Whilst my travel plans for the near future remain uncertain, I’m currently seeking different ways to satiate my lust for travel, and food has definitely helped to provide comfort through these strange times. Prior to the latest announcement of new lockdown rules, I was fortunate enough to visit InterContinental London – The O2 to try their Voyage au Méridien Afternoon Tea. They had previously been awarded a Highly Commended certificate at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2019, in recognition of their high quality afternoon tea service, and I was excited to finally be able to experience their afternoon tea for myself.
The name Voyage au Méridien is inspired by Jean Passepartout, the French valet who adventured with Phileas Fogg, and French novelist Jules Verne, author of the original novel ‘Around the World in 80 days’. In line with the theme, the menu has been specially created by Executive pastry chef Amit Arya and his talented team to reflect the flavours and aromas of the lands where Phileas Fogg touched down on his intrepid race. When travel restrictions are finally lifted I would certainly be up for traveling the world for 80 days – although maybe not quite ‘around the world’ in such a short duration!
This adventure-themed afternoon tea was served in the sleek and contemporary Méridian Lounge, which takes its name from the hotel’s location within Greenwich, a destination that marks the starting point of every time zone in the world. The space is brightly lit by the natural light through the floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a view of the River Thames, the hot air balloon set-up at the end of the room added a nice touch.
We started with glasses of crisp and aromatic Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne whilst we browsed their selection of warming teas that was much welcomed in this chilly weather. I ordered the Unique Meridian Blend, their signature fruity black tea infusion which has been exclusively designed and hand-blended by Camellia’s Tea House for Meridian Lounge. Beautifully aromatic and well-rounded, this high-grade medium bodied blend of fragrant Assam and Ceylon black teas is complemented by the slightly spicy and warming notes of smooth vanilla pieces, carefully balanced with the juicy freshness from the array of berries.
Not long after, a globe-shaped three-tiered tray was presented at our table, filled with a selection of appealing sweets and savoury delights, echoing the famous novel.
The sandwiches included classic fillings with some modern twists:
Smoked salmon, lemon and dill creme fraiche on farmhouse bread
Coronation chicken on spinach flavoured bread
Truffle egg mayonnaise on lemon flavoured bread
Olive tapenade, avocado, sundried tomato and rocket on tomato flavoured bread
The plain and tutti-frutti scones had a really light and fluffy texture, served with strawberry and rose jam and Cornish clotted cream.
Each and every one of the sweet delicacies looked and sounded equally as tempting and delicious. There was the snowy white Miniature Globe, beautifully handcrafted with a coconut and Alphonso mango core, balanced on a buttery pastry base. The Pyramid Cake consisted of delicate layers of olive oil, pistachio and praline chocolate indulgence that I devoured in seconds. I love choux desserts and excitedly tucked in the Nihon Choux from the Land of the Rising Sun, which contained a luscious miso caramel and yuzu centre. Last but not least was Uncle Sam’s Donut, an iced donut with cream cheese frosting and crunchy meringue pieces, topped with a white chocolate disc with a vibrant hot air balloon illustration. To accompany the sweets, we were kindly recommended a fresh pot of White Oolong tea, which was mild with pleasant flowery notes.
During the warmer months, you can also enjoy afternoon tea on the outdoor terrace, where you can enjoy the beautiful views across the river – I certainly look forward to returning in the summer for some much-loved al fresco dining with a view.
The Voyage au Méridien Afternoon Tea is served daily from 12:00pm – 5:00pm, priced at £42 per person, or £55 per person to include a glass of Champagne. If you’re in the mood for a more luxurious experience, you can also opt to enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless Laurent-Perrier Brut NV for £95 or 90 minutes of bottomless Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rose for £120 per person. Bookings can be made via the Afternoontea.co.uk website – only another month of lockdown to endure so this is definitely something nice to look forward to once restrictions have been lifted!
- My afternoon tea experience at Intercontinental London – The O2 was complimentary – views and photos are my own.