I’ve just decided. I want my last meal to be tea. I want stacks of little cakes and sandwiches, I want to sink into a cozy corner, I want replenished cups from little pitchers and pots. But which tea time and where?
How about the psychedelic experience at Sketch, amid its swirling upholstery, crystal-studded bar, and globe-shaped confections set on little cake pedestals? Probably not, it’s likely that I’ll be addled enough by that time.
Perhaps a more earthy experience at Comptoir Gascon, nibbling on their rustic breads served on hammered metal tea sets in the neighborhood of Smithfield Meat Market. Perhaps not, the proximity of flesh and carcass would not provide the cushioning escapism I’ll want.
No, I want a corgi and union jack tea. You can come and pay your last respects and watch me scatter crumbs at Claridges. I want the top-hatted doorman and the crystal mirrors, I want to be draped in napery. I may order the Coconut Dacquoise Sous Vide Pineapple, but odds are I’ll opt for scones to guide me gently into that good night.
After drooling through this book, I need to develop a bucket list—more aptly—a teapot list. I want to visit all these places, not just one. But between Jean Cazals’ photos and the recipes for Parkin, Victoria Sponge, Vanilla and Lavender Eclairs, or Pear and Amaretto Crumble Cake, maybe I can pull this off in my own kitchen.
I’ll dig out my best, unchipped tea cups, find a cheery teapot at a second-hand store, bake up some Cheese Tarts and Apple Strudel Cupcakes, and invite over my most fey friends for an escapist afternoon tea time.