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Salon de Thé at Mariage Fréres

Restaurants, French Covent Garden
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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A Parisian teahouse and shop in Covent Garden.

A two-storey French teahouse in the heart of Covent Garden, Mariage Frères has come to London straight from Paris, where there it has more than ten branches. On the ground floor of this elegant building, there are shelves and shelves of specialty tea for sale, then upstairs, there’s a light and airy dining room that serves light lunches, afternoon tea and snacks. If you visit, desserts are the way to go. The sweet half of our afternoon tea was a delight. On the cake stand, there was a delicate, violet macaron with a lovely flavour, a sweet rosewater-and-raspberry cake and a refreshing tart topped with thin orange slices and mint. Then, from the patisserie, a show-stopping spherical cheesecake that looked like a Super Mario mushroom (it was covered in bright-red candied raspberry shell and dotted with tiny white meringues). It was sweet, addictive, and a good match for a cup of specialty tea.

Sadly, everything else was a bit of a mess. A slice of £18 gold-leaf cake, occupying prime position on the cake stand, wasn’t great. Bland and swimming in a sugary raspberry sauce which tasted like supermarket jam, the only justification for the price was the gold itself (which being completely chemically inert, tasted of nothing, obviously). All the savoury options we sampled, from the sandwiches on the afternoon tea to a dish of cauliflower houmous to a beef tataki salad, were all similarly flavourless, slightly naff, and over-priced.

Because the upstairs dining room is so light and airy (it looks out over Covent Garden market itself), Mariage Frères should be a nice spot for a fancy cup of tea and something sweet after a day out in town. Just stick to the simple stuff, like the macarons.

By: Kelly Pigram



Address: 38 King St
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
Price: Afternoon tea for two with drinks and service: around £90.
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