Around the world in 80 cakes #7: Wellington


It has been over two months since I last had afternoon tea… when I arrived in Hanoi.

Finally, as I was about to leave New Zealand, it really was time for (Kiwi) tea.

Before anyone worries about whether I have been ill with this two apparent month hiatus, I remind you of the Vietnamese cakes I enjoyed and advise that you wait until you see the round up for New Zealand. An intervention may be wise.

Today’s venue was the Intercontinental Wellington, on Grey Street, close to the Waterfront.

There are several venues that offer afternoon tea (usually referred to as high tea) in Wellington, but many were either closed or not offering the service over the New Year period.

High Tea was served in the Lobby Lounge which could offer an interesting view if it weren’t for the fact that the windows looked straight out to the 4x4s parked on the hotel’s forecourt.

The Lounge itself had a 1970s Scandinavian feel – cosy.

There were three options for High Tea:

  • $39 per person includes T2 Tea selection.
  • $45 per person includes a glass of bubbles.
  • $57 per person includes a glass of Champagne.

I stuck with the Tea, as I decided to do Dry January this year.

The High Tea arrived and my initial thought was: “Is that it?”

I have become very used to afternoon tea being presented on three levels not two, and this presentation was deceptive… as I discovered.

My second concern was the fact there was only one scone! Five savoury options, eight, yes eight cakes and only one scone.

I was quite impressed by the differentiation between sweets and cakes & pies. Not all desserts are cake.

So, first up the savoury selection and the traditional sandwiches – cucumber, of course, and egg mayonnaise – featured.

Would it be a New Zealand High Tea if at least one sandwich didn’t feature avocado? In this case it was the bacon and avocado slider with the avocado reducing the saltiness of the bacon.

Another surprise was the mini blini with salmon. I haven’t had blinis since afternoon tea in Moscow, though I was relieved that not quite so much food was served today.

Now for the solitary scone.

Why was it piled up like a hamburger? And whipped cream rather than clotted cream?

It tasted good – light scone pastry, heavy on the fruit with rich strawberry jam. And I managed not to invite messy disaster by separating the two halves.

Now for the range of sweet stuffs.

All very nice but some of them rather merged into one… several strawberry or possibly raspberry-like tasting cakes and fillings. I couldn’t really taste the difference, though I did enjoy them.

The fruit salad was a nice touch, in a tiny dish, though any possible feelings of virtuousness were completely thrown out of the window by the sweet syrup the pieces of melon, peach and pineapple were coated in.

This was where I really found out that my original thought about size was completely incorrect.

Was I going to make it to the end?

I’d already decided on the final cake – the most chocolate looking one.

However, the panna cotta in the chocolate cup turned out to be caramel and I decided that I would be disappointed if the cake wasn’t nearly as nice.

I had to find out and broke the (well, my) golden rule and I tried the cake, before finishing the panna cotta, just to check.

It wasn’t chocolate, other than the chocolate pieces coating it… it was coffee.

Nothing wrong with coffee but when you have mentally prepared yourself for chocolate, you want chocolate.

Or at least I do.

And my then eight year old niece would agree with me, after the occasion when she thought she was getting chocolate tart and ended up with praline.

She was so disappointed.

Back to the Intercontinental, the coffee cake was delicious – light and fluffy which contrasted well with the chocolate coating.

The caramel panna cotta was even better.

So, a highly enjoyable High Tea served in a comfortable lounge by staff who were attentive without being intrusive and, best of all, replaced the teapot when I finished the first serving of Eael Grey.

Working out at around £20 for afternoon tea, the Intercontinental offered excellent value.

Categories: Afternoon Tea, Cake, New Zealand, Travel, Wellington - IntercontinentalTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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