Yes, there really is a hotel in London that offers a fantastic vegan afternoon tea for adults, kids and … dogs! My daughter and I wanted to mark our two-year vegan anniversary with a special treat, and so we picked an afternoon in London having tea. While searching for places that have vegan options and are child-friendly, I came across Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge. To my amusement they happily accommodate four-legged friends, although the dog’s menu online is meat-based.
After a friendly and amusing chat on the phone with one of the very pleasant members of staff (and a warning that our dog is a bit more Croydon than Knightsbridge), she was very open to the idea of the chefs cooking up a plant-based option for Poppy as the food is all freshly prepared to order. Poppy is our almost three-year-old cockapoo mix bitch who is on a meat- and dairy-free diet. You can read more about that here – but for now back to afternoon tea.
I am blessed with a child who is very well mannered at the table – but the same cannot be said for our pooch. With visions of her humping fellow tea-drinkers, barking at thin air or peeing in the reception, off we went. We couldn’t have had a warmer welcome with the staff fussing over both my companions. We were led into the cosy lounge area where a bowl of water and a very cute little banana dog-toy greeted Poppy which immediately set her at ease. The various menus are on the table, traditional, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free but as we had pre-ordered we just needed to choose some tea to get us started. They have some incredible tea-infused cocktails on offer for those that can handle lunchtime drinking – something I have yet to master. My daughter Ruby chose a Moroccan rose bud and I picked a Seville orange tea – both delightful and served at a perfect temperature. None of the tableware is bone china (usually made from cow or ox bones) which is a common oversight.
The food soon arrived, with the dog wisely being served first. It’s hard not to laugh as your dog is served a three-tiered lunch, she couldn’t quite believe her luck, looking up at me as if to say “Am I really allowed to eat all this?!” She dived straight into her sweet potato mash with chickpeas and a side of carrots and broccoli – but was soon distracted by homemade biscuits and then her tail went into overdrive at the Billy + Margot dairy-free doggy ice cream. Anyone who loves their pooch will be hard-pressed not to smile sunbeams watching such indulgence bestowed on your four-legged friend.
With all the excitement surrounding the dog’s lunch we almost forgot we were in for our own treat. A hearty selection of sandwiches and cakes including scones with coconut cream arrived and the conversation soon stopped so we could, as my daughter put it, “stuff our faces” We are all more Croydon than Knightsbridge it seems! The sandwiches were a selection of grilled vegetables on granary baguette, guacamole and rocket on white bread, chickpea-coronation on granary bread, cucumber on brown bread and tomato and olive tapenade on sun-dried tomato bread – yum. You can ask for more of what you fancy, if you have any room – next time I’m wearing elasticated trousers. The cakes were light and fluffy and very sweet. The bases were mostly sponge so a bit of variety would have been nice but its certainly not a complaint, we are just used to eating lots of different types of vegan cakes, slices and tortes as cakes are one of the easiest food to replicate for vegans. What is wonderful here that if you have any leftovers they automatically offer you a takeaway box so nothing is wasted.
If the afternoon couldn’t get any sweeter, Ruby was then given a little teddy that comes with the children’s tea option. His name is Edwin the Egerton bear and right now he is snuggled up safe and sound in bed with Ruby and Poppy. I hope Edwin will be as happy in our home as we were at the Egerton, celebrating a very special two-year vegan anniversary.
Adult afternoon tea costs £40 (add £13 for champagne), child’s is £20 (under 12’s) and £18 for the dog. You will need to ring in advance to notify the hotel of your dog’s preferred plant-based food. For example, I had said Poppy loves sweet potatoes, chickpeas, lentils, broccoli and carrots to name a few options.