All bloggers will be able to relate to that feeling of occasionally longing to switch off; being able to enjoy a riverside, moonlit stroll with a loved one without pondering over which filter lends the most ambient lighting; being able to devour a well-defined, sugar-crafted cupcake without feeling the urge to snap it from five different angles.
In our pre-blogging lives, these simple traits were a given but nowadays, I find it almost impossible to detach my blogging brain from such moments. When my very good friend suggested an afternoon tea meet up, as she had not been for a couple of years, I promptly agreed. There was really no need for me to remind her (or myself) that I had already well exceeded my quota for the year with the 24 Karat Gold Tea, the BB Bakery Tea Bus and a flower arranging afternoon tea.
I tend to only feature afternoon teas on the blog if they are quirky in some way, an unusual location or a novel theme or activity for example but this time, my plan was just to enjoy the afternoon, free of photos and without my writer’s hat on.
When I got there and saw the display below, though, the plan went awry.
“Alright, alright”, I pathetically reassured myself. “It’s only a few photographs. It’s not like I’m actually going to be blogging about this one…”
However, this week is Afternoon Tea Week, my cake-loving friends, so it would be plain rude not to share right?! Perhaps it is time I face the music. I’m Shikha and I’m addicted to blogging. No, I don’t think it’ a problem and no, I don’t want any help 😀
Afternoon Tea at the Intercontinental
After we were seated in the Wellington Lounge, our helpful waitress told us about the two choices of tea, either the standard, traditional option, which was a little cheaper or their new, specially created Scents of Sumer Afternoon Tea.
The concept behind this was to bring a sense of the outdoors indoors, encompassing textures, tastes, smells and sights onto their summery platform and after a fleeting glance of the menu, we were both sold. They have even gone so far as to collaborate with master perfumers Floris London to create floral fragrances that are spritzed around the table in between courses to invoke again, the scents of summer.
Cocktails are not included in the price of the tea but against the backdrop of a toasty, sun-kissed day in London, the uplifting notes of the cucumber mocktail were almost imperative and with a graceful clink of our borderline-anorexic champagne flutes, we started off our week in style.
Before our sandwiches made their grand entry, these blasts of green goodness were delivered to refresh the palate. Now, as a non drinker, I’m not used to shots but I suspect these grassy cups with strawberry pearls are a tad more vitamin-infused than their sambuca and tequila counterparts!
The spiral sandwiches came with fillings as lavish as salmon and bergamot and breads as creative as lemon and spinach with both style and substance marrying together beautifully. At so many afternoon teas, the sandwiches are the culprits letting down the team and credit to the chefs at the InterContinental for producing such moist, enticing delicacies. In a rare turn of events, I think the sandwiches were my overall highlight.
Prior to our pastries and following a bit more perfume wizardry, the mini buttermilk scones arrived and even though clotted cream and jam will always be a winning formula for me (why fix it if it ain’t broken,) the Earl Grey butter certainly got me experimenting.
I also appreciated the way in which they proactively offered us a chance to try a different tea with each course, making helpful suggestions about which options best complement the dishes on offer.
The Scents of Summer Dessert Pastries
The more masterpieces I see from pastry chefs ,the more I realise that they must possess the skills of both chefs and fine arts masters, such was the allure of the dessert platter that followed. With everything from the peach melba mousse resembling fruit in an orchard to the floral, bergamot macarons strewn on a bed of chocolate mud and edible pebbles, it was almost too attractive to tuck into. And any residual guilt I may have had over succumbing to photography was rapidly allayed when my friend, who is independent of the blogging and social media world, could be spotted doing exactly the same thing!
They kindly offered to package up the leftovers for us but frankly, we were every bit as stuffed as the pink peppercorn and thyme chicken sandwich they had served and we called it a day there. Following their floral flavours and summertime spread, we left feeling energised and revitalised as we strolled down Park Lane. If only all working weeks started off like this!
What are your top spots for afternoon tea in London?
34 thoughts on “The Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea at InterContinental Hotel, London”
I don’t think you should restrict yourself with a quota… no need to be so cruel! But in all seriousness, I really rate a place that offers you different teas with each course because sometimes I want a dark milky number with my savouries then switch to a white or fruit tea with my sweets!
Yes!! It makes such a difference having a lighter tea with the sweeter courses I find and it’s lovely how proactive they were with offering that! I think that’s raised the bar for all the others now though Connie
Lol Shikha, quotas are meant to be broken. What a beautiful afternoon tea, great colours. It would have been rude and near on impossible to resist a few photos. xx
Zoe | Love and Limoncello
Exactly! That’s what I told myself Zoe about the photos! Unfortunately, o hardly need much persuasion to break quotas like this – definitely not good for me in the long run though – more self discipline needed!
