Afternoon Tea


Amidst the palpable excitement of the King’s Coronation, thousands of people across the nation are indulging in Afternoon Tea.

This culinary tradition started in the 19th century when the British aristocracy had a habit of eating only two meals a day: breakfast and dinner.

The Duchess of Bedford, who was a close friend of Queen Victoria, found herself getting hungry in the late afternoon. She decided to invite some friends over for tea and snacks to alleviate her hunger pangs.

The idea caught on, and soon Afternoon Tea became quite the fashionable social event. The menu included tea, sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of cakes and pastries. The ritual of drinking tea with milk and sugar, served in fine bone china cups, became a symbol of British culture the world over.

Fast forward to 2023 and Afternoon Tea remains a highly popular tradition, not only in Britain, but also in many parts of the world. Hotels and restaurants around the globe offer their take on this classic ritual, with various themes and creative twists.

One such example of this is the music-themed Afternoon Tea at the Middle Eight hotel in London’s Covent Garden in the heart of the city within walking distance to theatre land.

Their Covent Garden Crescendo menu is a delectable fusion of music teemed with delicious treats. All dietary requirements are catered for, although it’s best to give the hotel as much notice where possible in order to accommodate.

Music-themed Afternoon Tea at the Middle Eight hotel in Covent Garden
Music-themed Afternoon Tea at the Middle Eight hotel in Covent Garden

Served on an elegant serving tray, guests can enjoy a selection of sandwiches which includes the highly fashionable ‘Coronation Chicken’ which comes with a subtle yet tasty cured herby mayonnaise, grilled vegetable sandwiches which has a layer of hummus, and a dill-infused smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich. There’s also a herby sausage roll for meat eaters.

For those hankering after something sweeter, there’s a fantastic selection of sweet treats all of which are music themed. We absolutely adored ‘To the Best’ – a cloud-light lemon meringue tart with sweet lemon cream which was lighter than air and had a real kick to it.

Music-themed Afternoon Tea at the Middle Eight hotel in Covent Garden
Music-themed Afternoon Tea at the Middle Eight hotel in Covent Garden

‘Strike a Chord’ with its sweet centre of fresh raspberries sits atop a moist almond cake and is topped with a raspberry coulis and gold leaf.

One particular standout is the tangy ‘Blood Orange Opera’ paying homage to the music that surrounds the hotel. With layers of blood orange jelly, this moreish moresel also has citrus pannecotta which gives a sharp yet sweet taste that is unforgettable.

Music-themed Afternoon Tea at the Middle Eight hotel in Covent Garden
Music-themed Afternoon Tea at the Middle Eight hotel in Covent Garden

From the pistachio macarons with a dynamic treble clef emblazoned across the vibrant green disc filled with a buttercream to the nutty ‘Hazelnut Harmony’ choux delight, there’s truly something for everyone when it comes to the Middle Eight Afternoon Tea.

Can you really say you have had Afternoon Tea without indulging in a scone or two? Whether you pronounce it to rhyme with ‘bone’ or ‘gone’, you will love the vanilla and fruit scones that are topped with jam and clotted cream.

Whether you choose to team it with a glass of fizz or a cup of tea of which you can choose from traditional blends like Earl Grey, Lapsang and Darjeeling, or something a smidge more unusual like the intriguing Covent Garden blend which combines peppermint, black tea and blue cornflowers to create a full-bodied and slightly sweet yet spicy tea, your beverage of choice will elevate your Afternoon Tea to the next level.

As Alice Walker says ‘Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors’, whilst there isn’t much in the way of music weaved into the decor which is a little bit surprising, the room where you take the tea is light and stylish with an abundance of books everywhere and the staff are polite, efficient and friendly.

If you love music and feel that an Afternoon Tea is hard to beat, then head on over to the Middle Eight hotel in Covent Garden and enjoy a sweet symphony of treats!

£45 per person or £55 per person with a glass of Prosecco.

