If bright and boujie is your aesthetic, a visit to Sun Street Hotel needs to be in your diary. The hotel was originally six Georgian townhouses designed in the 1880s, but today this five-star Shoreditch spot offers a distinctive elegance-meets-exotic style, inspired by 1913 children’s picture book ‘The Google Book’ by VC Vickers.
The hotel’s crowning glory is arguably their series of lounge and dining spaces, one of which – the library room – plays host to a fancy afternoon tea every weekend. Here at Secret London, we love a quali-tea afternoon tea, so I headed to Sun Street Hotel to check it out; read on for a review of the experience and learn more about the hotel itself.
The afternoon tea
The Sun Street Hotel afternoon tea takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the Library, a sumptuous space that, like the rest of the hotel, champions VC Vickers’ picture book. Images of exotic plants and colourful animals accentuate the old-world charm and more traditional period features. Should you be intrigued to get more familiar with this picture book, you can pick up one of the copies dotted around the hotel (the staff will be happy to fetch you one).
As expected from a hotel of this calibre, the Library room is plush – however, it doesn’t feel ‘stuffy’. I felt completely at ease reclining back on one of the sofas, as I sipped my tea and nibbled my way through the three-tiered treats. The tea arrives first, accompanied by a kitsch mini hourglass, so you can brew your tea just right. There were both classic and fruity teas available from the East India Tea Company; I opted for the tropical punch tea, which was nice and fruity.
The sandwiches were indulgent and creamy, and I found them each to have a subtle sweetness too, despite the savoury flavours. The cakes and scones were delightful, and paired really well with the ‘The Ha-Ha!’ cocktail; the slight bitterness of the gin balanced out all the sweet flavours. Inspired by the Google Bird, ‘The Ha-Ha!’ is served in an ornate birdcage, and is just £10pp more to add on to your afternoon tea experience.
Other dining at Sun Street Hotel
Once you’ve closed the book on the hotel’s library afternoon tea, there’s plenty other food options at the hotel. The property features a labyrinth of chic yet comfortable lounge, bar and restaurant areas, where staying guests and visitors alike can relax. We ate dinner in the glass-roofed Orangery, and like the rest of the hotel, I just loved the decor. Accentuated by lights, the room had wallpaper depicting wild animals in the same style of the book, and the playful twist on the old world style was gorgeous.
It is clear a lot of thought goes into the creation and presentation of the dishes at Sun Street Hotel. To start, I tried the black tiger prawns, and they set the tone for the rest of the meal. The mango and green chilli salsa atop the large, juicy prawns made for a delicious flavour combination. It was well seasoned, and you could taste it had been smoked on the grill ever so subtly. The prawns’ heads are placed on the plate for presentation, but you don’t have to faff about with removing them yourself – they slide right off.
As for the mains, I can recommend both the Atlantic cod fillet and the Welsh spring lamb rump. Both were cooked exceptionally well; the fish flaked off at the touch of a fork, and the lamb melted in the mouth. For the fish dish, I felt the mussels held most of the flavour, so I advise to take a mouthful of everything. While the portions look a little small, I guarantee that is smoke and mirrors – they are pretty darn filling. However, I of course saved room for dessert, and was so glad I did: the Valrhona dark dome was so rich and indulgent, I devoured it in mere minutes.
While wine and champagne is available, I made a beeline for the cocktail list. Each cocktail is named after a Google bird from the book, and has a little poem attached. I tried The Whatnot, an adult twist on a coke float – champagne and vanilla ice cream. The drink on the menu is actually made using alcohol-free champers, but the obliging staff can make this alcoholic for an additional fee if you prefer. To be honest, the vanilla is just an after taste; the drink mainly champions the champagne. My fave cocktail though was The Tango, which was sweet, thanks to the lychee. Beware though, the drinks are deceivingly strong!
Spending the night?
There are 41 guest rooms and suites in the hotel; while each room type has options of classic (red) or contemporary (blue) decor, all rooms boast modern indulgences and luxury amenities. The rooms and suites are pretty spenny, but it is to be expected for a five-star stay in Zone 1. Each of the rooms over look the main street or the courtyard of One Crown Place, and while the service is most definitely five star, it is not pretentiously so. A rather cool feature of the hotel is the concierge and room service is available via WhatsApp. No awkward phone calls if you shy away from that kind of thing.
The creme de la creme of the hotel rooms is most definitely the Dance suite. It’ll set you back a pretty penny, that’s for sure, but my goodness, it is something to write home about… which you can do from the suite’s classically designed living room. The space has seating for up to eight people, and feels like a whole damn apartment out of a period novel. Elsewhere in the suite, you’ll find a bedroom and en-suite bathroom, all completed to the highest spec.
Sun Street Hotel is a mere five-minute walk from both Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations making it a handy base pre train journey north, or if you’re out and about in Shoreditch or The City. It is definitely one to visit – whether to splash out on a stay, or just indulge in an quintessentially English library afternoon tea.