48 Leicester Square
Tel: 020 3972 0202
Tarte Tatin: £7.00*
Passion Fruit Tea: £7.00*
It was the use of the word ‘unctous’ that first caught my attention. Unctous is a term that doesn’t belong on a menu. Neither does ’emulsion’, ‘ethereal’ or ‘artisanal’ when used to describe a muffin. There are too many words (yep, I know. Pot, meet kettle) and none of those words make sense in this context. No one wants an unctous dessert. Unctous is a ugly word suggestive of ooze and slime and something vaguely medical that desperately needs to be lanced. Yet I am an intrepid foodie and am reaching a point where the more bizarre something sounds the more eager I am to try it. So Tarte Tatin with “unctous” caramel coulis I shall have, along with an oleaginous batch of blueberries, a smarmy smattering of strawberries and a Pecksniffian scoop of ice cream, accompanied by a pot of pretentious twaddle tea, if you’d be so kind (I took the liberty of photographing a particularly funny byline from the menu as exhibit A. If someone told me that they were responsible for a pudding created by “ethereal desires” I’d assume that they had just wanked into a pie).
If you can get over the ridiculous wording, barn-like atmosphere, eye watering prices (I could snorkle in tea for a month with what a single pot here costs, and this was the least expensive option on the menu), a draft that envelopes your nether regions in an arctic wind and the sense that you were branded a naive tourist twonk the second you walked up the staircase, there is some fun to be had. The apple tart with ice cream (let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Though if TWG had it’s way they would probably call a spade ‘an integral gardening implement plunging the emotional appetency of the mulch’) is really rather lovely. Basically it’s a splat of stewed apple slapped onto a biscuit base and encased in a dome of gelatinous, apple-flavoured gunk, and if that doesn’t sound as poetic as it appears on the menu then at least everyone knows what all those words mean when strung together to form a sentence (maybe they meant to write gelatinous but a dodgy autocorrect changed it to unctous by mistake, a bit like when my autocorrect writes ‘melon farmer’ when I want to write… er, well, nevermind) There is a scoop of tea-infused ice cream that works well with the apple and a smattering of berries and cream that looks and tastes very nice. In fact, for £7.00 I would say you actually do get your money’s worth, if stewed apples, digestive biscuits and jelly is your thing. The tea comes in a deceptively large teapot that they clearly don’t fill with enough water, thus providing tiny cups to fool you into thinking you’re consuming more than you really are, the music alternates wildly from ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ to the main aria from Madame Butterfly (think Glenn Close flicking the lights off and on in Fatal Attraction. You know, jolly, sing-along fun) and there is a code you need to ask for so that you can use the bathroom, because there is nothing classier than alerting the waiters to the fact that you need to evacuate your bowels imminently. I’m leaving now so I can go outside for a warm. Till next time, folks 🍏
*Prices/information correct as of 06.10.19
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