Hard not to take photos in those circumstances! I loved the guilt free afternoon tea at the Intercontinental, and this one looks equally good
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
I remember seeing posts about that guilt free tea Suze and it looked fab! The Intercontinental certainly know how to put on a good show don’t they?!
The first step in any journey is admitting you have a “problem”. Welcome to the tea drinkers society of blog addicts 😉 Sounds lovely!
Haha, it’s a long road of recovery ahead of me Emma but I’m glad you are there for moral support ☺
Looks so freaking good! Those pastries look like little paintings! 🙂
Haha, that’s actually a pretty good description Meghan of the pastry platter! It was a delicious afternoon tea ☺
Shika, I feel you, I become physically incapable of not photographing pretty food!
Lots of love,
Thank you for the reassurance Angie! It would have been plain rude not to photograph it when it’s so attractive right?!
It’s hard to take off your professional hat and just be free :-). Travel writing and blogging is “work” (a passion?) – but we probably get to enjoy our experiences for longer, as we’re happily reminded of them when we review photos and write the stories afterward. The tea looks scrumptious, by the way…
That’s a WONDERFUL way to look at it Janice and George! That’s actually why I started blogging and writing and why I still feel so passionate about it so perhaps I needn’t feel too guilty for getting back into my writer’s mode during this delicious tea! ☺
thats some seriously brightly coloured food and drink!
Haha, it was a really summery, colourful display Andrew!
Those desserts are soooo beautiful! It’s all so instagrammable!
C x | Lux Life
Oh SOO instagrammable Catherine – almost every item made for a perfect insta pic! But it’s always such a lovely when the taste matches the appearance too!
Id’ totally be the same. How could you *not* take photos of such a beautiful Afternoon Tea. Defo one for the list! x
Precisely Char, all my intentions went out the window when I saw how beautiful it is – highly recommend it for your next tea escapade – it was fabulous! ☺
This looks so gorgeous and even if you’re not a blogger, like your friend, I think it would be pretty impossible not to take photos of this masterpiece! I don’t think it’s a case of you being addicted to blogging though Shikha, I 100% think it’s an afternoon tea addiction 😉
Haha, guilty as charged Ayla – on both counts! 😉 It definitely made me feel better that my friend was snapping away too, made me realise it isn’t just the blogger in me but rather the normal person in me that was finding it all so pretty!
Oh! That is just too pretty to eat! Who am I kidding! Hahahaha! Loving the pinwheel sarnies and I totally want to try Earl Grey butter!
Happy Afternoon Tea Week!
Hehehe, yes I also found myself thinking it was too pretty to eat Rachael – then gobbling it up a couple of minutes later regardless!
What a great tea, I’d not seen this one before! How much longer is it running for? Knowing my luck I’ve probably missed it. I think this is quirky enough that it definitely should be included on the blog! 😉 Keri x
I’m not sure what the time frame on it is Keri though the menus and tea options are all on the Wellington Lounge section of tea Intercontinental website so you could probably get more info there and if you do get a chance, I’d highly recommend it! It’s quirky and pretty but totally delivering on taste which is often a hard combo to find at some of these teas I think! And thanks for the support – people seem to be liking the look of it so I’m glad I blogged about it ultimately ☺
I love this twist on the afternoon tea! I am also a bit of an afternoon tea addict (no bad thing 😉 ) and I’m always trying to find unusual ones. May need to check this out!
From one afternoon tea addict to another, this is definitely novel, Emily! The desserts were so pretty which you can hopefully see in the pics but it’s really quite impressive to make mini sandwiches this unique with a quirky shape, bread flavour and filling!
I went to a different restaurant in the Intercontinental recently and the cake was AMAZING. They’re got good things going on inside those walls, I tell you!
Totally agree Frankie, there are some genius sugar fairies lurking in their walls!
I’m sorry but I think you will have to break your quota in November 😀 I really want to go to an afternoon tea with you, after all you are the afternoon tea lady 😉
Haha, oh dear, I’m going to end up with a very chubby lady if I am now known as the afternoon tea lady! As it turns out, I have another one this weekend! Maybe you’re right, maybe I’m a bit addicted but don’t worry, I will happily break my afternoon tea quota for our meet up in November
hahahaha see?? But that’s not a bad thing, afternoon teas are awesome anyways. And soon you will be an expert 😀
I can’t wait for November, it will be great to meet you!