I’ve had my fair share of afternoon teas. I’ve had them at Harrods, at the Park Lane Hilton, at gentlemen’s clubs. I’ve had teas with flowers, with cigars and with a heaving amount of chocolate. Have I had an afternoon tea where I’m scrambling around on the floor, making dog noises and being sat on whilst a glamorous woman sings Elvis? No, I don’t think I have.
Yet this is all part of the entertainment at Volupté, a cabaret and burlesque bar. Every second and fourth Saturday of every month, they open up their doors for a spot of afternoon tea. The type of performers appearing does not change, but instead of the usual evening fare, traditional finger sandwiches, cakes and tea are served up. Plus a glass of champagne thrown in for good measure.
This being a Saturday afternoon, the crowd was sparse; a birthday party, a couple, myself and a companion were those making up the crowd. The compere, Ms Vicious Delicious, acknowledged the paucity of numbers but was quick to get the energy going throughout the room.
Vicious Delicious: ‘Hello, what’s your name?’
Vicious Delicious: ‘That’s a shit name. For this afternoon, you will be known as Jean-Claude.’
I was then invited to join Ms Vicious Delicious whilst she sang Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog. Who was that hound dog? Why it was your humble correspondent, howling and barking on command, as well as being on all fours, chasing the hostess around before being sat on. Well it beats shopping.
The entertainment was exactly the kind you might expect from a cabaret show; contortion, magic, a little burlesque and some show tunes. The tea was exactly the kind you might expect being served up at any other tea shop; finger sandwiches, scones and a pot of tea. So is it worthy coming along and risking the possibility of being dragged out of your seat for the purposes of entertainment? Absolutely.
The tone of the afternoon was well handled with the emphasis on cheeky fun rather than full-out raunch. Polly Rae of the Hurly Burly Show, formerly in the West End, closed each half with a nimble and coquettish display.
If you are after a first rate afternoon tea, you might not come to Volupté. But for a decent spread and some charming entertainment before heading on elsewhere, it comes highly recommended.
9 Norwich Street
Tel: 020 7831 1622