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Wellington Lounge at The InterContinental
for Afternoon Tea and Summer
London is acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful
cities in the world. It’s been a magnet for tourists for generations.
Plenty of celebrated museums, and all free, galleries to admire, and
then there is always retail therapy, and that has never gone out of
Yes, we have famous buildings by the score and our green spaces are
loved by local and visitor alike. Hyde Park, Green Park, Kensington
Gardens and Regents Park have great appeal when the sun shines.
Tourists enjoying a stroll, mums with energetic toddlers and office
workers snatching some rays all take advantage of an hour or so of
But what do we think of when we consider a traditional English summer?
Taking a boat trip on the Thames? Some open-air concerts? A picnic?
Perhaps all of the above, and if you are fortunate enough to be staying
at InterContinental on Park Lane then you can pamper yourself with a
bespoke picnic to enjoy at any outside event or even while your
riverboat motors under Tower Bridge and past the Houses of Parliament.
Picnics aren’t necessarily just a showcase for curly cheese-and-pickle
sarnies. Executive Chef Paul Bates offers some of his favourite foods
for the delicious alfresco menu:
Roasted ratatouille, cous cous and chorizo
Chicken salad, shredded and tossed in sherry-hazelnut vinegar dressing
Tuna-salmon sashimi, wasabi and ginger
Lightly poached lobster, mango-basil salsa
Mixed leaf, cos, rocket, mache, sweet cherry tomatoes, bell peppers
Palm heart, artichoke and avocado, light garlic dressing
Sharphams rustic (hard cheese)
This season's pear chutney
Sinful chocolate fudge brownie
English bakewell tart
Large still or sparkling water.
But there are those rare days (yeah, right) when the sky is grey from
edge to edge and there might even be the
threat of rain. Tourists should note that it’s almost guaranteed to
rain for Wimbledon Tennis or any international cricket match. Nothing
worse than damp grass when one is looking for a spot to consume
delicious deli fare and some sweet pastries, so consider the
alternative venue of a traditional afternoon tea in the classy shelter
of the InterContinental’s Wellington Lounge.
The ground floor of this popular hotel has undergone a complete
makeover. It’s now light and bright with soft taupe and powder-sage
hues. The picture windows offer vistas that are typical of this
remarkable corner of London: red buses, black London taxis, iconic
architecture and views across to Wellington Arch and Hyde Park. The
decor has been designed to “bring the outside in” and it does that in
the most attractive fashion.
Try the hotel's own designer Wellington Blend tea, created by Executive
Chef Paul Bates in conjunction with Modern Tea Emporium. The tea
selection is a delicious companion to the spread of delicate delights.
Even the crockery is new and mimics the geometric design on carpets and
soft furnishings. The afternoon is an event, attracting both
Intercontinental guests and those who are just passing. It’s a hotel
that is famed for its quality cuisine at the Cookbook Café, and
now in the Lounge.
There are several ‘Teas’ available in Britain. You will see restaurants
and cafés offering different ‘teas’ appropriate to the time of
day. Traditionally, the upper classes would take ‘afternoon tea’ around
four o'clock. A ‘cream tea’ is a lighter version of this. The middle
and lower classes would have a more substantial ‘high tea’ a little
later in the day, at five or six o'clock, in place of dinner. Working
classes had dinner at lunch time and tea nearer dinner time. Sunday
lunch was always a full dinner, when high tea might be replaced by
Afternoon Tea Menu
Speyside smoked salmon, cucumber linguini and Sevruga caviar. A
traditional topping with a twist.
Rare roasted sirloin of beef, Piccalilli, chives and horseradish. Who
could visit Britain and not try some roast beef?
Steamed Devon red chicken, hen egg mayonnaise and baby red-stalk
sorrel. Flavourful and light.
West coast Scottish lobster, shrimps, olive oil tomato emulsion. Rich
and decadent and a showcase for some of the best seafood in these isles.
Sultana scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve are
served after the guest has consumed the lowest tier of the stand, the
savouries. Those scones and garnishes make a truly authentic treat
alone, and are usually described as a ‘cream tea’.
But Intercontinental provides a full Afternoon Tea, which is rounded
off with an overflowing top plate which one would have been gazing at
since the arrival of the cake stand. I guess it’s called ‘cake’ stand
to draw attention to the goods gracing the summit.
Vanilla and white chocolate cream profiterole.
Mango tranche with blackberry cream has full-on fruity flavour and one
can feel noble: it must count as one of your 5 a day.
Dark chocolate torte is slightly bitter and has a sophisticated adult
Preserved infused-fruit Madeira cake is old-fashioned and comforting.
All the above fancies, and some more, might be your reward for a hard
day spent touring on an open-top bus, beetling around on a Boris-bike,
hiking through designer boutiques and admiring historic sites. Enjoy
it. You deserve it.
Selection of teas, cakes, sandwiches and scones.
£25 per person
£35 per person with a glass of Champagne
Monday to Friday from 1pm to 5pm. At weekends two sittings: 1.30pm to
3.30pm and 4pm to 6pm.
Visit the InterContinental web site at here.