Ah, the glories of an English summer. Gardens spilling over with flowers. The scent of roses and freshly cut grass.
Long afternoons spent sipping champagne and eating cakes.
Well, that’s how we spent one perfect English summer day. The Mister and I were invited to the Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea at the Intercontinental Park Lane last weekend and I never say no to afternoon tea.
Executive Chef Ashley Wells collaborated with Edward Bodenham, the 9th generation of British Perfumers at Floris, to create an afternoon tea experience that “stirs the senses and celebrates the best of British summertime.” Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it?
Tea is served in the Wellington Lounge, a serene, intimate and relaxing spot overlooking Wellington Arch and Park Lane. Low slung, overstuffed chairs and settees. Tables set with delicate, silver-rimmed china , heavy linen tablecloths and sparkling three-tiered trays piled high with lovely things. Perfection.
The Mister and I settled in with two elegant flutes of Moët et Chandon and watched red London buses tootle by our window.
The parade of courses began with a lovely palate cleanser and perfectly crafted sandwiches, swirled like flower blossoms on china plates. A light rose pickled cucumber with mascarpone on Peruvian bread. Salmon and bergamot wrapped in lemon bread. A tomato bread spiral filled with pink peppercorn and thyme chicken and honey roast pumpkin and crumbled feta on a lovely spinach bread.
The tea menu offered so many exotic options, it was hard to choose just one. Jasmine Yin Zhen or Pai Mu Tan with Pink Rosebuds? A smokey Lapsang Souchong? A blend? Thankfully, Denisa, our server, offered suggestions and delivered a perfect pairing with every course.
Threads of beautiful Floris fragrances trail through the afternoon. Our server sprays a delicate scent around the table before different courses to enhance the tea experience…jasmine and bergamot, citrus and rose, all evocative of a British summer afternoon.
I’m always excited when scones arrive and our tray of warm, buttery mini-scones didn’t disappoint. For me, scones are just a way to deliver toppings to my mouth…wild strawberry jam, clotted cream, divine pink-peppercorn lemon curd or Earl Gray infused butter. I may have eaten a few spoonfuls of the lemon curd sans scone when no one was looking. Don’t tell.
The spectacular finale was a garden of tea-time delights. A peach melba mousse, a grapefruit and almond tart with violet cream (violet cream!) and the only macaroon I’ve ever enjoyed. A chocolate pot filled with rose water and pink peppercorn jelly and wild strawberry mousse sat among the summer berries and tiny chocolate garden stones.
Everything on this gorgeous tray was edible including the lovely pansies, if you felt so inclined. It was almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
It was hard to leave our table after such a beautiful afternoon. We left the Intercontinental, crossed into Green Park and ended our afternoon in park chairs watching the world go by. A perfect English summer afternoon indeed.
Rating: The Mister and I agreed that the Scents of Summer tea is the best afternoon tea we’ve had in London to date.
Things to Know
The Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea is served until 27 September 2015. Gluten free and other dietary options are available. Booking information here.
Wellington Lounge at InterContinental London Park Lane, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7QY
+44 (0)20 7409 3131 / +44 (0)20 7318 8509 | firstname.lastname@example.org
***The Mister and I were guests of InterContinental London Park Lane. As always, the views expressed in this post are my own. My opinions cannot be bought or exchanged for cake, tea or champagne. I may or may not be swayed by a good gin martini. Just ask The Mister.***
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