The King’s Coronation sees pomp, pageantry and of course afternoon teas come to the streets of London. Start the Bank Holiday off right with these selections of scones and sparkling wine and raise a glass to the next monarch…


To mark the King’s Coronation, The Langham, London will be suitably decorated with Union Jack flags and bunting, while guests will be able to indulge in special celebratory food and drink for the occasion, and even enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides around Regent’s Park from the hotel.

The Langham’s Fit For A King afternoon tea will be served in Palm Court, 3–8 May. For £75pp guests will be able to sample delicacies inspired by Royal favourites, including delicate finger sandwiches featuring Scottish smoked salmon, Coronation chicken, and Classic cucumber, cream cheese and chives. These will be followed by a Westcombe cheddar scone with tomato chutney, traditional sweet scones, and traditional desserts such as sherry trifle and Victoria sponge reimagined into contemporary pastries.

Also in Palm Court, there will be a cocktail incorporating the King’s favourite Laphroaig whisky with Chambord, pineapple and lemon (£18). Meanwhile, in The Langham’s traditional British pub, The Wigmore, guests will be able to raise a glass to the King with the Take This Waltz Coronation cocktail (£14), inspired by a classic English milk punch and named after the King’s favourite song by Leonard Cohen. The Coronation cocktails will be available until 8 May. 


Celebrate King Charles III’s Coronation with your furry friend by your side at Gaucho Hampstead’s Coronation Garden Pawty, taking place on 7 May. Promising both pet and owner a royally good afternoon, treat your pooch to a complimentary canine afternoon tea fit for a king, with dog-friendly delights including pupcakes, mini quiches, and a pupaccino, served on Gaucho’s terrace from 11.30am to 12.30pm.

While your dog enjoys their afternoon tea, indulge in the ultimate Sunday Roast with a choice of three perfectly cooked cuts of meat, lashings of gravy, crispy roast potatoes and unlimited seasonal vegetables. Or, take your pick from the delicious array of Argentine dishes on the à la carte menu – think sea bass ceviche, ecreto iberico with Malbec jam; and a starring selection of sustainable steaks.


Connaught Village, just minutes from Oxford Street and Marble Arch, will be celebrating King Charles III’s Coronation in style with all the independent retailers transforming their windows into the most spectacular displays reflecting the campaign ‘Crown & Glory’ on 6 May. The village will transform into a royal spectacle with union jack bunting decorating the streets to royal neon tree art and activities such as children’s royal crown-making workshops and floral crown-making workshop sessions for the adults. Sprezzatura will create a window display centred around portraits of His Majesty the King and The Queen Consort. 

Royal Lancaster London are offering a package which includes a stay, Coronation afternoon tea, and two Coronation cocktails until 9 May. Simon Carter will display a Coronation themed window featuring their crown cufflinks and lots of red, white and blue clothing and accessories. The Stablehand will be running a special cocktail for the King’s Coronation using only English ingredients – fittingly called ‘The King Charles’.

Shad Thames has been the location of choice for romantic diners wanting the iconic Tower Bridge as a backdrop to their gastronomic feast. Coco Grill & Lounge fits the bill with an expansive shisha garden terrace filled with sumptuous floral decorations. The chic interiors also deliver on the premium experience front with faux orchard trees, lush velvet banquettes and mood lighting fit for a Hollywood film set. But is it all style over substance you might ask? The answer is a definitive no.

The menu is halal-friendly, and vegetarian-friendly with allergens clearly labelled. It is expansive, so if one of your guests isn’t in the mood for Anatolian cuisine, they can for a comforting plate of vegan ‘meatball’ pasta instead. You can also enjoy slow-cooked duck tacos marinated with a hoisin sauce. A highlight of the restaurant is its redemption cocktail bar menu. All the drinks are alcohol-free and they’ve worked with the best connoisseurs in the business to deliver an exceptional offering. For the classic 1920s cocktail, Bees Knee’s, they’ve only used the finest ingredients such as Sicilian lemon along with floral honey to make for a welcoming aperitif. The garnishes often include floral decorations in line with the restaurant interiors. There are zero-alcohol wines, classic mocktails and milkshakes and I would not be surprised to discover, they have the most inventive alcohol-free menu in London.

