was re-branded as the Andaz Hotel by Hyatt (‘andaz’ means personal service in Arabic).

1901 at Andaz Restaurant has an 80-seat capacity with plenty of space between tables. The high moulded ceiling and the striking stained-glass dome add still more to the light. A classic space retaining all the charm of the original turn-of-the-century (19th to 20th, that is) features, but the contemporary elements like the central dark marble console bar enhance rather than mar the impressive Victoriana. Set in what was once the Great Eastern Hotel’s ballroom, this magnificent Grade 2 listed room offers the best of another era.

It’s the Queen’s jubilee year so we took ‘The Diamond Queen’ afternoon tea at Andaz. It was one of the best teas I have had in London in months. It incorporated foods that reflected the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, acknowledging the England of the 1950s and the Coronation, but everything we ate reflected the dining fashion of the Britain of the third millennium.

Andaz cocktail We started our experience with the speciality cocktail of Earl grey tea stirred with Dubonnet, Bombay Sapphire gin and bitters. The Queen, like her mother before her, has Dubonnet as her tipple of choice, even though it’s not British. The fortified wine with herbs and quinine was invented in 1846 for a competition instigated by the French Government in order to find a way of encouraging French Legionnaires to drink bitter quinine to combat malaria. It soon became all the rage with those out of uniform as well. The Queen enjoys a Dubonnet and gin every day before lunch. The cocktail at Andaz was a delicate rose colour, refreshing and possibly addictive. A selection of sandwiches was served with that cocktail.

The afternoon tea presentation at Andaz is inspired. Yes, there are the traditional 3-tier stands but they are smaller than usual, the first stand bringing the savouries and the second the sweets. Very attractive, and this also has the advantage of allowing the tea-taker to enjoy fresh sandwiches to be nibbled in a leisurely fashion, without the fear that the cakes and scones are drying out on the other levels.

Coronation chicken on white bread was a take on a dish that was popular in 1953 when the Queen was crowned. It’s made of diced chicken bound with a Madras curry sauce or mayonnaise. Here it’s presented as a mounded open sandwich. A little taste of Anglo-India.

The Queen has always loved fishing so Andaz presents a cured trout sandwich with leek and onion marmalade. These were outstanding: a change from salmon, and the leek marmalade added sweetness and colour.

Andaz afternoon tea Mini sweetcorn fritters were a departure from the regular sandwich format but they were fluffy and delicious. There will be different sandwiches and fillings and savouries with the other themed teas, but I don’t doubt that they will all be good quality and inspired.

The next stand to arrive contained a selection of pastries. I was particularly pleased to see this display. The chef and managers have taken old-fashioned favourites and given them a twist. So many hotels and restaurants offer mousse-based desserts rather than pastries – delightful, but not traditional.

Scones with butter, clotted cream, jams and marmalade are the ones with which to start. Enjoy these while they are still warm. They are good enough to eat with just a schmeer of butter …although that rich thick cream is tempting and I am sure the fruit in the jam constitutes one of your 5-a-day.

Trifle is quintessentially English and here at Andaz it’s served layered in a port glass: fresh fruit, custard, cream and sponge. Then there’s the Millionaire shortbread for those in need of a rather smart chocolate and caramel fix. But you will have to pace yourself to take advantage of the top tier of miniatures. Iconic Victoria sponge, tiny carrot cakes, caramel éclairs, chocolate macaroons are all tempting and look almost too good to eat.

Andaz for afternoon tea ticks all the boxes. The restaurant is stunning, the ambiance is calming (as it should be for this event), the transport links are hard to beat. It’s ideal for ladies who don’t want simply to lunch, for those looking for a location for a classy business gathering, and for tourists who want to experience authenticity in a memorable setting. A winner.

Traditional English afternoon tea can be taken in 1901 Restaurant from Monday to Saturday from 3pm, with last sittings at 4.30pm.

Andaz logo Opening Hours
Monday – Friday
Breakfast: 07:00 – 10:00
Lunch: 12 noon – 14:30
Afternoon Tea: 15:00 – 17:00
Dinner: 18:30 – 22:00

Breakfast: 07:30 – 12 noon
Afternoon Tea: 15:00 – 17:00
Dinner: 18:30 – 22:00

Breakfast: 07:30 – 12 noon

Andaz Liverpool Street
40 Liverpool Street

Phone: +44 (0)20 7961 1234
Fax: +44 (0)20 7961 1235
Visit Andaz here


Read reviews of other Afternoon Teas here


Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018