20 June 2016

Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea, Cutter & Squidge

As an out-there-and-proud crazy cat lady, I was beyond excited when I heard on the grapevine that Europe's first Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea would be setting up camp in the basement at Soho bakery, Cutter and Squidge.

I booked in for the afternoon tea as a treat for my Mum and I as soon as I heard about it (FYI - I'm told there is still availability for weekday bookings until 31st August, so go go go!) and I'd been looking forward to it for about two months. Suuuper keen!

It came at a bittersweet time - we'd lost our beloved cat, Roxy, earlier that week - so in a weird way it seemed like a fitting way to pay tribute to our love of cats. So, Foxy Roxy, this one's for you...

Cutter & Squidge is one of the new wave of London bakeries that believe in creating delicious, beautiful cakes with minimal sugar, fat and artificial baddies. I'm always a bit weary of this - I have the mindset that  if you're going to eat something sweet, enjoy it for what it is - but honestly, you wouldn't know it was on the healthy side *cough* DELICIOUSLY ELLA'S SWEET POTATO BROWNIES. NEVER AGAIN *cough*

Inside is very cute, with cartoons, cakes and bakery paraphernalia everywhere.

And of course, Cutter & Squidge manages to include just about everything they can that is Hello Kitty themed - think aprons, tote bags, coasters... and their limited edition "biskies", which look too good to eat!

But I'm sure, if pushed, you could manage it...

After a short wait, we were guided down to the Hello Kitty Secret Garden. I think I was just as excited as the 6 year old girl, who was delighted by the Hello Kitty bows that would lead you there.

I was delighted to see that Cutter & Squidge weren't doing anything by halves. It was a Hello Kitty haven, even before we got to the entrance of the garden...

I wanted to take the cuddly toy tree home!

But we couldn't hang around, and the lure of *more* Hello Kitty was too much to resist.

Oh hey, Kitty tree...! 

Cat haters, this is probably where you should click off (if you haven't already) because the kitschness is about to intensify.

The place setting was perfect, and the ribbon around the cutlery was a lovely touch. 

Our menu...

The fake foliage was filled with fairy lights, little monkey ornaments and erm, pineapples. Alrighty, then.

I recommend going in a group, because then you get to sit here! And yes, that *is* a Hello Kitty pillow. Uh huh.

Although I don't believe in there ever being such thing as too many cats, I should probably get to the main event - the afternoon tea.

It's not cheap (£40 per person) but the price clearly reflects the fact it's the first of its kind in Europe, and it's only a temporary residency.

We first got a cold drink (a passion fruit juice, I believe), and I opted for Earl Grey as my main tea, whilst my Mum went for the caffeine-free Hello Kitty Apple Pie Tea. The Earl Grey didn't rock my world, but it wasn't the tea we were there for!

We were here for this...

Kitty's Chocolate Mud Pie, Mama's Apple Pie Mousse...

Strawberries (with matcha and chocolate dipping sauce - the matcha was *not* to our taste, but the chocolate was delicious), Mimmy's Very Berry Jelly Kiss, Mimmy's Pink Lemonade Marshmallow, Cake Truffles...

Pink Vanilla Cookie, Strawberry Milkshake Biskie (my favourite cake of the bunch, followed by the mud pie, FYI) and Milk Chocolate Blondie.

The presentation is beautiful, but the sweetness proved too much for us, and my Mum graciously let me take the leftovers home. Yum.

For the savoury, I opted for the "normal", with meat & fish, whilst my Mum went for the veggie option. You're meant to let C&S know when booking that you require a veggie afternoon tea, but I asked as soon as I went in and luckily that ensured enough preparation time.

Here are the savoury pieces...

Left(ish) to right - Savoury Cheese Scones (served with red pepper relish & cream cheese), Coronation Cracker, Cucumber and Cream Cheese (in a Hello Kitty shape, complete with red bow because OBVIOUSLY), Cheese & Red Onion, Salmon & Chives, and Hummus and Pepper.

I do wish we'd had sweet scones - my Mum wasn't taken with them, but the red pepper relish was sooo good. Unfortunately, just not as good as scones with jam & clotted cream.

I should point out - you can ask for more savoury pieces, which I definitely recommend. The balance of sweet and savoury is skewed to the sweet side, and although we couldn't finish all the sweet bits, I could have gone for more sandwiches. So make sure you do!

After being defeated by more dessert in the form of ice cream with strawberry sauce (you can choose between strawberry or chocolate), we headed back upstairs. It took *all* my willpower not to buy a Hello Kitty mug/tea/lunchbox. But it is there until the end of August...

It's difficult not to linger at the counter. The cakes are an absolute work of art...

I feel like Mary Berry would approve of those layers - so defined (and so tempting). You can buy the cakes by the slice, or buy the WHOLE THING for a special occasion. They would make the most incredible birthday cakes, hint hint.

The attention to detail here is incredible - even the bush has little pink flowers to represent the bow. So cute!

And with our cute-as-a-button bag filled with sweet treats, we had a little cocktail at the Ham Yard Hotel (definitely go, it's total interiors porn) and continued with our day. Perfect. 

The Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea residency at Cutter & Squidge will last until August 31st. It's quite booked up, but if you're desperate to go, book an afternoon off mid-week and bask in cute kitty heaven :)

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