The eye-catcher on the menu is their 35-day aged Tomahawk steak served with truffle Parmigiano mayo with the option to wrap it in gold for £50. This pairs with their Espora 24k Gold Champagne (de-alcoholised), which contains 24-karat gold flakes. They are not items I would personally order normally, but you can appreciate they are targeting the Salt Bae audience.

The less flashy dishes had greater appeal with the silky, smooth black cod a particular highlight. It was well-marinated with kaffir lime and miso and cooked delicately so the freshness was retained with the flavours well-infused. Their incarnation of the dish is arguably superior to the original served up at Nobu. Mixed Coco Shish is always a moreish crowd-pleaser. Their version consists of marinated lamb and chicken served with tzatziki and chilli sauce. It is elegantly presented with Tetris-like neatness, unlike versions you’ll see in more casual establishments where you’re often presented with an Everest of indiscernible meat. Their main course portion sizes tend to be more restrained which is ideal if you want to pair it with side dishes and enjoy a dessert. For an indulgent treat, opt for their messy wedges. The potatoes are topped with caramelised mushrooms, sriracha mayo, turkey bacon and spring onions and topped with copious amounts of Gruyère.

Presentation is everything at Coco Grill & Lounge. You’ll often see the use of dry ice to deliver a more impactful presentation such as their crispy spiced shrimp starter. But even if you take away the edible flowers, and the mysterious smoke, the quality of the ingredients genuinely shines through. For example, with their cheese and spinach pide, they only use baby spinach as they are more tender and the finest of Mozzarella cheese.

We didn’t have any stomach space left during our visit for dessert but we are looking forward to returning soon and trying their signature Turkish baklava and the underrated Kunafa. It is a baked kataifi pastry filled with cheese and topped with vanilla. It does take 20 minutes to prepare so do order before you’ve finished your main courses.

There is a special group of hotels that I hold dear to my heart. They have the unique skill  of evoking two emotions when you enter, the first  being sheer glee – where I momentarily become the heart-eyed emoji as I try and take everything in, the second being fear – fear that I only have an finite amount of time here and how am I possibly going to experience everything it has to offer and not only that, how am I going to drag myself out of it to explore the surrounding city when it is THIS beautiful? The Oyster Box is now firmly residing within this special group of hotels.

Greeted by an army of porters and the resident cat, Skabenga (who clearly is as enamored with the food as I was soon to be), we entered through the iconic revolving doors, a feature kept from the original 1954 hotel, all hardwood and polished brass. Stepping into the main lobby feels like stepping back in time – laden with antiquites and specially curated artwork showcasing local KwaZulu artists, marble floors, an enormous welcome desk lined with staff falling over themselves to ensure you have the most enjoyable of stays – I knew I was going to be very happy here.

Sitting behind the lobby are the hotel’s three restaurants, the first is the slightly less formal Ocean Terrace, which funnily enough has a terrace overlooking the ocean, has the most exquisite breakfasts I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating – tables heaving with every offering you could imagine plus a pancake station, omelette station, oyster bar and an a la carte menu. The Ocean Terrace also offers informal all day dining and the infamous curry buffet – more on that later. The Palm Court takes the central space of the hotel with an open lounge allowing guests to voyeuristically watch diners enjoy the hotel’s afternoon tea, noted as one of South Africa’s best, it is the epitome of refined opulence. A piano player provides a delicate soundtrack that fills the hotel. Across the walkway from here is The Grill Room which offers authentic Gueridon service – unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to eat here due to time constraints but from what I could see, it looked sensational.

