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Soho Hotel Afternoon Teas

I love the Soho Hotel. It has just about everything – a sense of escape from the bustle and hustle of Wardour and Old Compton Streets while remaining in the centre of things, the calm eye, if you will, of the Christmas storm.
Myself and a buddy have dived in here after the hell that has been the Disney Store on Oxford Street. Those six-year-olds would kill their own for a Wall-E interactive toy, I’m telling you, and only an aromatic pot of Lapsang Souchong is going to ease pain of the bite marks.

The Soho’s ReFuel restaurant, bar and tearooms are a designer’s dream. The creams and clean lines of the restaurant – with hints of Starck, we both feel; imitation being the finest form of flattery, and all that – segue into the foyer’s ochres, tangerines and modernism and on to the hot pinks and mushroom of the oh-so-snug tea lounge. Hot pink and fancies may sound like too much of a sugar rush, but this is one of the most welcoming watering holes in which I have yet to indulge.

Being too tired and emotional for Champagne, I opt for a Soho Tea – when in Soho, eh? – while N chooses the Traditional Tea, accompanied by an aromatic Earl Grey. Ahhh, as relaxation begins to set in, we enjoy the intimate atmosphere of the lounge, coupled with efficient and charming service from the waitresses (sadly, no waiters here this afternoon), also decked out in hot-pink shirts. Very pleasing on the eye and soul.

Our prawn and spring onion/ ham and mustard/ smoked salmon/ egg and watercress sandwiches are good, if a little dry around the edges – had they, like us, been out for a while? The quality of the fruit and plain scones, excellent jam and cream, mini pavlova, gold leaf tiffin, macaroons, mini tartlets and mini cup cakes, however, more than make up for this. I’m particularly intrigued to try tiffin, with memories of Carry On Up The Khyber floating around my shopping-fevered brain, and, on trying it, can see why this chocolate confection with raisins and crushed biscuits might keep folk in of a winter's afternoon.

Refreshed and ready for some late-night shopping, we head off up the road. ReFuel – it’s so well named, in every way.

Soho Tea (available with a choice of teas, coffee or infusions) £17.50 per person. Traditional Tea (drinks choices as for Soho Tea) £16 per person.

Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, London W1D, 020 7559 3000, refuel@firmdale.com, www.firmdale.com

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