There’s a new option on the menu at Jason Atherton’s Sosharu in Farringdon – afternoon tea with a twist. Developed by Emily Argent, the restaurant’s executive pastry chef, the afternoon tea takes inspiration from traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and ‘wagashi’ confectionery (which you might recognise from the food and drink emoji category).
Jason Atherton is known around London primarily for his ‘Social’ eateries – Pollen Street Social, Little Social, Social Eating house – so the Japanese influence might seem surprising, but Sosharu’s ethos is actually of a similar ilk to the business-casual style of his other restaurants. Based on Japan’s ‘Izakayas’, which are gastropub-like venues catering to an after-work crowd, Sosharu serves a refined menu of artfully-created small plates.
Alex Cracuin, the restaurant’s head chef, says: “Japanese sweets are so creative and visual that I felt inspired to develop a menu to showcase this unique element of the cuisine. Afternoon tea presents this opportunity perfectly.”
This meeting of influence is evident in structure of the tea: First comes a selection of savoury bites, including sashimi and a taco-like tempura fried seaweed shell filled with fresh fish. Next up is a sweet selection – matcha iced fingers, chocolate sesame praline Petit Gâteau with miso caramel and the oh-so-Instagrammable Taiyaki – a traditional cake filled with rhubarb and white chocolate crème-pat.
To go with these mouth-watering morsels, a selection of blended green teas are on offer (the kukicha with cherry blossom sure to be a firm favourite) as well as a pair of cocktails created by resident barman Robin Wilkie. Both options promise to deliver on the delicately-balanced, fragrant flavours that so many people love about Japanese cuisine.
Japan and England are linked by their love of tea, each culture building its own traditions and rituals around the serving and enjoyment of it. The two come together beautifully in this concept – each a unique approach to a shared passion.
Sosharu’s afternoon tea is available from 12noon until 4pm, Monday – Saturday. It’s priced at £28 a head, or £35 including a cocktail.
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