Tired of getting crumbs in your bedsheets after a midnight feast or messy brunch?
The Ms Marmite Lover’s afternoon tea event – which features sweet and savoury treats served up in the bedroom, parlour and basement of an 18th century building – might be the solution.
More commonly known as Kerstin Rodgers, the condiment-loving redhead has a passion for mid-afternoon feasts but this time she’s taking the tea party outside of her Kilburn home.
Instead Dennis Severs’s historic East End property – formerly the home of a silk-weaving Hugenot family – will be the venue for the gathering on Friday, August 14, to mark National Afternoon Tea Week.
The Spitalfields building at 18 Folgate Street has been painstakingly preserved and restored to its former glory.
“I’ve always been interested in historic places and this was someone’s home, and shows the experience of a 18th century family as if they still live there,” said Kerstin, a leading light in London’s Supper Club movement.
“It was a time when Spitalfields wasn’t the cool place it is now but this house is refurbished to how it would have been when it was first built.
“I thought that was an interesting link and, even though it’s not my home, it’s someone’s home and such an interesting location.
“Guests will be scattered throughout the house and surrounded by 18th century furnishings in the bedroom, the parlour and we’ll even be serving tea in the basement, where it would have traditionally been served in a house like this.
“It’s a little bit ghostly and there’s a slight haunted feel about it, but it’s been beautifully done up in the style and we’ll be having beautiful refreshments in beautiful china – it’s like having tea in a stately home.
“Each of the rooms are quite small and narrow, so there’ll be five or six people in each.
“It will give people a chance to talk to one another so they can even come on their own.”
With no electricity in the building, Kerstin will be whipping up her treats at home, then bringing them to Spitalfields in time for tea.
Traditional afternoon tea lovers need not fear – she’s promised there will be the classic scones and jam.
Though the rest of the menu will take on a Georgian twist.
“I’ve been looking at typical 18th century items people would have had for tea,” said Kerstin.
“So things like macaroons and watercress were very fashionable then, so I will be doing watercress sandwiches.
“We’ll have cocktails when people come in – maybe Champagne – or I might serve a Madeira wine or sherry as that was very popular at the time.
“I think one of the meals Britain’s do best is afternoon tea – no-one is as good at it as us.”
The event takes place from 3pm, tickets cost £75.
Three top tips for afternoon tea
1. Dish up some hot savory treats.
Whether it’s home-made crumpets, teacakes or cheese on toast, Kerstin says there should be a “hot element” to your afternoon tea.
2. Make cocktails in teapots
“As well as tea, serve something a bit stronger,” Kerstin said. “It makes it a bit naughtier.”
3. Make the table beautiful
Adorn it with fresh flowers, linen tablecloths and your best china.