The Ivy Asia London Afternoon Tea review
Afternoon tea reviews,  Reviews

The Ivy Asia London Afternoon Tea Review

Our Ivy Asia afternoon tea review will show you that it’s possible to find a delicious Asian-inspired afternoon tea in London.

If you’ve ever tried to get an afternoon tea abroad, you might find that many places put their own, locally-inspired twist on the tradition. For example, Keri’s favourite ever afternoon tea is still the Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea at Clifford Pier.

However, if you’d rather not journey so far, you can still get a delicious Asian-style afternoon tea in little old London. 

Picture this: You’re sitting in the corner of a restaurant, the June afternoon sun beaming down on you. As you sip on a glass of champagne and admire the luxurious interior design, the servers bring out trays of food, dry ice pouring out of the top. Bliss.

The Ivy Asia St Pauls

Fortunately for us, this was our experience at The Ivy Asia St Pauls. [Side note, make sure you book – and arrive – at the correct restaurant as there are three Ivy Asia’s in London: The Ivy Asia Chelsea, Mayfair and, of course, St Pauls.]

As we’ve come to expect from the Ivy, having also enjoyed afternoon tea at The Ivy Bristol and The Ivy Bath, the restaurant had a beautiful maximalist interior, with gold cutlery, bejewelled napkin holders (engraved with ‘stolen from the Ivy Asia’) and elaborate chandeliers and statues.

We did notice that it was somewhat of a cultural mish-mash though: the continent of Asia as seen through a very white and very instagrammable lens. Oh, and ‘Asia’ really just means India, China, and Japan – we couldn’t really see any trace of the other 45 countries in Asia at all.

We were seated at a window table right in front of St Paul’s Cathedral, and after an uncharacteristically long wait for an Ivy, we were served our teas in authentic cast iron teapots. 

Although by their own admission they did forget about our table initially, once they’d taken our orders the service was pretty good, and everyone was friendly and very helpful, especially considering the awkward dietary requirements we thrust upon them [two vegetarians and one half sticking to their Low Fodmap diet…].

Between the three of us, we ordered the lemongrass and ginger tea, the jasmine silver needle white tea and the red dragon black tea. They were all pleasant, though we did find they needed to steep for quite a while to get the fullness of the flavours. Our favourite was the red dragon; it had light fruity tones and notes of yummy chocolate.

Afternoon Tea at The Ivy Asia

Our food was beautifully presented, delivered in three-tiered stacked deep dishes with dry ice pouring out of the top. In the savoury tiers we had vegetable gyozas, dumplings with spicy sauce and spicy avocado maki rolls. 

The gyozas were pretty standard, nice but nothing too impressive, and the vegetable dumplings were very tasty. We weren’t exactly clear what vegetables were in either though, nor what sauce we had. 

The avocado rolls were delicious, creamy and with a light spice that was noticeable but not too overpowering.

The meat-eater among us enjoyed some delicious aromatic duck spring rolls and our waiter was kind enough to let us tweek the menu to suit our tastes, replacing the salmon, cream cheese and cucumber maki rolls with prawn tempura maki rolls.

Interesting Asian Desserts

The desserts went down very well too. First up was a mini chocolate samurai, which was a chocolate crumb topping over an indulgent, creamy chocolate filling. It was nice, though we had a hard time figuring out why it was called a ‘samurai.’ 

Sticking with the chocolate theme, our next dish was a rich, truffle-like dessert which went down a treat.

Finally we had passionfruit and coconut doughnuts which frankly, were the stars of the show. None of us were really expecting to like them, but we were all pleasantly surprised. Crispy on the outside and clearly made fresh, we all found ourselves wanting more; they almost made up for the lack of scones!

The frozen mochi were a refreshing end to the meal in mango, coconut and vanilla. 

Personally though I’m not sure if the texture of mochi really lends itself to being frozen, so I’ll stick to room temperature from now on – I think they would’ve been just as delicious, and probably less messy.

Our thoughts on afternoon tea at The Ivy Asia St Pauls

The only issue we encountered at The Ivy Asia was the music. It was definitely too loud for us, and it did feel a little discordant having live DJing at an afternoon tea. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do if you’d rather avoid this, as the St Paul’s Ivy Asia has live DJ sessions every evening and at the weekends.

Still, our afternoon tea was pretty affordable for a Sunday in London, and definitely enjoyable. 

If you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill strawberry jam and coronation chicken affair, you won’t find much of that here. But if you can accept trading your clotted cream for mochi and your finger sandwiches for dumplings, you’ll find yourself sampling a tasty and truly quirky afternoon tea. 

So if you’re after a modern Asian take on a traditional afternoon tea, you can’t go too far wrong with this restaurant.

We recommend booking your table at least a week in advance, as it was quite busy – but at £36 per person for an afternoon tea with champagne that’s not really a surprise.

We’d also advise that the Ivy Asia menu we were given there differs slightly to the one available to view online, so if you have any specific dietary requirements you might consider getting in touch ahead of your visit.

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