If you’re anything like me you’ll be a huge fan of afternoon tea. I’ve certainly had my fair share, having indulged at The Swan at Lavenham, The George in Rye, Hintlesham Hall and The Charlotte Street Hotel to name but a few. All of them were lovely but they tend to be more formal affairs that require booking.
Thankfully, at High Tea of Highgate you can wander in off the street and indulge in all manner of fancy treats without so much as a sniff of a booking. While they don’t offer afternoon tea per se, the beauty of this place is that you can mix and match sweet and savoury items from the menu and practically design your own (meaning nobody gets stuck with the Battenberg slice).
I’d suggest a table by the window if you decide to pop in. From here you can watch the glitterati of Highgate Hill wandering by. There’s a dog grooming salon up the road so there’s pampered pooches aplenty and Kate Moss is a regular (in Highgate, you understand, not the dog grooming salon).
On this occasion The Husband ordered a cheese and tomato toastie and I had scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The cafe also offers a wide range of cakes (some of which are gluten-free) and their own homemade granola.
The thing I really love about this place is its traditional yet relaxed feel. With its vintage china, homemade cakes and little nook by the fireplace you could easily convince yourself you’d popped in for a cuppa with grandma. Chances are, though, that your granny is unlikely to have such exotic taste in tea. The range on offer is staggering, with twenty hand-mixed blends to choose from including strawberry, almond, and autumnal apple, all of which you can buy to take home as well as drink in.
In addition to the tea and cake there’s a small range of homeware for sale. This combination of all my favourite things means I often burst in like a rabid monkey and have to be physically restrained by my companion. There’s pretty china, tea towels, candles and cake stands, all of which would make lovely gifts if you’re able to resist gathering them up by the armful and loudly declaring them as your own between mouthfuls of Victoria sponge.
The staff are lovely and have a relaxed but efficient approach. The oven was broken when we visited but they did their best to keep things running, offering alternatives to customers and apologising for the inconvenience.
So if you’re looking for something to do this weekend I’d recommend giving High Tea of Highgate a try. You can take a wander around the famous cemetery afterwards to burn off all those calories and then pop along to The Flask to put them all back on again. They wouldn’t put these places there if we weren’t meant to indulge so go along and do your duty. One whiff of the chocolate cake and I promise you won’t regret it…