Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea

Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination

If you’ve ever watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and wondered what it might be like to dive headfirst into Willy Wonka’s river of chocolate, One Aldwych can provide the answer.

The 5-star hotel has offered variations on its scrumdiddlyumptious themed afternoon tea (a chocolate spread, you could say) for a good three or four years now, and it remains as popular as ever. On Saturday afternoon we left the bustle of theatreland behind and stepped into the lobby, the film soundtrack playing faintly in the background as we were shown to our table.

A card at each place setting featured a character from the film on one side and the menu on the other. The list of drinks featured a chocolate tea alongside more standard English breakfast and Moroccan Mint, as well as Champagne and cocktails.

The Cocktail Charlie (whisky, cherry liqueur, chocolate bitters, grapefruit juice and cherry syrup, topped up with Champagne) won’t be to everyone’s taste but given that it’s presented – smoking enthusiastically thanks to dry ice – in a clear glass teapot, your table will be much improved by its presence.

Before getting to the sweet treats, you begin with the savouries; delicate slices of vegetable Wellington and golden mini quiches sit alongside rich Coronation chicken brioche roles and smoked salmon sandwiches.  The bakery basket follows. Warm scones served with berry jam, apple compote and clotted cream, blueberry brioche (a little disappointing) and the outstanding cocoa bean financier, with their crisp edges giving way to the most intense chocolate nut flavour.

The main event is presented on a custom-made wooden plinth; a medal winner’s podium of confectionary.

For me, the chocolate caramel milk and golden chocolate egg jointly took the top spot. The milk was silky rather than sickly and the egg, which was filled with dense vanilla cheesecake, was topped with a sharp mango coulis. The blackberry and apple Eton mess and lemon and white chocolate cake pops offered a delicate and refreshing break from the rich chocolate flavours, and guessing the flavour of the homemade candy floss was fun – the taste took me back to buying a quarter of a certain type of sweets (no spoilers here) on the way home from school.

Some two hours after arriving, we left clutching our bellies, waddling Oompah Loompah style towards the tube. If you’re a chocoholic, this could be kill or cure.

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