An inviting fragrant floral scent lured us in from the main foyer of this modern Mayfair hotel into The Wellington Lounge for our winter’s afternoon tea experience.
Boasting views of the iconic Wellington Arch and set on the desirable location of London’s Park Lane, this property was also once the site of a royal residence. So, rather fittingly, we went for the Royal Tea option out of the three menus available. With this particular teatime treat, long-time favourites are freshly made using British ingredients.
We started off with a glass of champagne presented in an elegantly tall, slim flute but the Royal Tea actually begins with a Dubonnet cocktail – apparently the Queen’s favourite choice of tipple.
Very soon, a dainty selection of pretty English classics arrived on a silver tiered stand. Delicate finger bites of honey roasted ham with English mustard, free-range coronation chicken, mango and coriander cress and Speyside smoked salmon, cucumber, lemon and black pepper tempted our tastebuds. We eagerly sampled the Scottish lobster and shrimp with Sevruga caviar and fresh dill hen egg and cress in carrot bread. We also selected two teas to taste with our plates: The Wellington (the hotel’s bespoke hearty, robust, slightly malty blend created by executive chef Paul Bates in association with modern tea emporium The Tea Palace) and one of my must-have brews, Earl Grey.
Moving up to the middle, second tier of our stand, we spooned out dollops of Devon clotted cream and strawberry preserve onto our utterly light and fine textured warm sultana and buttermilk scones. They were the most deliciously baked scones we’ve tasted in a long time.
After a short pause, we took time to relish in the mini desserts: marzipan wrapped Battenberg cake, coffee mousse and walnut torte and royally, a Queen Victoria sponge with vanilla cream and strawberry jelly, followed by raspberry Eton mess shortbread.
Taking inspiration from London’s Hyde Park that this hotel overlooks, there is also the Botanical Tea, which mixes citrus, berries, spices, and herbaceous botanicals for a taste of spring.
This is a truly exquisite afternoon tea not to be missed.
For more information on the Intercontinental Park Lane, London : www.intercontinental.com
By Reena Patel