Our restaurant of the week is The Lane, the shining star of Covent Garden’s afternoon tea scene.
Restaurant of the Week: The Lane
Situated in the newly reopened Theatre Royal Drury Lane, The Lane has become quite the hotspot for theatre lovers. The 17th century venue underwent a restoration project headed by Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd Webber, and only resurfaced in Covent Garden in 2021 with the West End debut of Frozen. Now, with a newly decorated entrance and theatre, as well as the Cecil Beaton Bar, Theatre Royal Drury Lane is back like never before.
Take a trip to The Lane this season for a taste of the new Regency Afternoon Tea, which you can savour in the beautiful Grand Saloon. The venue, which boasts a pastel backdrop of pink and green, shimmering chandeliers, stucco ceilings and imposing neoclassical columns, should be an entry on any tea-lover’s bucket list.
The Regency Afternoon Tea menu was created by The Lane’s chefs in collaboration with artisan baker and cake designer Lily Vanilli, who has been turning heads since 2008 with her beautifully ornate confectionaries. Her takeover of The Lane is no different, as she interweaves key features from the theatre’s new interior with Regency aesthetics to create a menu fit for any duke or duchess in the making. Everything from crockery (custom fine bone china decorated with mythical creatures designed by British interior designers Kit and Willow Kemp) to the colour of frosting has been impeccably thought out to the very last detail.
Start the experience off with a drink or two from the vast selection on offer – keep it classic with a pot of Regency Breakfast Tea, cleanse the palate with a glass of crisp jasmine iced tea or take the party up a notch with some champagne. Or simply indulge and try them all for the full experience.
The main event is kicked off with a sweet and savoury selection of treats, which are brought out all together so that guests can dine at their leisure. The servers encourage you to tuck into the pies or scones first (as they are served warm), and they definitely set the bar for the rest of the meal. The pie, which is updated regularly with seasonal British fillings, comes flaky and salty (with the perfect pie crust to filling ratio), and the sugar-topped scones are served traditionally with cream and jam.
This is followed by bitesize English crumpets topped with Earl Grey infused cream cheese and John Ross Junior smoked salmon and a savoury madeleine with whipped English feta and pickled heritage carrot, which are both as decadently delicious as they sound.
Fancy something sweet? You’re in luck. Lily Vanilli’s sweet offering includes a tried-and-tested sticky toffee pudding covered in caramel and hiding a custard centre (it’s a reimagined national classic that is bound to be popular with anyone who tries it) and a strawberry ice cream sandwich layered with marshmallow, strawberry parfait, brown sugar biscuit and dark chocolate (reminiscent of the tubs of ice cream you’d typically pick up during a theatre interval).
The highlight of the sweet selection is a a fluffy vanilla cake filled with passionfruit and buttercream, decorated in sugary pastel colours befitting the regency-style saloon. A slice of creamy goodness offset by a fruity twist, this cake is only made all the better by the handmade, golden chocolate cupid sitting atop it.
The Final Word
Whether you’re looking to live your wildest Bridgerton dreams, escape the busy city or satisfy a sweet tooth, the afternoon tea at The Lane will cater to your every want and need. All you need do is ask.
Afternoon tea is £59 per person and served daily in the Grand Saloon. For more information and to book, please visit thelane.co.uk
Address: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JF
Images courtesy of The Lane