I don’t really know when we got so into afternoon tea. I started going after heavy nights out, as there is something incredibly amusing about stuffing yourself with cake and trying to remember to lift your pinkie as you drink tea, when deeply and darkly hungover. Despite this tradition, I wasn’t even slightly hungover when I went to Lele’s monthly special of afternoon tea (although, having avoided alcohol recently, half a glass of bubbles went straight to my head).
As aforementioned, Lele’s vegan afternoon tea isn’t an everyday thing. Instead, sittings are run on a monthly basis, which means you have to book well in advance by sending them an email and arranging a deposit. This makes it all the more niche, and perfect for celebrating events (a late birthday treat for myself), planned in advance with plenty of time to look forward to. From 4pm – 6.15pm, Lele’s venue in Dalston is emptied of everyday diners, to offer swift service to a select few afternoon tea attendees.
I really wish that I was the sort of person and blogger who took the time to selectively photograph each cake and sandwich, to savour and rate it, but unfortunately you would’ve thought I’d never been fed after the way I was let loose and devoured the cake. Between my friend and I, we cleared all the sweets and savouries in record timing. I saw most of the other tables leaving with their leftover, unfinished treats boxed to go – which I personally can’t fathom. Nonetheless, everything on offer was pretty memorable, so I can at least remember what was consumed, even if there’s no picture evidence.
I’m not normally a sandwich person, but both the vegan cheese or faux smoked salmon/carrot sandwiches were really good. I don’t think you’d have been able to tell the scones from vegan scones (are normal scones even vegan?). The pastry selection consisted of a Victoria sponge, carrot cake that was supposed to be a brownie without cacao (tasted like carrot cake if I’m honest, but good carrot cake at that), and a chocolate tart. The latter was the only let down in my opinion, as the chocolate filling wasn’t quite right.
Overall, Lele’s had a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, and the once-a-month sitting makes it all the more exclusive. All the food was delicious (vegan cakes have come a long way), so it’s definitely one to put on the bucket list for vegan fine diners and afternoon tea enthusiasts in London. Priced at £25 per person, it’s also a steal when compared to other venues charging over double the price.
Next afternoon tea; 8th September