After I had popped my eye balls back into their sockets, I followed the porter to my room – advice here would be to always follow a porter – once past the main restaurants the hotel becomes a labyrinth of staircases that seem to lead to nowhere and everywhere all at the same time, I am 99% sure they were the inspiration for the moving staircases in Harry Potter. Jungle like gardens with paths woven through them, water features carving out hidden passages, it is quite the maze but one I would happily get lost in. Arriving at my room, we entered through what looked like a numbered garden gate into a private terrace complete with plunge pool, sun loungers and my own personal jungle. I could have parked up here and been perfectly happy but the porter pressed forward and opened the door to my room. I should correct myself here, it wasn’t a room. It was a space bigger than my two bedroom Suffolk house. Not only had my poor eyeballs popped from their sockets moments earlier but now my jaw had unlodged itself and fallen to the floor. The ground floor of the suite offers day beds, writing desks, buttery leather sofas and armchairs that hug you as you fall into them. The interiors are so exquisitely designed – each room is individually curated – I was beside myself playing with writing boxes, taking in the artwork and becoming the fairest of ladies. Upstairs saw another huge desk (this really is the place to pen that novel), king size bed, balcony overlooking the private terrace and ensuite complete with monsoon shower and very large tub.

A quick turn around, a donning of finest dress and I was ready for the Curry Buffet. Full disclosure, I was not looking forward to this. The word buffet always makes me a little nervous, throw the word curry into the mix and I was envisaging a full Bridget Jones curried turkey situation. How wrong I was. There was a minimum of eleven curries including meat, fish and veggie and showcasing flavours from Singapore, India and traditional Durban cuisine. Piles of steaming naan breads and parathas, homemade poppadoms and more pickles, chutneys and raitas that I didn’t even know existed, every single dish was exquisite. And yes, I did go back to load my plate more times than Henry Higgins would have probably deemed acceptable. Zero regrets.

Following dinner, I went on a tour of the hotel’s bars. Starting my expedition at The Oyster Bar, sitting beneath an installation of whirring antique fans, sipping a glass of champagne at the marble counter whilst taking in the view of the ocean, sated on curry and carbs. Beneath a glass floor allowing a look into the wine cellar which is also available for private tastings. From here, upwards to the top floor and The Lighthouse Bar – a huge roof terrace taking in views of the lighthouse, just perfect whilst quaffing one of the signature cocktails. My last stop, the Chukka Bar, is a sports bar / smoking bar – this wasn’t the place for me. A heady aroma of cigar smoke and alpha male pheromones saw me slowly retreat to the safety of my oversized bed. I did appreciate the polo memorabilia though. And so I began my quest back to  my room, of course I got lost but it worked out well as I stumbled into one of the most beautiful libraries I have ever seen. Floor to ceiling shelves of early editions of Rudyard Kipling and Dickens, historic Zulu books and everything in between. Leather chairs and end tables offering themselves up to discerning readers. Desks filled with headed paper inviting guests to write to their loved ones back home, a gramophone complete with records and of course, floor to ceiling windows taking in that ever-looming lighthouse.

The following day, after the dreamiest night’s sleep, I explored the spa which prides itself on treatments using ingredients and practices native to KwaZulu-Natal. The signature massage which starts with a foot cleansing and the opportunity to choose your own crystals and aromatherapy was one of the best I have had. After I had been rubbed within an inch of my life I headed upstairs to the relaxation room complete with herbal teas and healthy snacks and a jacuzzi area flanked in marble and huge artworks giving the space an almost church like quality.

From here, on to the afternoon tea of which I had heard so much about and for good reason. Being at The Oyster Box is like living through all your favourite stories and I was on to the Alice in Wonderland portion of my stay. Teapots that seemed to float and pour streams of flowers onto the table, cake stands full of dainty pastries, french patisserie and finger sandwiches. Huge cakes begging to be sliced up and served next to scones and tartlets. I had honestly never seen anything like it, a mirage of pastels and pops of bold colours. The clinking of silver cake slices and champagne glasses danced over the grand piano.

The hotel has two large pools, one hidden amongst the central garden and the iconic sea view pool that perches above the Indian ocean allowing swimmers and sunbathers vistas over the crashing waves and the red and white lighthouse, the design of which has influenced the colour palette of loungers, parasols and textiles – a sea of red and white stripes pop against the turquoise water. From here there are steps that lead directly to the beachfront where you can walk down to the ocean or perhaps take a pew on the pier and watch the world go by.

