I’ve always liked The Counter at The Delaunay because they have some of the best viennoiserie around Covent Garden (particularly their almond croissants which I only get from there) and decent chicken schnitzel sarnies but I’ve never been to the main “grand European café‘ next door. My lovely friend P is expecting her first child so we thought we’d give her a nice little shower via afternoon tea there. It was the perfect excuse to wear tea dresses and indulge in cake!
Walking into the restaurant, I had a sudden urge to do a little Charleston jig. There was some sort of Great Gatsby-glamour about the place with its dark wooden panelling, its boxy masculine interiors, its marbled floors and in-the-mood-for-love lighting. I adored it.
After ooh-ing and ahh-ing over P’s 4D scans, we ooh-ed and ahh-ed over The Delaunay’s Viennese afternoon tea. Needless to say, we had lots of food on the table.
Let’s dissect the savouries first shall we? There’s smoked salmon on seeded rye, salt beef and cucumber pretzel, cream cheese viennese biscuits.
I started with the salt beef pretzel, which was pretty good except I wish they were a bit more generous with the beef (I get that it’s supposed to be a mini version, but ONE teensy weensy cut of beef? Come on…) The dill-crusted beetroot cured salmon was quite tasty and I was happy that the herb didn’t overpower the fish as I’m not too keen on dill. The viennese was a clear favourite though; it was cheesy, herby, puffy and just darn delicious.
On to the cakes. =)
We had some Austrian raspberry shortbread topped with caramelized nuts. I found this a bit too sweet for my liking. My friends P & H enjoyed the mini berry tart which I thought resembled a Linzertorte sans lattice crust top. It was a slightly tart tart and I was surprised to taste a bit of cheese inside. The clear winner for me on this round however is the sachertorte; it was rich, moist, bittersweet… exactly a lot like love. (Admittedly as it was chocolate I kinda knew I loved it before digging my fork into its very soul.)
The rosewater and almond battenberg looked as pretty as most battenberg cakes, but no one touched it as we were all quite averse to marzipan. I enjoyed the caramel glaze on the coffee and Stroh rum cake which P declared her favourite. The best one from this set for me though, is the pistachio and poppy seed cake. It was so good with the creme fraiche and lemon rind topping but it was illegally tiny!
It doesn’t stop there. Aside from the mini savoury sarnies and assortment of cakes you also get a choice of either poppy seed gugelhupf or scones. I initially wanted the gugelhupf but decided to go for scones the last second.
I’m SOOOOO glad I did. The scones were very, very, very good. As they were revealed from under the cloche, an awesome sense and smell of buttery warmth just spread around the table. They were freshly baked, firm and crumbly in all the right parts. I slathered mine with clotted cream and a bit of jam. Darn, darn, darn it. Nothing beats a good ole buttery scone.
After my first scone I had to pause for a bit as I realised we’ve eaten quite a lot! I took in the surroundings and I fell in love with the interiors more (the table cloths were a different story though). Service was very attentive and they scored three extra points for 1) offering P a cushion for comfort upon arrival, 2) constantly asking us if we wanted more hot water for our tea without being too intrusive/annoying, and 3) the head server allowed us to take photos and even took photos of us himself.
I wouldn’t say it was the best afternoon tea in town, but I think for what you’re paying it’s actually pretty decent and very, very reasonable. My goal next time though is to actually have brunch here and try one of their schnitzels. Or something I can’t pronounce.
55 Aldwych, London, WC2B | T: +44 (0)207 499 8558
Viennese Afternoon Tea: £24 (they do champagne tea for £33)