‘Guiltless’ Afternoon Tea at the Intercontinental

The brand new ‘Guiltless’ Afternoon Tea in the Intercontinental’s Wellington Lounge is as delicious as it is wholesome

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It’s still freezing cold, getting dark before we’ve left work and God knows how many mince pies we ate over the festive period. So the idea of tucking in to an indulgent afternoon tea spread is bound to fill most of us with a sense of self-loathing. Thankfully, the Intercontinental has pre-empted this with its new Guiltless Afternoon Tea served in the serene Wellington Lounge of its Park Lane hotel; a sumptuous space that lends a real feel of elegance and sophistication, and whose named was inspired by its location looking out over Apsley House (the Duke of Wellington‘s residency) and Wellington Arch.

After being welcomed and shown to our prime window seat, we begin to peruse the new ‘Guiltless’ menu. Free of refined sugar and using all natural nutrient-filled ingredients, it has all the delight of a traditional blow-out afternoon tea while also being health-conscious and wholesome. It can also be tailored to any dietary requirements including gluten and dairy free. The staff are attentive to the perfect degree, always on-hand but subtly so, so there’s no need to try to explain that everything is just perfect with your mouth full of food.

Cocktail
The ‘Guiltless’ cocktail

We choose to start with our ‘Guiltless’ cocktail, which turns out to be a delicious combination of Cane Rum, fennel, lime juice and agave syrup. Already feeling a little tipsy (there is no shame in being a total lightweight), we move on to the actual tea. A pot of Lapsang Souchong and a pot of Darjeeling arrive swiftly, accompanied by an explanation of the teas available and brewing techniques. The award-winning team at the Wellington Lounge brew adapt the menu according to the seasons (White tea is particularly good in May and June apparently) so the tea offered will always be at its freshest and most fragrant, and is brewed before being served with the strainer removed to ensure the perfect blend.

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Basil marinated Manouri cheese

Then comes a tiered smorgasbord celebrating the produce of the English counties, with seasonal veg such as nettle marinated asparagus and thyme roasted butternut. The crispy celeriac on top of smoked aubergine and roasted piquillio pepper was a firm favourite, as was the Basil marinated Manouri cheese with cucumber, apple relish. So much so that, I’m ashamed to admit, we greedily ask for another plate of just those, despite the vast amount of food we’ve already consumed.

The selection of cakes includes a beautifully light blueberry & yoghurt chiffon cake with fresh blueberries, Manuka honey and yoghurt, a flourless chocolate and mint cake, a red velvet cake made with quinoa, and wholemeal scones served with crème fraîche and homemade fresh fruit compote. All in all, a wonderful afternoon. And we leave feeling just the right side of full up.

The ‘Guiltless’ Afternoon Tea is available for £40pp (minimum of two persons). For more information please visit the website.

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