At street level, Butterscotch is yet another of London’s sumptuous cake emporiums, joining the likes of Bea’s of Bloomsbury (whose founder, Bea Vo, it shares) on a trending tide of Instagrammable sugary decadence. Its window display of embellished cupcakes and monstrously huge meringues, framed by a busy froth of foliage spilt across its awning, is certainly easy on the eye–and it cleverly promises cocktails alongside its cakes–but, well, we’ve seen it before.
That is, until we step inside.
Beyond the reception, a star-burst chandelier-lit staircase descends into something far more precious than Butterscotch’s frontage suggests. Its porcelain-white interior, complete with a meadow of blousy, paper-cut blooms scattered busily across its ceiling, is cut through with tasteful accents of rose gold. Dainty bow-backed chairs perch primly around marble-topped bistro tables, above which pansy-garnished desserts in glass terrariums hang suspended in mid-air from tiny hooks.
The Camellia Afternoon Tea is Butterscotch’s signature. It’s traditional with an off-piste edge. The sandwiches are less crustless cucumber, more bites of butternut, goat’s cheese and rocket baguette. Cakes include peanut butter brownies and decadently gooey blondies – a nod to Vo’s US heritage – alongside feather-light madeleines, raspberry-brushed mini meringues and notably good scones with clotted cream and jam. The chocolate mousse, as mentioned previously, floats. Choose a glass of Perrier Jouet instead of a pot of Earl Grey and this is afternoon tea done with a deliciously successful eccentric twist.