This month I fancied trying something a little bit different so Katie and I went to the Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus, for afternoon tea in a pub. We had pre-booked a table through the Afternoon Tea website and we were delighted when we arrived that there was a table reserved for us by the window, so we had a great view to people watch, as we had a leisurely afternoon tea and enjoyed a good catch up. We ordered two traditional afternoon teas which arrived attractively presented on a three tier cake stand and we both commented on the pretty pink and white china. It was accompanied with individual pots of tea, which were replenished later on. Katie enjoyed her selection of sandwiches which were served on the cake stand.
My vegetarian sandwiches were served on separate plate. They were nicely presented, with a selection of brown and white bread and daintily cut into little squares. The sandwich fillings were all the same and consisted of cucumber, pickle and piccalilli, which although I personally found a bit of a strange combination, were delicious. To be honest it would have been nice to have a slightly wider selection of sandwiches but as everything else was really lovely it certainly wasn’t a deal breaker.
There were two large fruit scone, one each, and this was accompanied by one small jar of Tiptree strawberry jam and a generous dish of clotted cream which was shared between the two of us.
The fruit scone was huge and filled with lots of sultanas. It was very enjoyable to eat and had the right scone texture being firm on the outside and soft in the interior. They were tasty but I would take a guess that they were shop bought rather than home made on the premises.
The afternoon tea is accompanied with a selection of desert bites. There were mini chocolate brownies, lemon drizzle cakes and profiteroles and we both had one of each. All the cakes were delicious but the chocolate brownie was my personal favourite.
We had great service throughout our visit. Our food was served promptly, our waiter replenished our pots of tea and we had a leisurely, relaxing afternoon. The Argyll Arms is a traditional, historic pub which is one of a chain owned by Nicholson’s. This is one of my favourites as it dates from the late Victorian period (late 1800s) and has a beautiful ornate interior decorated with lots of glass, mahogany and mirrors. The main bar, on the ground floor, has a series of screened off drinking area, the design reflects the time when it was built, as Victorian gentlemen enjoyed frequenting public houses, wanted the bar staff to see and serve them but wanted privacy so that they would not have to mix with the people of the “lower classes”. The restaurant located on the first floor, provides a welcoming quiet oasis from the crowds on Oxford Street. It is more modestly decorated with wooded panelling and pictures and memorabilia of the stars who have performed at the London Palladium, which is on the same street. The pub’s location could not be better or more central, as it is very conveniently for shopping in Oxford Street, as it is directly opposite Oxford Circus tube station’s Exit 6 Argyll Street , however once your out of the tube, if you prefer, you can avoid the shoppers and make straight for the pub.
Our afternoon tea was fabulous value for money as it cost £10.95 per person. The Argyll Arms also serves a range of alcohol themed afternoon teas including afternoon tea with ale (£14.25) which is served with three third pints of cask ale and a time for gin afternoon tea (£14.25) with a Hendrick’s gin and tonic. We both really enjoyed our afternoon tea, definitely would recommend it and for the price it is remarkably good value. It’s also ideal for overseas visitors with limited time in London as they can simultaneously enjoy afternoon tea while experiencing the atmosphere of a traditional pub. While we were there we noticed that the other meals that were being served looked really appetising and we will definitely be returning.
Ratings: Scones: 2, Accompaniments: 2, Service: 3, Ambience: 2, Overall: 9/12
Until next time…