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Friday 14 May 2010

Tea and Tassels at Volupté

Here at Domestic Sluttery we've had more than our fair share of afternoon teas. However we've never previously tried to combine them with a spot of burlesque. Really, the thought alone could be enough to make you choke on your cucumber sandwiches. However, Volupté, an intimate basement space, tucked away near London's Chancery Lane, successfully combines the two on Saturdays when the lounge opens its doors for afternoon tea. Depending on what Saturday you go, you either get to see the Tea and Tassels or the Afternoon Tease show: both serve up a helping of glamorous burlesque and cabaret entertainment as a delicious accompaniment to your tea and cake.

For £35 visitors are provided with a selection of sandwiches, scones, cakes, tea or coffee and a glass of champers, alongside an afternoon's worth of entertainment.The high quality show includes the burlesque dancers as well as a singer, a live band and even a magician. The performances total a good couple of hours, with just one interval for a loo and cigarette break, so you definitely feel you are getting your money's worth. Trying to eat while scantily clad ladies dance past you may sound slightly intimidating but, thanks to the pretty boudoir style décor of the venue and the friendliness of the staff, it really isn't. When Alex S and I ventured down to Tea and Tassels, the venue was filled with civilised hen party groups, SATC-style cocktail quaffers (the delicious sounding cocktails cost extra) and a scattering of couples, helping create a fun, giggly atmosphere. The event was really targeted at women - any brave men in the audience quickly became targets in the show - and, for the whole afternoon, the entertainment was perfectly pitched on the side of cheeky rather than rude.

We were slightly concerned that having the full roster of entertainment would lead to slightly lesser standards in the food but our fears proved to be ill-founded. The tea was very tasty - from nicely moist sandwiches to delicious warm scones. 'Haven't they got lovely figures? How do they stay so thin?' I marvelled to Alex while watching some of the lovely burlesque stars, meanwhile covering my scone in the generous amount of cream and jam provided. By the time the patisserie selection came round even greedy old me was too full to finish the plate.

My main criticism is that because (understandably) chatting is discouraged during the performance, it's perhaps not the best suited to a good catch up with old friends, though you'll certainly have plenty to talk to them about after it's finished. After our afternoon of entertainment, we ventured out into the grey London light a bit dazed from the sweet food and pretty ladies. The rest of my weekend could never live up to Tea and Tassels' glamour.

Volupté is located at 9 Norfolk Street, London, EC4A 1EJ. Nearest tube is Chancery Lane. You need to book in advance for both Tea and Tassels (second and last Saturdays of the month) and Afternoon Tease (first and third Saturdays of the month).

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