I have always been (more than) a bit of a hopeless romantic at heart, often drawn towards great tales of love which often end in tragedy. As much as I enjoy fairytale ‘happily ever afters’, there is something rather beguiling about dark, tragic tales that pull at your heartstrings. All of us are of course familiar with the tale of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, and an apt theme for the afternoon tea at Swan at the Globe, a charming riverside restaurant located right next to Shakespeare’s Globe, a world-renowned theatrical space in London.
A traditional afternoon tea with an added theatrical twist, the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ afternoon tea is inspired by the beauty and lyricism of Shakespeare’s great romantic tragedy, a legendary tale which has undeniably withstood the test of time. We had the pleasure of being seated at the best table in the restaurant, with front row views of the River Thames and Southwark Bridge, as well as being a great spot for people-watching.
Going for the full luxury experience, we both decided to add a bit of sparkle to our afternoon tea with a glass of Deutz Rose NV Champagne. I often veer towards black teas and went for the Sapphire Earl Grey, a bright, refreshing blend of Ceylon tea, oil of Italian bergamot, and malva flowers.
The afternoon tea was served on a classic three-tiered silver stand, complimented by a bespoke set of crockery. We started from the bottom tier of savoury sandwiches:
Kentish corn fed coronation chicken with dried apricot, in a navette brioche bun
Scottish smoked salmon with citrus-spiked cream cheese and watercress on farmhouse bread
Clarence Court egg mayonnaise with peppery pea-shoots on fragrant lemon-scented bread
Wild mushroom tartlet with parsley
Refills were available upon request, and as much as I was tempted to order another round of sandwiches, I held myself back and settled for just an extra mushroom tartlet, so that I could save space for the rest of the afternoon tea treats.
The orange zest and orange blossom scones tasted as good as they looked; golden, well-risen, and had a lovely crunch on the outer crust whilst still remaining light and fluffy in the centre. Best enjoyed whilst they were still warm from the oven, they were served with classic accompaniments of Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Each of the sweet pastries were inspired by an act from the play and we were guided on the correct sequence to eat them in (although I might have accidentally gone rogue at some point):
A Rose By Any Other Name – a dainty choux eclair filled with a raspberry and lychee diplomat cream, infused with rose, inspired by Juliet’s musings on her love.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
Under A Medlar Tree – set cream topped with a lightly spiced pear and medlar compote, infused with subtle flavours of cardamom, ginger and vanilla. Served in a shot glass, it is inspired by Mercutio’s mirth at Romeo’s unrequited love for Rosaline.
“If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark. Now will he sit under a medlar tree.
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit”
My True Love’s Passion – a miniature passion fruit and caramel macaron with citrus notes, inspired by Juliet’s musings on her love from her balcony.
“My true love’s passion: therefore pardon me,And not impute this yielding to light love,Which the dark night hath so discovered.”
Such Sweet Sorrow – milk chocolate and toasted hazelnut tart with a touch of sea salt, as Juliet bids goodnight to her Romeo.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”
Thus With A Kiss – smooth dark chocolate mousse bite infused with peppermint and wormwood, with these word’s Romeo drinks the poison, kisses Juliet’s lips and dies.
“Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.”
The ‘final act’ of our afternoon tea was obviously much sweeter and less dramatic than Romeo’s exit – and with that I live to tell another afternoon tea tale (and many more)!
Afternoon Tea is served daily, Monday to Saturday from 12noon – 6pm, and Sunday from 12noon – 5pm. The afternoon on its own is priced at £32.50 per person, or £44.50 per person with a glass of Deutz Rose NV Champagne. Bookings can be made via Afternoontea.co.uk .
- My afternoon tea experience at Swan at the Globe was complimentary – views and photos are my own.