Since the pair responsible for this latest foodie venture have more than a passing connection with Rococo chocolates, it was perhaps no surprise that the chosen venue was the gorgeous 'Marococo' garden at the Motcomb Street branch.
And since the menu was as tempting as it was long, it perhaps comes as no less surprise that I had to get myself along there. Oh, and also because it was for a good cause. All money raised goes to the BeatBullying charity. An admirable scheme. And so, with three other friends, I booked in to the first available date, on 13 August.
And at 2.30 on the dot, there we were. In the glorious garden. Which itself was the most amazing suntrap on what was already proving to be a rather lovely summer's day.
a north African oasis in the middle of London
A truly splendid setting. Made immediately all the more splendid by the addition of some rather good Prosecco.
if I said I only had one glass, would you believe me? No, I thought not.
Oh, and tea. Not just yer standard pot to be getting on with, but a list of 5 loose leaf teas and endless tea bags (particularly if you like fruit and herb teas) from which to choose. After some serious debate, we opted for Fortnum & Mason's Royal Blend and Darjeeling Broken Orange Pekoe, and very fine they were, too.
And then - to business. First up, leek and gruyere tart, finger sandwiches, cheesy feet biscuits with throat-tickling spiced tomato jam.
hot damn hot jam. And cheesy feet. Not traditional, but we don't care
Sticklers for tradition might well take umbrage at the cheesy feet and spiced tomato jam - hardly your standard afternoon tea fare. But to get uppity about such things and refuse to partake would be to miss a trick. Let me tell you - they were VERY good, especially that jam, which had several tea-goers begging Bella and Crumb for the recipe. So - ner to all the nay-sayers, and good on Bella and Crumb for going a bit left field. 'Twas a bold move which more than paid off.
But really, when you have an afternoon tea, it's all about the scones, isn't it? So, as tasty as our little amuse-foots were, we were eager for our next 'course' listed on the menu - 'fresh scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam'. Clotted cream. Be still, oh my beating heart.
Or rather - bring it on...
Loading up... (cream on jam? or jam on cream? we spent quite a while discussing the issue. Inbetween mouthfuls of the stuff, naturally.)
cream on jam, or jam on cream? You decide. Amazing how heated the arguments became. Or would have, had we really been that bothered. Which we weren't because we were all too busy scarfing the lot.
Of course we had seconds. It would have been tremendously rude not to.
By now, it should be said, we were approaching satiation levels. And our arteries were no doubt approaching saturation levels.
But Bella and Crumb hadn't finished with us yet. Oh, no. If you're going to do tea here, you're here to do it hardcore.
And so you have to have cakes next. Cakes, and brownies, and biscuits, and sweets, and chocolates, no less.
We gave it our best shot. We demolished the cupcakes (lemon with raspberries; vanilla), attacked the brownies, wolfed the chocolates (Rococo's own rose, lychee, and raspberry ganache), and... then somewhat gave up. As lovely as the personalised biscuits looked, and as comically redolent of sweet-stuffing childhood days as the lovehearts were, we really just could not cope with any more.
All that was left was to quench our sugar-induced thirsts with more tea and zingy homemade lemonade...
And the cost of all this - this sun-filled, food-stuffed, vintage-crockery adorned, tea-fuelled afternoon of gastronomic jollity? A mere £15.00 a head. And all for charity, remember.
In short - it's for a great cause, is in a beautiful location, provides all the food and drink you'll ever manage for a tea time, and is all laid on by two very generous hostesses who do a very good job of spotting empty Prosecco glasses at twenty paces. And there are more dates coming up soon: check here for details.
Go, or miss a real treat and a rather fun afternoon out.