You may know, I am a huge fan of an afternoon tea. I love the opportunity to spend quality time with my friends and family, eating delicious food, and feeling quintessentially English. So, on a warm, September, Sunday afternoon, I and some of my friends from university made our way to Vicinity a bar and restaurant on the Thames, just a few metres from the iconic Tower Bridge. We hadn’t seen each other for almost a year, due to the pandemic, so we were incredibly excited to eat and catch up.
Related: Why the English love tea
We were seated by the windows of the large, airy restaurant, allowing us a fantastic view of the river. From our corner, we couldn’t quite see Tower Bridge, which is a shame, but I’m not sure I would have been looking once the food arrived.
Firstly, a member of staff came to our table to take our drinks orders. She held an elaborate box filled with an array of Birchall teas, and for a moment, I wasn’t sure what to take. Of course I settled on a classic English breakfast tea, but I almost opted for something a little fruity. Tea wasn’t all that was on offer, though. Had we wanted, we could have chosen a coffee, latte, cappuccino, or even enjoyed a glass of wine or prosecco.
Then, we were presented with the food.
Initially, all four of us were blown away by the presentation: the tray was shaped like Tower Bridge itself, and layered with delicious options. Food was plentiful. On the bottom were a selection of classic finger sandwiches, and a small coronation chicken roll. On the second row, we had two scones, a plain and a fruit scone. On the top row, we had tasty, mini cakes, macarons, and tarts.
We did discover that the tray was a little too tall, and did obstruct our ability to have a conversation about the right way to spread cream and jam on scones – it’s cream first, then jam. After we had eaten, we pushed our trays out of the way to chat. Although it was September, and lots of restaurants were implementing time restrictions, the staff at Vicinity allowed us to hang around for hours.
At the end of the afternoon, we walked away from Vicinity feeling happy and satisfied. In all truth, I’m not sure I could have eaten any more! I’m looking forward to our next visit.