Two new afternoon teas have been added to the menu at the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel's Wellington Lounge. As chic and contemporary as the setting in which they are served, the Botanical Tea and the "Royal-Tea" are both creations of Executive Chef Paul Bates who combines the best of tradition with contemporary twists and comes up with an altogether enchanting decidedly civilized way to spend a spring day.
One worthy of a Diamond Jubilee, the Royal-Tea offers a selection of pretty English classics including mini Victoria Sponge and Eaton mess, and pays homage to the hotel's location on the site of 145 Piccadilly, the former childhood residence of Queen Elizabeth.
Taking the concept of afternoon tea to another level of luxury, the Botanical Tea is a very comfy and intensely elegant experience. And for those who want to have their dainty delicacies and eat them too, you'll be happy to know this tasteful yet playful tea is as artfully prepared as it is presented.
Service commences with a cardamom and vanilla infused Champagne cocktail followed by a “botanical drop palate cleanser” made with Kentish pears and sprinkled with juniper with lots more equally herbaceous, floral and fruity flavours after that. The tea's savouries provide more wallop than their crustless mini-sandwich confines might suggest. Smoked eel, horseradish, cucumber and apple relish yields big flavour as does nettle marinated asparagus rolled in Sirloin of beef. As you might imagine, Scottish lobster and shrimp with Sevruga caviar and fresh dill is a pleasurable morsel as well.
Citrus peel and buttermilk scones (served warm on our visit) are baked to perfection and remind the palate that even such a staid dish can still delight. Homemade quince preserve, strawberry jam and Devon clotted cream do them delicious justice. Onto the dessert service, coconut and fennel white chocolate torte is a particularly wow-worthy way to wrap things up.
As for the actual teas to available with the Royal-Tea and the Botanical, they too are a treat. There's a wide selection (16 in all). A couple of s (the Wellington and the Number one Park Lane) are only available at the Intercontinental, such as the Number One, a black tea of “Madagascan vanilla pods and marigold flowers,” it intrigued with every sip.
The Wellington Lounge is located in the lobby of the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY. Reservations for the afternoon teas are recommended.
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photo: Chris Osburn
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