The Oyster Box is truly one in a million, boasting the rich and famous as guests but also offering a friendly welcome to locals, regulars and tourists, it is easy to see why this magnificent hotel has become one of Durban’s most loved residences.

From ZAR 9,380 (£457 approx.) for a Classic Garden Facing Room per room per night on a B&B basis.

Phileas Fogg famously attempted to circumnavigate the world in 80 Days in Jules Verne’s literary classic. The Kensington Hotel has cleverly reimagined this challenge as an enchanting afternoon tea. The bold and ambitious east-meets- west culinary inspired journey starts in London, transports you to Paris, whizzes you to Rome and carries you to Cairo all within the charming drawing room of the stately 19th century building that it calls home.

The adventure begins as soon as you walk up to the grand, stucco-fronted townhouse, which is but a stone’s throw away from iconic Kensington delights like The V&A, Natural History and Science Museum and Kensington Gardens. You’ll swoon at the Victorian splendor as the warm and attentive staff usher you through the foyer and bar into the utterly delightful drawing room that expertly straddles old school grandeur and modern sensibilities. It’s an impeccable setting which feels utterly luxurious yet incredibly relaxed. The original artwork and clever use of vibrant colour creates a space that feels very individual yet welcoming.

A crisp, chilled glass of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut NV gets things going and the entree savories set the scene, with an audacious classic beef and gravy pie with puff pastry top signaling that this is afternoon tea but not as you’ve had it before. The Ta’meya with tahini aioli is an elevated take on falafel, all moorish deliciousness that will have you demolishing it in 2 bites and yearning for more. Parisian and Roman influence collide beautifully in the parmesan gourgier, a kind of savoury cousin to profiterole in both looks and texture, albeit filled with a marvelous tomato cream instead of chocolate..

The sandwiches are faultless. The lemon and chive cream cheese adds a liveliness to the smoked salmon sandwich. The cheese in the tricolore inspired sundried tomato, green pesto and mozzarella sandwich is springy perfection that will have you wanting to say mama mia. But the star of the show is the Cairo- an inventive creation that combines cumin hummus and caramelized onions.

The Chef doesn’t hold back with the patisserie selection. Banoffee pie never looked so boojie in the artistic dome shaped creation in which it’s presented, with a solid white chocolate quill for added flourish. You’ll delight in the oozy, rich, creamy tiramisu and if you prefer a less sugary option then the raspberry, rose and pistachio twirl is sure to please. The Paris opera montblanc is the sophisticated creation that is probably best described as the love child of cheesecake and millefeuille, a light and airy pudding with just the right amount of tartness.

The wide selection of teas from the handcrafted English breakfast to the interesting herbal infusions all help to wash down the impressive food selection. The scones that come last bring everything back to classic English tea and grounds the whole experience in a deeply satisfying way. What a journey it is, classic and impeccable but all with an irrepressible sense of fun, its afternoon tea at its absolute best.

The tea is priced at £58 per person, book here to make a a reservation

Here at House of Coco we’re champions of women doing it for themselves. Whether that’s building a business of their dreams, living life on their terms or dining solo. Ok, so the latter might be a little less obvious than the others but for some, dining solo is up there with their fear of dying. Luckily for our Bossbabe Gina Buckney, she’s often frequenting the best places to work, eat and sleep solo and recently we sent her to the Four Seasons Hotel at London Park Lane to do just that. She indulged in their latest experiences, here’s how it went….

The Negroni Experience

Stepping into the Amaranto Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, is like the kind of meeting place you only ever see on films – smart and sophisticated, but a little bit mysterious. The whole bar is black and red, with Tudor paintings flanking the back bar (an impressive selection, may we add) and bottles of vintages behind thick shiny glass, furnishing the walls.

The Bar Manager and expert Mixologist Ivan Arena is presenting the Amaranto Bar’s latest offering – a personalised guest drinks experience. A vintage suitcase transforms into a Negroni Trolley, offering six different house-blended vermouths and cocktails, inspired by Ivan’s world travels. Perfectly showcasing his love of classic drinks mixed with fresh twists on iconic cocktails, each negroni cocktail is created with artistry, driven by taste and personalised for each guest. A must-try? The Smoke Signal, an innovative rift on a classic Negroni.

