Friday (the 10th of June) was my birthday. To celebrate, the bloke and I took the day off work and made plans to do a couple of things in London that I have been wanting to do. The first was have the "Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea" hosted by Cutter & Squidge. It is the first official European tea authorised by the owners of the "Hello Kitty" brand, Sanrio. Because work has been extremely busy, I forgot to reserve the afternoon tea until a couple of days after the reservations were open, but all of the weekend slots were gone by that time. However, I managed to secure my birthday day instead. I was very excited to go because last spring, I went to Cutter & Squidge when it was a pop-up shop and a few doors down from its current location and I loved it. They use pure ingredients for healthier food, and I loved the iced drink I had.
Of course, I informed them of my dietary requirements and my birthday when I made the booking, so I received a "Happy birthday" chocolate and candle.
Upon entering their shop, I noticed "Hello Kitty" merchandise everywhere and the Cutter & Squidge trademark biscies (two cream-filled cookie sandwiches) and cakes in the "Hello Kitty" theme. I later had the apple flavour one (on the right) to take away. The other one is an ice cream sundae flavour.
After arriving, we were taken down into "Hello Kitty's" secret garden in the basement of the shop. Plastic flowers and "Hello Kitty" wallpaper greeted us.
First up is the pink lemonade (Mimmy's Pink Lemonade), which is refilled if desired. The lemonade was tart but nice and not sickening sweet and full of sugar, so it was a 'win' for me.
We also had a choice of four teas including standard Englush breakfast and Earl Grey. The bloke and I opted for something different. I had the "Limited Edition Apple Pie Tea", which was made with spices and apple chunks. The bloke had the "Lychee Peach Tea", which I nearly got because I love peach and I'm more of a peach-person than an apple-person. I actually preferred his tea to my tea, but I was not told that I could change it when I needed to top up so was stuck with it.
I noticed that the dishes were not the cleanest with my cup being dirty and having a hair on it. And I was not too impressed with the plastic flowers which just made me think of "cheap and tacky" which is a far cry from what I felt when I was in the shop upstairs with the bright natural light. I felt that the afternoon tea was aimed a little more at children based on the decor, but there are many adult "Hello Kitty" fans too, and I expected a little more style for £40.00 a person.
This is where it all went even worse. After we were seated, I reminded the waiter about the special requirements for the sandwiches and he noted it down. We then had to wait over twenty minutes for the order. We were then informed that the sandwiches were incorrect in our order, so it was sent away again. Twenty minutes later, they arrived again but were still incorrect. They were sent away again. They were not completely correct on the third attempt, but I gave up then. By then, it was too long and we'd waited much too long. Also, I had to ask them to refill my tea and then remind them twice before anything was done about it. They also did not check back with us, and I had to shout for another refill later on.
Our afternoon tea was brought to us in stackable Japanese-style bento boxes. Our sandwiches were okay, but I have had much better. By this time, we had to rush through the food or risk missing our next activity.
The cheese scones were served with cream cheese and tomato salsa. The cheese scones were actually very delicious. Served with them were two "Hello Kitty" crackers with tomato salsa.
I've included photographs of the desserts received, which we had to rush down and then take some of them away due to the mix-up.
Strawberry Milkshake Biskie - This is what Cutter & Squidge do best. We received one with a heart and one with a strawberry, and they tasted delcious with a vanilla cookie base sandwiched with strawberry-flavoured cream.
Vanilla Cookie - The Kitty-shaped pink cookies did taste delicious.
The last item above appeared to be a chocolate brownie, but the only item on the menu that it could be was "White's Ice Kream", but this was not ice cream at all. The brownie did not taste nice at all and was left. It was also not presented as well as the other items.
And in the photograph below:
"Mimmy's Pink Lemonade Marshmalllow" - The marshmallows were melt-in-your-mouth delicious with a fizzy lemonade taste.
Cake Truffle - The exterior of the truffle is pink with chunks of biscuit and tasted like lemonade or strawberry. Inside was a chocolate cake truffle.
Chocolate-dipped strawberries - The chocolate was a bit too thin to dip and stay on the berry, and most of it actually went onto my shirt instead of on the berry or in my mouth. We left the remainder or the thin chocolate.
"Mimmy's Very Berry Jelly Kiss" - This is a fruit jelly in the shape of the kitty. If you enjoy this sort of thing, this is for you. I'm not a fan and did not care for the taste, so I left it.
In the photograph at the top, I had the following:
- Kitty's Chocolate Mud Pie - I ended up leaving most of this because I just did not enjoy the taste and found it a little too dry.
"Mama's Apple Pie Mousse" - This was the winner of the desserts. The mousse tasted delicious and just like apple pie. I could have had more of this.
The moment of truth for recommendations is here. Unfortunately, I cannot actively recommend the "Hello Kitty" afternoon tea. It's such a pity because I believed it would be a lot better, particularly as I enjoyed my last visit to Cutter & Squidge. The staff did not seem to know what they are doing, and the food took much too long to arrive. We waited fourty-five minutes before we received our food, which is way too long. Then we had to rush through it. This is not acceptable when it costs £40.00 per person, which is on the steep end of afternoon tea in London. Many of the hotels (not cafes) charge around this amount per person. I'd expect a cafe to charge less.
While some of the food was delicious, the majority was bland with the brownie and cake being complete let-downs. I think too much choice is offered, and I would have liked to have had less choice and more biskie options instead. The brownie and chocolate-covered strawberries should be removed, and I'd consider removing the jelly too.
The stars of the show were the apple pie mousse, cheese scones, vanilla biscuits, marshmallow, and the biskie.
(I visited Cutter & Squidge for the afternoon tea and the review is my own. I was not asked to review or be a guest reviewer.)