SCENTS OF SUMMER AFTERNOON TEA AT THE WELLINGTON LOUNGE
Scents of Summer with Yardley London
It was so lovely to be back at the Wellington Lounge so soon after my last visit. The InterContinental Park Lane is one of my favourite spots for Afternoon Tea and this is my fourth visit to the Wellington Lounge and I’m sure it won’t be my last.
This season, the Wellington Lounge have partnered with esteemed fragrance house, Yardley of London to bring an innovative Afternoon Tea inspired by the beautiful fragrances of Yardley. It’s a visually stunning multi-sensory experience using flavourful herbs, edible flowers and seasonal fruits and vegetables creating one of the most exciting and delicious Afternoon Tea’s I’ve had so far this year.
Established in 1770, award-winning Yardley of London have been one of the world’s leading fragrance experts for over 250 years capturing unique scents of the English countryside. They’re one of the oldest personal care brands in the world specialising in fragrances, cosmetics, and toiletries. The company became a major producer of soaps and perfumery at the beginning of the 20th century, and they now hold two Royal Warrants. Their signature scent English Lavendar became popular during the Victorian era and is still just as popular today featuring of course in the Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea.
It was lovely to see Catia and Aurelia again who were delightful hosts when I last had Afternoon Tea here during King Charles’ Coronation in May. The Wellington Lounge has such a relaxed vibe, it’s cosy and comforting as you look out on to a busy Hyde Park; the hustle and bustle of London is barely noticeable as you’re cocooned in the serenity of the Wellington Lounge.
Whole Rosebuds Tea
I was really looking forward to having the same teas as I had last time but instead of Earl Grey, I decided to have my daughter’s favourite, the beautifully scented “Whole Rosebuds”, the fragrant aroma of rose was the perfect choice for a Yardley themed Afternoon Tea. I was also looking forward to my favourite tipple, a glass of champagne but as this was a quintessentially British experience with the InterContinental’s partnership with Yardley, I thought it most appropriate to go for the Hattingley Valley English Sparkling Wine which is quite different to champagne, more Prosecco-ish but full of creamy bubbles and hit the champagne spot perfectly.
Originality is what the Wellington Lounge do so well; here we have a thoughtfully curated Afternoon Tea beautifully presented and visually exciting.
First to arrive was a striking looking vivid green palate cleanser in a shot glass, chilled young green pea and chive bisque with shallot crème fraiche sitting in a glass bowl with barley, edible flowers and rosemary. It was utterly divine, it was mild and creamy with the unmistakable scent of fresh green peas and it was incredibly addictive; I had a second, I loved it so much.
A second round of sandwiches or cakes is pretty standard in most Afternoon Teas and I like how Catia was always reminding me that I was welcome to have more of my favourites!
I paired my sandwiches with Darjeeling Director’s Reserve Namring Estate tea. I was quite boring on the tea front, If I was having black tea, it would only be English Breakfast or Assam but since my last visit, I’ve become quite accustomed to Darjeeling even buying a tin from Fortnum & Mason and this is totally down to Catia for convincing me to get out of my comfort zone the last time I was here.
I also really like Afternoon Blend which is a lighter interpretation of Breakfast Tea and varies from company to company. It’s usually a blend of Assam, Darjeeling, Keemun and Ceylon/Sri-Lanka and at Fortnum & Mason, their Afternoon Blend is mainly from Sri-Lanka. I like traditional tea leaves which I brew in a mini china pot for one; it’s my afternoon guilty pleasure where I take time out from writing and enjoy a proper cup of tea with a biscuit, what could be better! Back to the sandwiches, safe to say, they tasted just as good as they looked.
Spiced Royal Gala apple, green kohlrabi slaw with smoked aubergine purée
Slow-roasted Jerusalem artichoke. English peach with watercress honeyberry aioli
I loved that the Wagyu beef was thinly sliced and wrapped tenderly around the asparagus; the earthy charcoal bread made an appearance again and was the perfect match to the robust Jerusalem artichoke. I particularly liked the spiced Royal Gala apple and kohlrabi slaw which was an open sandwich and the halibut rillettes in the turmeric sandwich with caviar was perfection. What a magical start to my Afternoon Tea, I had no idea the deliciousness that was yet to come.
Before that though, the scones which I had with the No.1 Park Lane, a black tea from Sri-Lanka with notes of vanilla which is the perfect tea to have with scones or cake.
The scones were super soft as they always are at the Wellington Lounge; so tempting to have two which I never do because they’re so filling. There’s a choice of plain and Mandarin Orange served with luxurious Cornish clotted cream, British berries and vanilla jam and Kentish rhubarb and apple jam. I tried both jams which complemented the fruity citrus Mandarin in the scone. The No.1 Park Lane tea is such a great choice because it has notes of vanilla which only intensified the vanilla in the berry jam, it was all so delicious.
Did I tell you that the best was yet to come? I was completely wowed by the cakes, they looked sensational, and they tasted so. They were a pleasure to eat and stunning to look at, I sat there for a while just admiring them, they were so pretty sitting perfectly on the large round stone plate, the photos don’t do them justice. I wish I was able to have more but I simply had no room, they were some of the most delicious cakes I’d ever tasted.
Blueberry and English Lavender Éclair
Cherry Blossom-Poached Peach Tart
Champagne & Freesia Cube Cake
Bergamot Amalfi Lemon and Cassis Savarin
The éclair was a vision, the lavender though was a bit too subtle, I would have liked it to have made more of an impact. The peach tart was so pretty, the wafer-thin slices of peach were formed to depict the shape of a flower which was sitting on a flaky pastry base. This was definitely one of my favourites but so hard to choose because a close contender was the savarin.
The savarin is a yeasted French cake inspired by the baba au rhum (rum baba) which is always soaked in rum syrup; the savarin is a take on that with the same sweet moist sponge usually drenched in a fruit-based syrup such as Grand Marnier (orange) or without alcohol like the savarin here which is flavoured in a light bergamot and Amalfi lemon syrup with a layer of cassis gel and piped lemon cream and edible flowers. It was sublime, the savarin and baba is one of my favourite desserts to eat when I’m in Paris.
For me, the showstopper was definitely the champagne and freesia cube. Not only was it a dream to look at, it was elegant just like a bride draped in her delicate shimmering veil. The cake was covered in a barely-there glistening ivory cream gel-like icing and dotted with dainty specs of edible gold.
The champagne and freesia cake
It was sensational and for me the best cake on the menu and the most enjoyable part of the Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea. The centre was layers of luscious and creamy champagne cream, it was simply breathtaking!
I wish I had asked for a couple to take home with me, there’s always a tinge of sadness when I leave any Afternoon Tea but especially one at the Wellington Lounge.
Scents of the Summer Afternoon Tea is a wonderful interpretation of an English country garden. The flavours were tantalising, exciting and flavourful, it was a real treat to experience such a beautiful Afternoon Tea in the warm and inviting ambience of the Wellington Lounge. The InterContinental have done it again producing another exciting Afternoon Tea for the summer season and I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeve for the winter.
Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea is served throughout the summer at the Wellington Lounge priced at £62 per person or £78 with a glass of champagne or Hattingley Valley English Sparkling Wine.
Guests taking the Scents of Summer Afternoon Tea will also take home a goody bag from Yardley of London, which includes a signature English Lavender EDT (50ml), a set of Yardley fragrance vials, as well as an exclusive coupon for online purchase.