Lonely Planet Writer

Taste Banksy’s iconic 'Girl with a Balloon' at Rosewood London’s Art Afternoon Tea

Pastry chefs have been known to spin sugar into edible works of art, but a new afternoon tea in London is taking that concept one step further. Rosewood London recently debuted Art Afternoon Tea, inspired by five of the world’s most renowned modern artists, including Yayoi Kusama, Alexander Calder, Mark Rothko, Damien Hirst, and Banksy.

Banksys iconic 'Girl with a Balloon' in confectionery form.
Banksys iconic ‘Girl with a Balloon’ in confectionery form. Image by Rosewood London

The brainchild of Rosewood’s Executive Pastry Chef Mark Perkins, each artist’s work is deliciously represented in dessert form. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is the inspiration for a milk chocolate mousse with passion fruit crémeux, covered in a yellow glaze and chocolate dots similar to her famed pumpkin sculptures. A white chocolate tart celebrates English artist Damien Hirst — the colorful dots reminiscent of his series of spot paintings, and a coconut sponge cake layered with raspberry in boxy shapes and vivid shades of red recall abstract expressionist Mark Rothko’s oil paintings.

Known for his graceful mobiles, sculptor Alexander Calder is represented by a delicate pistachio and cherry cake finished with a vibrant coat of red chocolate, while the elusive street artist Banksy’s iconic Girl With a Balloon is shrunken down to adorn a white chocolate cube filled with a vanilla, chocolate, and caramel.

‘I explored a variety of London’s most unique art galleries and researched multiple styles of art from the classics to modern and contemporary art,’ Perkins explained to Lonely Planet. ‘I felt modern art offered more variance – the vibrant colours and shapes lent themselves to being recreated in pastry form. Rosewood London has a strong focus on sense of place so I chose to select artists represented in the capital and spent many afternoons visiting galleries such as the Tate Modern and the Victoria Miro Gallery.’

Some proved to be more challenging to construct than others, noted the pastry chef. ‘Calder was the most technically difficult to replicate as there is a mobile effect involved. The Calder piece went through multiple versions before I settled upon the final sculptural pastry.’

Served in the hotel’s elegant, art-adorned Mirror Room, the classic British tea also features a selection of finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones served with clotted cream, lemon curd, and homemade strawberry jam, and is priced at £45/$56 per person.