Hotels offer creative interpretations of afternoon teas

Hotel afternoon teas have often tended to be pomp-and-circumstance affairs with traditional menus consisting of scones, dainty sandwiches and bite-size pastries. Some properties today, though, are doing away with the predictability by offering creative interpretations of the classic pastime.

The WestHouse Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, for example, has a new buffet-style afternoon tea exclusively for guests in its lobby lounge. The spread changes daily but may include chilled pea soup in shot glasses and Mediterranean spreads such as tzatziki with watermelon radish slices for dipping. Unlimited Champagne and cocktails made with cocoa liquor, blackcurrant bitters and orange peel are part of the service. Free for guests. Rooms from $490 a night.

The Maidstone in East Hampton, New York, has a Scandinavian-themed tea in a nod to Swedish owner Jenny Ljungberg and highlights food she grew up eating, such as gravlax and cucumber sandwiches and princess cake — vanilla sponge cake with whipped cream, raspberry jam and mascarpone cheese ($25 a person, $38 with a glass of Champagne).

Vegans can partake the afternoon tea that the Peninsula Beverly Hills serves with a day’s notice. Executive chef David Codney changes the menu monthly, but Indian-spiced chickpeas on naan bread and a grated jackfruit tart were recent bites ($60 with a glass of sparkling wine).

In London, several hotels have a fresh take on tea.

The Lanesborough recently introduced the Belgravia Lifestyle Afternoon Tea. The menu includes gluten-free scones and sandwiches in unexpected flavors such as smashed avocado with chilies (48 pounds — about $71 at $1.47 to the pound — per person, including a glass of Champagne).

The Halkin has a Spanish-style Ametsa Afternoon Tea created by the Michelin-starred chef Sergio Sanz Blanco. Savory tapas like pork croquettes and sweets such as chocolate churros are part of the options (26 pounds per person, 36 pounds with a glass of cava).

And the Milestone Hotel has a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea catered to men with mini-bites of pork pies and Cornish pasties, bacon scones and a brandy-soaked berry tart (42 pounds, 62 pounds with a whiskey flight).