Tea-Tox afternoon tea is a healthy version of the award-winning Traditional Afternoon Tea and includes open sandwiches, hummous and crudites, and sugar-free cakes and fancies.
The English Tea Room at Brown's Hotel in London is steeped in history. (Brown's was London's first ever hotel.) This is a wonderful location to enjoy afternoon tea.
For more afternoon tea reviews see: Best Afternoon Tea in London.
Afternoon Tea Information
Venue: English Tea Room, Brown's Hotel.
Days and Times: Daily: 12pm midday to 7.30pm.
Cost: From £50 approx. per person.
Dress Code: Smart casual.
Reservations: Reservations should be pre-booked by calling 020 7518 4006 and online.
Room Size: The English Tea Room can seat up to 75 people.
Children: Children are welcome.
Music: Relaxing music comes from the Baby Grand piano played in the English Tea Room.
About Brown's Hotel
Set in the heart of Mayfair on Albemarle Street, Brown's was the first ever hotel to open in London. James Brown and his wife Sarah - a couple who had formerly been valet and maid to Lord and Lady Byron - established their hotel for 'genteel folk' in 1837. It was purchased by the Ford family in 1859 who added the first public dining room in London.
Alexander Graham Bell visited Brown's Hotel towards the end of 1876 and made the first successful UK telephone call from the hotel.
American Presidents Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt stayed here, as did Winston Churchill and other high profile guests.
Brown's joined The Rocco Forte Collection of luxury hotels in 2003 and underwent a £24 million restoration in 2005.
Brown's is composed of 11 Georgian town houses, and all 117 bedrooms (including 29 luxurious suites) have been individually designed.
As well as luxurious accommodation, Brown's Hotel has The Albemarle Restaurant, The Donovan Bar, a relaxing spa, plus The English Tea Room which has become a British institution.
Tea-Tox - What To Expect
This is still an indulgent afternoon tea, just without the high sugar and fat levels. It is served on silver tiered cake stands, and you can partake of these delights without feeling too naughty. This was the menu when I visited to review but it does change regularly so consider this just an idea of what's on offer.
- Apple and cucumber jelly (100% pure apple juice, cucumber and gelatine)
- Blueberries and lemon cream served in a chocolate cup (blueberries, lemon, low-fat crème fraîche and sugar-free Xoxoline chocolate)
- Carrot seed cake (eggs, sugar-free xylitol, ground almond, potato flour, carrot, baking powder, cinnamon, sultanas, olive oil, sunflower and pumpkin seeds)
- Orange cake with yogurt topping (orange, sugar-free xylitol, eggs, ground almond, low fat yogurt, low fat crème fraîche, lemon, honey and gelatine)
- Raspberry sorbet (raspberries and sugar-free xylitol)
- A selection of freshly prepared open sandwiches:
- Dark rye bread with smoked salmon and low-fat crème fraîche
- Spelt bread with sliced egg whites and cress
- Bran bread with sliced cucumber
- Gluten free cracker with mackerel pate
Hummous (chickpeas, garlic, lemon, coriander, olive oil and water) and crudites
Alongside a selection of different teas and herbal infusions including whole peppermint leaf, fresh ginger, chamomile, along with a blend of silver needle and rose.
Afternoon Tea Review
I had to try a slight variation of the Tea-Tox as I'm vegetarian but my companion tried all that's listed above.
- Unusual to have a 'healthy' option for afternoon tea
- Lovely venue
- Impeccable service
- Open sandwiches can get dry quickly
- No scones
I tried the Silver Needle and rosebud that has been suggested to accompany the Tea-Tox. I also had a second pot of Silver Needle without the roses as I love this white tea so much.
My companion enthused about the Oriental Beauty Oolong which she felt was perfect too.
The Cake Stand
The 'wow factor' of any afternoon tea visit is the arrival of the tiered cake stand and this is not diminished by the fact the contents are not 'full-fat'. The open sandwiches need to be eaten quite quickly as they can become dry but there is a generous topping of smoked salmon so don't be put off.
Instead of scones, the middle tier of the stand had hummous and crudites (vegetable sticks) but quite a small serving. The good news is almost immediately you are offered more of anything on the stand so don't be shy.
The potato flour carrot cake was a little dry but you have plenty of tea to drink with it. The raspberry sorbet is brought to your table when you reach the desserts layer and it is simply yummy, as is the orange cake.
I'll be honest and say we did ask to try one of the award-winning scones as it just didn't seem right to visit Brown's and not partake. And we did ask for more sandwiches, hummous, and desserts but let's not see it as 'not filling' but as a good thing as if it wasn't good we wouldn't have wanted more. A great choice for a light afternoon tea.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.