Afternoon Tea Online

Review: High Coffee at the InterContinental Park Lane

Having been for quite a few Afternoon Teas now, I was delightfully intrigued to be invited to try The Intercontinental Hotel’s High Coffee.  The first of its kind in London but already established and popular amongst the residents of Australia’s biggest cities.

High coffee is served in the Wellington Lounge, a modern and stylish room adorned with beautiful fresh flowers.  With floor to ceiling windows overlooking Hyde Park, you can unwind in comfort and watch the hustle and bustle of London unfolding outside.  A Pianist played the room giving the most relaxing and classy ambience.

We were greeted by our server and shown to our table, giving the extreme temperatures London is experiencing at the moment, I was hugely relieved to take a pew and let the air conditioning do it’s work!!  Olga was extremely informative and knew her stuff about Coffee, we were given a brief history and explanation as to why The Intercontinental was breaking into the High Coffee market.  Being a coffee lover, I had to agree that London was much overdue this ground-breaking alternative.

The High Coffee menu included 4 different coffees, all carefully chosen to compliment the flavours of each course.

My husband is vegetarian and quite often a vegetarian menu isn’t displayed as standard when you go for Afternoon Tea.  It was refreshing to see that as much planning and consideration had been taken to prepare the Vegetarian option at The Intercontinental, this we were explained was because of the effect of the coffee taste when combined with the flavours in the food.  We were intrigued and eagerly awaited the first concoction!

Served with the first course which was the open sandwiches, came a salted caramel expresso martini topped with of course, a coffee bean.  The sandwiches were the prettiest I had ever seen, it would seem that a great deal of thought had gone into not only the flavours but the presentation as well.  The colours were beautiful, each sandwich was topped with edible flowers and perfectly contrasted with the simple grey and white striped plate.  We were told to eat the sandwiches in a specific order and to alternate between the food and the Martini.  I was a little apprehensive about the smoked Eel brioche but was told that this one accompanied with the coffee is quite often the favourite!

I was quite surprised at how the coffee brought out the different flavours in each sandwich and sometimes actually changed the flavour of some of the more familiar tastes.  At the same time, the flavour of the foods changed the apparent strength of the coffee…. amazing!  I felt like there was a little science lesson taking place in my mouth!!  To the bemusement of the waiting staff, I was wowed time and time again.  My husband was equally impressed.  The Eel sandwich was as I had been promised, a real taste sensation and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Our next course was the warm savouries, this addition makes the difference between the “High Tea” and “Afternoon Tea” concept.  Traditionally you will not get this course in Afternoon Tea (or Afternoon Coffee in our case).  Our coffee for this course was a Caffe Freddo.  The coffee served the same purpose as before in that it changed and enhanced different flavours.  I marvelled at how the rich jus with the lamb made the coffee taste creamier and the sweetness of the piccalilli enhanced the strength of the coffee.  My favourite savoury though was the Wild Mushroom tumble weed which was absolutely delicious!!

To cleanse our pallet ready for the sweets, we were served the most amazing blood orange and ginger sorbet.  This completely took us by surprise…. the sorbet was served in a delicate glass dish resting on a larger glass bowl filled with dry ice.  The result was a red, glowing, potion looking spectacular that drew gasps from other guests.  Not only did it look incredible, it tasted out of this world, refreshing and smooth with small sweet gems of candied ginger.

Our scones and pastries were served together on a floor stand.  The scones were beautifully glazed, warm and fresh and served with a perfect amount of conserve and clotted cream.

There were 5 pastries each, my husband devoured his black forest gateaux and loved it so much, I ended up giving him mine.  My favourite was the adorable, mini Baileys chocolate éclair but I loved them all.  The lemon grass and lime crème brulee was a lovely twist on the French classic.  With this course, we were able to choose our coffee preference, I chose the weaker option of a latte to enjoy my pastries with and my husband had a Cortado.

To end our Afternoon Coffee, we were served a a signature Caffe Coretto with a liquor option of our choice.  A perfect way to end a fabulous new experience.

I loved every aspect of High Coffee at The Intercontinetal Hotel and think it’s a wonderful alternative for coffee lovers or Afternoon Tea connoisseurs who just fancy a change. The food excellence, coffee quality, informative and welcoming staff make this prestigious venue every inch a five star experience.

afternoonteaonline.co.uk/london/intercontinental-park-lane/

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