May has to be my favourite month of the year. The cold drizzly weather starts to fade, beautiful blossoms appear on the trees, and a glass of rose finds it way into my hand. It’s also the perfect month to get married (!) not to hot or too cold, great food is in season and beautiful blooms are in abundance.
Talking of flowers…the 20th of May marks the opening of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the most famous flower and garden show in the UK which attracts visitors from all over the world to view the innovative garden designs.
The celebrate 101 years of the Chelsea Flower Show, The Intercontinental London Westminster have designed an ‘Edible Garden’ afternoon tea and they invited me along to sample it.
I dressed the part in a new floral (well kind of, well they’re palm trees!) dress from Reiss and we took our seats in hotel lounge.
The lounge itself replicated an indoor garden with gorgeous floral displays taking centre stage.
It felt like a beautiful conservatory inside the plush five star hotel.
And I couldn’t enjoy such a delicious treat without my ever constant companion…
It’s Mr S, of course!!
The tea is presented in partnership with Laurent Perrier Champagne and guests receive unlimited glasses of champagne.
Supplies of champagne were incredibly generous and my glass was not left empty even for a moment. As Laurent Perrier is one of my favourites, this was definitely much appreciated.
Soon our first course came out on the traditional tea time tower.
And our waitress gave a detailed explanation of each delicacy.
First of all we tried the baby vegetable shot. The green mousse had a refreshing taste of avocado and it was topped with edible ‘soil’ made from rye bread and tiny perfectly carved vegetables. It was a mini masterpiece and a lovely little amuse bouche.
Miniature eggs Benedict was next. A circular muffin topped with ham and a little quails egg perched on top! The classic breakfast dish was a gorgeous savoury starter and Mr S and I really enjoyed the tiny morsel.
Next was a pea and basil tart, it had the texture of a quiche and it incredibly light and airy.
Now tea, wouldn’t be a tea without actual tea? (Try saying that five times fast). And to accompany our garden treat, the Intercontinental offers a selection of handcrafted flower teas.
Blackcurrant and hibiscus was my choice.
Mr Silver chose flowering Osmanthus. We’d tried this tea before at the Intercontinental in Hong Kong. Not only enjoyable to drink, this tea is visually stunning; pour water over the Osmanthus flower and watch it bloom as the flavours infuse into the tea.
Next the sandwich layer!
Now, despite my love of luxury I do have quite simple tastes and I love a good sandwich! We were presented a smoked chicken and tarragon sandwich in the shape of a tear drop. My favourite of the savouries, the sandwich was delicious and not too heavy on the mayonnaise.
Roast beef and and horseradish on beetroot bread tasted as good as it looked. And I don’t think I’d ever eaten bread that was such a vibrant shade of red before.
Finally a smoked salmon roulade on rye bread was a fabulous canape-style treat.
A tradition dictates we then moved on to the scones.
Usually I’m not a huge fan of scones, I find them a little stodgy…but I can safely say they were the best I’d ever had. The currant variety were, of course, Chelsea buns to reflect our theme of the day. But it was the lavender infused scones that I really loved. They were small, light and fluffy totally unlike the stodgy buns that I’ve had at other teas. Devonshire clotted cream, home-made strawberry jam and lemon curd came along side.A finally came the piece de resistance…The Glasshouse!
The beautiful edible garden came underneath a glass cloche, which imitated a greenhouse. The desserts housed in the greenhouse were works of art and the creation of a very talented chef.
My favourite was this lovely little hedgerow. A lemon flavoured mousse sprayed with chocolate and topped a white chocolate lady bird.
The garden pond was made with manjari chocolate.
The vibrant red slice of gorgeous-ness was sweet pastry topped with raspberries and meringue. Who could think about the bride-to-be diet when faced with all these treats?
I’m rather partial to a macaroon and these beautiful violet confections were just stunning. The pretty pink morsel at the back was a Laurent Perrier champagne bubble.
And best of all the soil and the pebbles were also made of chocolate!! It was a totally magical creation.
Mr Silver and I found the experience totally enchanting and an absolute feast for all the senses. The whole concept was so unique and every element was tied together by the horticultural theme. I have to say it was one of the best afternoon teas I’ve had in London, everything was just so delicious and well-presented and we didn’t come away feeling overly full.
At £44 with completely free-flowing champagne it’s also excellent value for money. The tea is available between the 28th April and 26th of May so get yourself to Westminster quickly!
Disclosure: Tea for me and Mr S was complimentary for purposes of the review but all my views are honest and it really was fabulous!
EDIT: The Intercontinental Westminster has now rebranded as the Conrad
22 – 28 Broadway
020 3301 8080