Celebrating the ‘scents of summer’ isn’t a hard ask for anyone in England, here any sights, smells, sniffs of summer are eagerly awaited and it’s all we can do to stop ourselves leaping into the air clicking our heels at the sight of the sun.
So it’s a no-brainer to sample this tea, especially when invited by the afternoon tea gourmet queen herself, Kelly from Around the world in 80 pairs of shoes.
The Wellington lounge is airy, pretty and as one might expect for summer, laden with flowers.
We start proceedings off with wheatgrass shots with rose pearls and hints of strawberry, while this leads to initial panic (do they really expect us to drink that!) it turns out they know what they’re doing, it’s delicious and doesn’t taste of grassy sludge at all, which let’s face it, is what most wheatgrass shots usually taste like.
Tea maestro Luigi talks us into sparkly cucumber cocktails, which hardly took any arm twisting at all and walked us through the selection of teas, explaining the qualities of each and what foods they go best with and what courses we should be pairing our teas with. I’m not a tea aficionado I must admit, so I stick to my favourite Earl Grey which is rather a waste of his talents – there is clearly not much this man doesn’t know about the humble tea leaf!
Now usually in an afternoon tea, all the wow and glamour is saved for the sweet course – there’s not much you can say about sandwiches, but this is where we are pleasantly surprised again. The sandwiches are a true delight for the eyes and senses, there’s smoked salmon and bergamot infused cream cheese on lemon bread, rose pickled cucumber and mascarpone on Peruvian bread, peppercorn thyme chicken with mayo and cucumber on tomato bread and honey roast pumpkin with feta on spinach bread. Aren’t you feeling hungry now reading about all these scrummy fillings?
The bread isn’t gluten free though so for Kelly they’ve used the same toppings, but used their gluten free bread, which I’m happy to say meets Kelly’s exacting standards.
On the sweetie front, we have a whole heap of delights – the ubiquitous scones of course are both standard and sultana flavoured and come with the usual strawberry jam accompaniment but also clotted cream, earl grey butter and lemon curd. I like that there’s a bit more on offer than just the usual two offerings of jam and cream, I’m not usually a fan of lemon curd so I bypass this and the earl grey butter is perfectly subtle.
But the true true piece de resistance is this absolute masterpiece of a platter that arrives in front of us – it has all sorts of divine things on it! Bergamot macaroons, peach melba mousse, jasmine tea cake and a terracotta pot of rose water and peppercorn jelly and strawberry mousse. A sugary treat for all the senses.
With Luigi’s attentive service and the beautiful spread before us, we have a stellar afternoon tea experience and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend! Get in there, summer won’t last long you know!
The InterContinental Park Lane can be found at One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY. It’s walking distance from Hyde Park Corner. The afternoon tea is available in the Wellington Lounge for £45 and will last until 27th September 2015. You can take a peek at the menu here.