Afternoon Tea

Is there anything quite as quintessentially British as having afternoon tea? No. Is there anywhere more quintessentially British to take your afternoon tea than in the heart of Mayfair? Also no.

And is there anywhere better to take afternoon tea than the Four Seasons? You guessed it, no.

The Amaranto Lounge’s plush surroundings in the iconic Park Lane setting provide the perfect backdrop to your afternoon, with grand decor and floor-to-ceiling windows.

But let’s talk food. Delicate finger sandwiches (no crusts, of course) with fillings like Cornish crab with granny smith apple, brown crab mayonnaise and a brioche bun; or corn-fed chicken, tarragon and watercress. Fresh baked scones are served piled high with strawberry and basil jam with Devonshire clotted cream (which one first? Let’s not start that one).

The pastries are a true piéce de resistance – they even have a strawberry and champagne caviar tartlet – can you get more elegant than that? Served with pineapple, coconut, and lemongrass delice; along with classic cakes like strawberry and lemon Battenberg, all washed down with a glass of Champagne. Or of course you could go for the namesake, tea. They have choices of tea from JING – who source only the most exceptional teas from Asia for the most sophisticated and discerning guests across the world. The savoury and sweet dishes are lovingly created by newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef, Yam Lok Hin and if you want to get excited about what else is on offer, you can find the new menu here.

The seasonal afternoon tea can be enjoyed daily from £58 per person and quite frankly, it’s worth every penny.

What’s on

If brunch is more your thing, then the new Sunday Brunch, which is now running every Sunday from 12pm-3pm, should be right at the top of your to do list. Taking place in the Amaranto Restaurant, you’ll be spoiled with new signature brunch dishes, vintage champagne and a new espresso negroni cocktail available exclusively at brunch. If that’s not enough, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is currently partnering with chef Carlo Scotto on a one-month residency (until 30th April) to showcase his experimental seven-course tasting menus alongside classic wine pairing, available Tuesdays – Saturdays only. Elastic pants at the ready!

Book your experience here.

Spring is very much on the horizon, we can feel it. With countless new restaurants, cocktail menus and new foodie collaborations popping up all over the capital, now is the perfect time to make the most of the better weather as winter fades into the background. Whether that is a pisco sour or a picnic, we have rounded up some fun foodie things to do this month in the big smoke…

Le Magritte

The beautiful Le Magritte Bar & Terrace nestled into Mayfair’s The Beaumontbelongs to the great tradition of American bars that became legendary in London and Paris during the roaring twenties. Guests feel like Ella Fitzgerald as they are taken to their elegant tables with plush leather seats and handed a menu filled with inventive cocktails. Although just a stone’s throw from one of the most famous streets in London, the five-star hotel and cosy bar feel like an oasis of 1920s glamour and sophistication. Turn left into the hotel and enter the new space for the intimate bar, run by Antonino Lo Iacono. The original location of Le Magritte is now Gatsby’s Room and serves a world-class afternoon tea experience. The drinks list is inspired by René Magritte, the surrealist artist and her works of art. With that in mind, order the Pilgrim 1966 filled with aba pisco and delicious yellow chartreuse or the Oasis 1925 with champagne syrup, gin and pick me up bitters. As well as sensational cocktails, Le Magritte has a long list of bourbons and American whiskies to pick from.

Marugame Udon

Japanese favourite Marugame Udon has opened two new sites in London – St Christopher’s Place and Canary Wharf. Marugame Udon has chosen the heart of London’s vibrant urban quarter – St Christopher’s Place and London’s central business district – Canary Wharf to give Londoners a taste of Japan’s favourite hand-made udon. Food fanatics and noodle lovers can taste authentic udon with menu favourites the Beef Nikutama (£8.45), udon with beef and caramelised onions in a dashi broth with a poached Onsen egg, or for a more traditional route the Kama Age (£3.45), the purest way to eat udon. Marugame Udon has exciting plans to roll out further sites across London with Argyll Street and Waterloo Station due to open later in 2022. A top tip is to join the Marugame Club; to collect ‘Bowl Stamps’ on each visit to earn treats and rewards.

