The new restaurant at the Royal Academy is an art lovers’ delight with golden-lit sculptures at the heart of the room and plush red armchairs in contrast to the slate floor. It’s very chic, very Parisian. The nuances of texture and colour are also reflected in the afternoon teas. “The Joshua” offers a choice of cold-cuts including fine-grained wild boar mortadella and country terrine, salami and dry cured ham. “The Royal”, meanwhile, offers fresh Mersea Island oysters, sea bass carpaccio, cured salmon and prawn cocktail. For those in search of tradition, “The Classic” has a daily changing assortment of finger sandwiches. Chocolate cake, banoffee tart and mini scones accompany all three on a three-tiered stand, with Cornish clotted cream, Peyton and Byrne jam and a berry trifle to the side. Let’s not forget the tea – with 15 black, green, white and herbal blends on offer, there’s plenty to choose from.
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD; tel. 0207 300 5608; www.royalacademy.org.uk. The Classic, Joshua and Royal Afternoon Teas are available from 3pm – 5.30pm daily at £16.50, £19.50, and £25 respectively. There is the option of upgrading with either prosecco (Manzanilla for Joshua) or champagne.