There’s a reason high tea is an English institute — it’s delightful, it’s decadent, and it’s incredibly delicious. It does, however, often come cream-covered with ham and salmon finger sandwiches, leaving plant-based-eaters and health-conscious foodies left to sit by as their friends indulge in delectable tea cakes and pastries while sipping on their preferred tea blend.
Well, no longer. Café Forty One, an all-vegan French pâtisserie at La Suite West, offers a unique, vegan high tea complete with plant-based clotted cream, raisin scones, and mouth-watering small bites.
From meatless fish and chips to vegan curry and plant-based pizza, London has practically every type of cuisine covered. So, it’s amazing that a fully-vegan French pâtisserie took so long, but now that it’s here, we’re certainly glad to have it.
The brains behind the operation is Clarisse Flon, a personal chef helping make plant-based eating easier than ever. Having grown up in France, she was passionate about food from a young age and perfected pastries early in life. In 2013, she went vegan for health reasons, and it was then that she started her first company The Sunny Spoon, which also happens to be a vegan French pâtisserie. Eventually, she went on to open, Café Forty One, a garden-to-plate concept crafting incredible morsels (like their homemade brioche French toast, light mushroom pie, and cheese platters) made with no butter or beef bourguignon in sight.
Since opening in 2018, the Hyde Park restaurant has become a go-to for vegan Londoners and out-of-towners, as well as meat-eaters and dairy-lovers that find themselves lured in by their tasty breakfast and lunch menus (and a stay the night at the boutique four-star hotel). And while we’re not ones to turn our noses up at a spot of avocado toast or a bowl of pesto gnocchi, the true standout at this healthy eatery is their Afternoon Tea, which easily rivals any non-vegan high tea in London.
We’ll start with the finger sandwiches, which include incredible creations like cashew cheese and pickle, pea and mint hummus, and tofu and cress. Of course, delicious pastries and cakes are aplenty, with no dry or sad-looking substitutes in sight. The menu changes weekly (all the more reason to stop by regularly) but with previous selections including options like a pistachio and rose pastry, pineapple cake, and lemon meringue tart, we’re sure you won’t leave disappointed.
Not only that, the restaurant is also free from alcohol, which means if you want to trade your tea blend for a piña colada mocktail, you can go right ahead. But if you want to keep it traditional, they also offer a selection of luxury loose-leaf teas.
Ready to experience an afternoon tea experience that dreams are made of? Then round up your crew, reserve a spot on their outdoor patio, and clear your schedule for the rest of the day, you're going to be here for awhile.