The InterContinental Park Lane has just launched its new Christmas afternoon tea and The Handbook chose a suitably cold and wintery afternoon to go and curl up in the Wellington Lounge and check it out.
Firstly the term ‘sink into a chair’ has never been more relevant than in the Wellington Lounge, the chairs engulf you in a sumptuous mass of cushions and soft material, had we the time, we would have never have left them, they were that inviting. But we weren’t there to review the chairs, (had we though top marks all around, 5 out of 5) the tea is inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas which I think is a wonderful idea. They could have so easily just produced an afternoon tea with miniature mince pies, little Christmas puddings and turkey sandwiches, and yet they haven’t, there isn’t so much as a sprinkling of cinnamon or a dollop of cranberry.
Intertwined and weaved into the menu are the lyrics of the carol; we started with a cocktail of champagne laced with whisky and pear liqueur (a partridge in a pear tree) and two warm flaky pies topped with Mountbatten estate partridge, morel mushroom and foie gras. Highlights included the Speyside salmon and Lord of Hundreds cheese sandwich (ten Lords a leaping) and the adorable swan shaped choux buns topped with strawberry cream and dried raspberry (seven swans a swimming). But for us the winner had to be the treacle tart topped with mango Chantilly cream and gold rings, it was sticky, dense and absolutely glorious.
The tea was delicious, the staff attentive and knowledgeable, apart from one slightly dry piece of bread there was nothing we could fault. The attention to detail was brilliant, and touches such as bringing out the scones after the sandwiches, so that they were fresh and still warm, makes the tea in a league of its own and definitely worth a visit this Christmas.