And there I stood, at 160 Piccadilly in London eager to break from the tourist must do’s into the local’s must try’s. Stepping into the Wolseley felt grand with impressive columns, arches, stairs and a capaciousness of marble. There was a lot of black in the room, but the bright oversized windows and high ceiling supplied a pervading elegance to the room. The atmosphere was elegant and sophisticated. Its reputation as a place to see and be seen emanated from the electric buzz in the air. The open space is ideal for celebrity spotting and upon arrival all eyes are on you as tea drinkers take their eyes from their premium steeped tea to decipher if you are anyone worthy of a Snapchat.
I reserved over the internet a week in advance. The very accommodating staff greeted our table of five and promptly escorted us to a round table in the centre of the room. I ordered the full afternoon tea with the Wolseley afternoon blend as my preferred choice. My treats arrived beautifully presented on a three-tier silver server crowned with a polished cloche. Delicious finger sandwiches, pastries, and a pleasing slice of Battenburg. My family ordered the cream tea with perfectly crumbly fruit scones, appropriately accompanied by sweet homemade jam and clotted cream. We also tried the chocolate sandwich, which was oh so yummy (it was a favorite of mine). They have made tea into art.
About the building: designed in 1921 by architect William Curtis Green as a showroom for Wolseley Motors. The building was later bought and converted into a branch of Barclays Bank. In 2003, the building was restored and reopened as The Wolseley.
160 Piccadilly, London UK
Tel 020 7499-6996