Haché #CookForUkraine

Haché, has reunited with British-Ukrainian chef and food writer, Olia Hercules, to bring back the Mamushka burger. Originally featured as part of Haché’s lineup of female chef collaborations, the limited-edition Mamushka by Olia Hercules burger will be available again from 7 March until 4 April and will raise funds for #CookForUkraine to support those most in need during the conflict. Meaning mother, and named after Olia’s first and award-winning debut cookbook, the Mamushka burger features a perfectly cooked 6oz prime hachéd burger, topped with crispy streaky bacon, dill mayo and ginger and turmeric-infused beet kraut, all served in a toasted brioche bun. Priced at £14, £5 from every order will be donated directed to UNICEF UK’s Ukraine appeal.

VINADA no-alcohol sparkling wines

The days are set to be warmer at the end of March and with spring on the horizon, it is the perfect time to make the most of the beautiful parks in London. For non-alcohol alternatives to a boozy daytime drinking session, try VINADA. VINADA is a range of yummy no-alcohol sparkling wines produced using a process that retains most of the wine’s original aroma and taste. There are three wines in the range Crispy Chardonnay, Tinteling Tempranillo Rosé and Amazing Airén Gold. Founded in The Netherlands in 2018 by Jessica Van Spaendonk, who was fed up with other no/low alcohol wines and set out to create a quality wine with a superior taste and balanced flavour. The wine is now available in 29 countries and has just launched in the UK and currently available online. Cheers!

Sofitel London St James has teamed up with Balmain and Z2 Comics to celebrate the new Balmain Dreams OR book with a Fashion Afternoon Tea. Team Coco Fashion Editor Hannah Tan-Gillies attended the exclusive media preview to check out the US$50,000 Balmain Dreams 10: OR edition, which celebrates Olivier Rousteing’s most iconic runway creations in the last decade.

The Afternoon Tea is served in the hotel’s stylish Rose Lounge from and is available from 3 February to 3 March. To celebrate the occasion, the Rose Lounge has been decked out in striking illustrations from the Balmain Book, which is currently on a world tour with Z2 Comics and Sofitel. Balmain Dreams OR is available via digital tablets at the lounge, but we got to see the striking US$50,000 Balmain suitcase and some of the iconic Balmain pieces that were featured, in vibrant colour, on the pages of the book.

Crafted by Head Pastry Chef Jamie Warley, the Fashion Afternoon Tea connects guests with the traditional French flavours in homage to the heritage of Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing. Much like Olivier moves away from classic runway tropes, so does Sofitel’s Fashion Afternoon Tea move away from classic finger sandwiches.

Pastries inspired by Olivier’s bold and colourful runway creations

Instead, it offers delicious savoury dishes like leek and potato soup, pulled pork gyoza with soya and ginger and truffle Gougères. The sweet courses, of which the Citrus Choux Bun, Praline and Caramel Delice and Cappuccino Macaron were all highlights, were inspired thematically by Rousteing’s sketches in the book.

Sofitel St James is the first hotel to host the Fashion Afternoon Tea which will be moving to other Sofitel locations in Dubai, Singapore and Seoul.

The Fashion Afternoon Tea will be served from Thursday to Monday in the Rose Lounge, 12pm to 4pm, from 3rd Feb to 3rd Mar at £55 per person or £65 per person including a glass of Champagne. To book, please visit The Rose Lounge at Sofitel London St James.

We’ve been sharing the love for York at House of Coco recently; it’s one of our favourite UK locations and it’s easy to see why. With its quaint cobbled streets, delicious grub and fantastic shopping if you’re a fan of vintage jewellery (and who isn’t…) it’s a gorgeous getaway.

For a five star stay in the city, head to The Grand. Built in 1906, the hotel is steeped in heritage, with sweeping stone staircases, original wood panelling, parquet flooring and acres of marble. The original wing houses rooms for imposting Edwardian design, with high ceilings, huge windows and quirky architectural details. A new wing, opened in 2018, features spacious rooms and suites alongside The Grand’s Cookery School, a state of the art space offering courses for novice cooks to aspiring chefs under the expert guidance of chef tutors.

