If Lewis Carroll was alive and just happened to design outstanding afternoon tea experiences then he would surely have had a hand in Selfridges latest venture. As I enter the Express Lift in Perfumery on the Ground Floor, I’m greeted by a guide who takes me up 6 floors to the roof in the Express Elevator and I start thinking about Roald Dahl. As I leave the lift, I begin to think of Tim Burton as I’m met by an astro-turfed corridor bedecked with colourful bunting, truly trippy cartoons and cups and saucers stuck to the walls.
Welcome to The Big Rooftop Tea & Golf Party– part of the Big British Bang, the store’s homage to the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics.
I arrive in a downpour which seems quite alien after a mini heatwave, but nothing will dampen this spectacular and totally unexpected production on the roof of the Oxford Street department store. Golf umbrellas are quickly opened, awnings wound out and umbrellas, open for shade earlier in the day, become a haven from the stair-rods firing down from the heavens. It’s not long though before the sun is back out bathing the rooftop in glorious heat.
Daylesford café have created an afternoon tea menu with all produce sourced from their Farm. Salads and savouries include the open Aberdeen Angus beef sandwich with mustard creme fraiche, red onion chutney and market garden leaves (£9.95), there are salads with Greek-style cheese (made on their farm) and I tried the Severn and Wye Smoked Salmon, chopped with red onion, capers, egg yolk and parsley with pumpernickel bread and Sicilian lemons (£10.95). I can vouch that it is truly delicious.
There are boards and sharing plates with their award-winning cheeses all served with sourdough bread and their own harvest chutney and grapes (£10.95). A ploughman’s with cheeses and ham (£12.95) and a sharing platter of cured meats with olive and pickles (£14.95).
When I return I’ll definitely be ordering the afternoon tea. Fruit scones straight from the farm bakery, served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Hand-made Bakewell tart and a variety of finger rolls with smoked salmon and cucumber with egg mayonnaise. You can choose to have it with tea or with champagne (£17.95 or £28.95). For two (£30.95/£55.95).
Talking of drinks, I can say they mix a great Pimms and lemonade up here (£9.95/£26.95 jug) but more impressively are the wines on offer.
Daylesford’s sister estate is Chateau Leoube in Provence. The vineyards are biodynamic and produce rose, red and white wines all in the heart of the protected site of Cape Bénat, warmed up by the day’s sunshine – over 3000 hours per year – and cooled down by sea breezes at night. (£6.95/£27.00) There’s also Prosecco and rose Frizzante and are produced for Daylesford by a small family run vineyard in Italy. (£6.50/£22.50)
There are, of course, soft drinks – expect organic, traditional, and teas and coffees along with beers and cider.
I also tried a mini-bowl of their delicious seasonal berries with pouring cream (£5.95) Lauren tells me that they’re growing some of the strawberries up here on the roof.
In fact, when you take a closer look, the foliage planted around the place is in fact food – rhubarb, mint, strawberries and salad leaves. But then you remember that Daylesford have been farming organically for over 30 years with the simple aim of producing the best food. Fresh, seasonal and more importantly tasty.
They’ve been rewarded for this passion with over 100 awards in the last three years which is testament to their farm to fork ethos. The farm is home to animals, their market garden, bakery, creamery and kitchens.
You can expect some Daylesford favourites too chocolate brownie (£5.75), Early grey fruit cake (£5.75), moist wheat free almond cake(£5.75) , lemon drizzle cake (£5.75) carrot cake with mascarpone icing (£6.25) and a Bakewell Tart (£5.75). Daylesford have given the summer berries the jelly makeover. Collaborating with the jellymongers, Bompass and Parr they’ve created a gin, violet and elderflower jelly (£3.95). You won’t see a St Paul’s jelly when you arrive, that was merely for us press, but you will get one of the miniature ones which surround it. It’s all to tie in with the other experience on a roof which was once full of a/c units. Daylesford have also worked with B&P on a 9-hole golf course which you can admire if you’re not admiring the London skyline.
It’s not the first time Selfridges have played golf at the store, in the 1930’s there was a mini-golf course in the same place.
A 2,530 sq ft space is now full of London landmarks, designed to look like a giant display of cakes. From Buckingham Palace (hole 7) to St Paul’s Cathedral (hole 4). If you get a whiff of Bakewell Tart, you’ll wonder if it’s coming from the café. It’s not a dessert on the menu, it’s being expelled by the “cakes”.
Opening hours from noon until the store closes.
Buy tickets for the crazy golf here. Tickets for July will be released on Friday 15 June, tickets for August will be released on Friday 13 July and tickets for September will be released on Friday 17th August at noon. If you want to take a chance you can visit the roof entrance lift in the Fragrance Hall on the Ground Floor and the lift host will advise about current golf availability. Walk up sessions will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.