The Travelling Pixie in London
My first ever Afternoon Tea Experience – Intercontinental Hotel Wellington Lounge
The other day I was going through my old photos on my phone, all the way back to 2011 (I think!), and I found quite a few photos of my first ever afternoon tea experience – ah, the memories!
It was my first year in London, and as the afternoon tea frenzy just started, I couldn’t help but keep on hearing friends’ recommendations of good afternoon tea across London. So I decided to give it a try and booked for a reservation at the Intercontinental Hotel. I had absolutely no idea what an ‘afternoon tea’ was, plus what was all the hype about anyway? But despite all my doubts about afternoon tea, I went to Intercontinental Hotel one fine afternoon and had one of the best experiences of my life!
I entered the tea lounge, and the first thing I noticed was the tranquil atmosphere. Yes I did just use ‘tranquil’ to describe a hotel lobby, but it definitely was tranquil! The warm rays of the sun, the huge comfy sofa seats, plus the spacious tall ceiling. It all added to my preparation of a pampered afternoon.
I looked at the menu, and decided to go for the Silver Needle tea blend, which in retrospect I realised that the Silver Needle tea in Intercontinental Hotel was the reason for my preference in white tea in the future. It was one of the best tea I’ve had in London – the Earl Grey and English Breakfast are just not my cups of tea!
As I was indulging in my delightful experience of ‘drinking tea’, the tea tower arrived! Ohmygod was I surprised! No wonder people loved having afternoon teas, it looked absolutely amazing (not to mention mouth-watering), I couldn’t help but take out my iPhone and snap some photos – something I have never done before prior to this tea set! (Intercontinental Hotel, not only did you take my first afternoon tea experience, but you took my first food-ography snap too!)
I patiently listened to our waitress explain what the sandwiches are – meanwhile staring intently at the food, then eagerly stuffed a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich in my mouth when she turned to leave. Oh gosh! The soft bread, the creamy cheese, the succulent salmon – I am in Heaven! The most perfect bite sized sandwiches I’ve ever had. As I finished my last sandwich, and was staring sadly at the now empty tier of the tower, the friendly waitress came up to me and said, ‘Would you like another helping of sandwiches? We do not charge refills.’ My eyes lit up, and screamed in my heart ‘OH GOSH YES PLEASE!’, but I composed myself, and politely said, ‘Yes please, I’d very much like some more of the salmon and the prawn sandwiches.’
After two refills I was stuffed – but then, the scones came. Oh how delightful! the warm scones with clotted cream, I’ve never had a scone before, and I never knew they could taste so good! I stuffed myself with another two scones and decided to move on to the dessert tier! and yet again – OHMYGOD – I’ve never had better desserts! The white chocolate mousse was my favourite – yes white chocolate as usual! This experience just led me to fall into the love trap of the English Afternoon Tea. This love started four years ago and I believe that we still have a long way to go. Now I’m always on the constant lookout for great afternoon tea places in London – but this first experience was simply unforgettable.
Back then, the tea set was £22 per person (plus an unlimited refill of sandwiches) – I’d say it is a VERY good deal!
Sadly, I went back to the Intercontinental hotel a little more than a year ago, and honestly speaking, the food wasn’t as nice as my first visit. Plus they didn’t have an unlimited refill of sandwiches anymore! However, I’d say that the ambience itself is worth going for, a relaxing afternoon at the Intercontinental Hotel with a few close girl friends – who could say no to that right?
One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7QY
Yum Factor: 9/10
Book here: http://www.afternoontea.co.uk/uk/london/mayfair/intercontinental-london-park-lane/