Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to Mr Fogg's tipsy afternoon tea in Mayfair. Unfortunately for me, one of the perils of a full time job is that I can't just pop out for a few hours to drink cocktails and nibble on sandwiches on Friday afternoons, as much as I'd like to. Therefore, instead, I sent the first lady of our family- my mother. Here's what she had to say about it...
"In the winding backs of Bruton Lane, Mayfair, lay the doorway to Mr Fogg's quirky victoriana experience. The long bell is wrung, the door slowly opens outwards, careful not to knock the unaware off the step. Visitors are greeted by a tall, red waistcoated server who waves us inside with a friendly "welcome to Mr Fogg's." Inside, music drifts towards us, setting the scene. (For those who have timed their evening bar visit right, there's apparently live music later on, but we were on the recorded variety.) The walls are cluttered with travel memorabilia- conversation pieces, stuffed animals, hanging bicycles and hot air balloons. (Even the restrooms, I later discovered, echoed with story time of Mr Fogg's adventures!) Seating is of the low level leather buttoned variety with afternoon tea served on battered travel chests, although a few traditional table and chairs were scattered about.
Then came the afternoon tea. Three gin cocktails, presented in teapots, were offered with names like '1840', 'Woburn Abbey' and 'Catherine of Braganza' (with a quality base of Tanqueray No TEN). The champagne offered, Ruinart, is an offering from the first champagne house established in 1729, perhaps a little less known than some of the more heavily marketed brands. Four novelty champagnes with names like 'Belvoir Castle' were also available as cocktail bases. Mixers were presented in iced teapots with separate milk jugs containing either gin or champagne. The cocktail is taken in teacups poured according to taste. My favourite had to be the '5th Duke of Rutland', a concoction of Tatratea, cognac and angostura bitters, plus a kick of absinthe!
A tired cake stand was full of sweet offerings and finger sandwiches, although the experience is less about the food and more about whimsy and drink. After all, the mirrored bar which stretched the whole length of the room was stuffed with quality boutique brands of alcoholic beverages. I could tell that sitting at the bar on an evening would be a whole new vibe!
This is a Friday/Saturday afternoon venture with a lively, quirky vibe and the odd unexpected surprise- keep an eye out roaming magician, Mr Singh!"