Big Ben, London Bus and Afternoon Tea at The Howard – restaurant review

(This hotel has now closed)

Londoners love London. Tourists love London. It’s a city that is vibrant but with nooks of tranquillity, historic with a veneer of contemporary, a city for the young and young at heart. A magnet for families and couples. A dream destination for the discerning. And now London offers one more attraction to its raft of must-sees and must-dos: Afternoon Tea at The Howard.

The Howard tea

Visitors want an authentic London experience. A trip on the Underground (a good way to meet authentic Londoners). A ride in a black London cab (a good way to learn all about the state of the world in general and Oxford Street in particular and football results). A tour of famous sites (Big Ben is, in fact, the name of the bell inside the tower). Afternoon Tea.

Pretty much every nation has breakfast, lunch and dinner at traditional times but Britain has evolved a civilised pause from the day’s trials in the form of Afternoon Tea. This isn’t a variety of leaf akin to, say, Breakfast tea. No, dear reader, this is an event that is enjoying something of a well-deserved renaissance. This is a chance to unwind and to appreciate some pampering.

The Howard Hotel (part of the Swissôtel group) provides a classic teatime experience but with a special London twist. You’ll enjoy a selection of refreshing teas from the celebrated Twining’s tea company, finger sandwiches (this refers to the shape of the sandwich rather than the filling), scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of cakes and macaroons presented on a three-tier cake stand.

But the Howard offers a unique chance to eat London. Chef Brian Spark has pulled out all the culinary and artistic stops to present an array of London’s most iconic landmarks in edible form. Try a nibble of the right-hand corner of Saint Paul’s. A bite or two of the Crown Jewels would be welcome around 4pm, and you could even share Tower Bridge with your companion. The Temple Underground sign, a red post box, London cab, double-deck bus and the London Eye are also immortalised in sweet confection. These little treats are a delight to behold and even more delightful to eat. The ingredients are high quality and the execution of each cake, chocolate or cookie is quite masterful. These events are called TLSee, a pun on TLC – Tender Loving Care. A change in name but not in notion, this is Tea, London, Sightseeing.

RThe howard You’ll be looking for a quiet corner of charm and elegance to enjoy your refreshments. The Howard offers a lounge that boasts moulded plaster ceilings, a good amount of marble and comfy seats (you’ll want to linger). This isn’t a Victorian mausoleum but rather a contemporary take on the traditional city hotel.

Why not consider even just a day in London. Plan a walking tour of the city. Soak up the atmosphere of one of Europe’s finest destinations. Visit the famous buildings and then put your feet up in the comfort of The Howard (right next to Temple Underground station) for a memorable Afternoon Tea.

Monday to Friday – 1:00pm to 5:30pm
Saturday – 2:30pm to 7:00pm
Sunday – 2:30pm to 5:30pm
[This restaurant is now closed.]

Swissôtel The Howard
Temple Place


Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018