We checked in to an Executive Room, abundantly spacious with floor to ceiling windows and a huge desk, perfect for the working traveller. Every room features a king size bed, Egyptian linens and a bathroom complete with marble topped bath, walk in shower and Molton Brown toiletries. We loved the little touches left to welcome guests; a tin of chocolate buttons, a walking map of York, and a ‘hygiene kit’ left on the pillow with face mask and hand sanitiser were welcome additions that made us feel at home.

Downstairs guests will find The Grand’s elegant bar, The 1906, an intimate space that feels like a cosy train carriage with an extensive cocktail menu, an unrivalled collection of spirits and whiskeys and some of Yorkshire’s finest ales. Drop in for an aperitif before heading across the hall to The Rise, the hotel’s restaurant and terrace offering modern British cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. With interiors inspired by York’s local heritage, it’s a beautiful space and while we can’t vouch for dinner, the afternoon tea was exceptional. Pillowy soft sandwiches, fresh warm scones and an array of indulgent cakes and sweets, it’s definitely one to book.

Downstairs guests will find the spa with pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room along with a state of the art gym and a menu of treatments. The Grand has also introduced a range of indulgent short break packages, from the Alfresco Unbind with its Picnic in the Park hamper to the Gourmet getaway and the Spa & Stay package or a break encompassing a turn at The Grand’s cookery school, there’s something for everyone.

With such a comfortable and spacious room, delicious food and drink options and its location mere minutes from the station and the city centre, The Grand might just be one of our favourite York visits yet.

From £169 Room Only or £209 Bed and Breakfast (based on two sharing).

Our girl Hannah Tan-Gillies ventured to Brasserie of Light, one of London’s most dazzling dining spaces for a truly spectacular evening

One step into this majestic palace of glass, crystal and pure, tantalising atmosphere — and you’ll easily why Brasserie of Light is one of London’s most impeccable dining destinations.

We were led to our booth, coloured in a cool pastel blue, facing the double-height windows that overlooked Duke Street. Behind us was the restaurant’s centrepiece, the infamous crystal-encrusted Pegasus sculpture by Damien Hirst. Pegasus is frozen in time, in that moment before taking flight, as if signalling the grandeur of the culinary journey we too were about to embark on.

The menu is an eccentric blend of British classics and pan-Asian cuisine. A blend of East and West, it offered plenty of pizzazz using the best seasonal ingredients you can find. We started with a Peach Bellini as an aperitif, swiftly followed by the Seared Scallops, Pea Purée, and Broad Beans, and Tuna Carpaccio with Citrus Ponzu sauce, Spiced Avocado Purée, and Sesame Seeds. The scallops were firm yet succulent, offering rich sea flavours balanced with a citrus twist, while the Tuna Carpaccio was exceedingly fresh.

We followed with the Bang Bang Chicken Salad, with just the right amount of spice, that was a crunchy, sweet, and savoury explosion on the palate.

For the mains, we sampled the Aromatic Duck Curry, another Pan-Asian inclusion in the menu, that was rich and creamy, perfectly accompanied by a bowl of steaming jasmine rice. We also tried the Miso Black Cod, which arrived wrapped in a leaf, almost folded like an origami paper boat, and perfectly seasoned with Picked Fennel and Miso Sauce.

As someone suffering from dairy, egg, and wheat intolerances, finding an appropriate dessert is often difficult and sometimes downright impossible, but Brasserie of Light certainly found a way.

Continuing with its show-stopping theme, I tried the ‘Dessert Island’ which was very much a wonderful, intricately displayed concoction of fruits and sorbets.

After more than a year of home-cooked meals and takeaways, Brasserie of Light certainly makes a case for the soul-enriching glamour of the restaurant dining experience. From décor to menu and service, Brasserie of Light was faultless. A testament to why we should be dressing up, going out and returning to our favourite restaurants as soon and as often as possible.