Tea at Willard InterContinental

For the holidays this winter, the Willard InterContinental revamped their Peacock Alley afternoon tea into a “Tea Chinois,” complete with Chinese inspired decor and cuisine. I ventured out just before Christmas for a pre-holiday treat. ♥ (Btw, there’s a clip on YouTube on the Tea Chinois).

I’ve never actually eaten at any of the Willard’s establishments before, so this was a first. The hotel of course, is gorgeous. The nice thing about Peacock Alley is that it’s actually a corridor, so you can do much people watching while you have your tea. The day I was there, there were actually some dignitaries in town for Obama’s state dinner with the Prime Minister of India. A few of the guests must have been staying at the Willard, because I could see many people walking back and forth in the Alley in traditional Indian garments, followed by serious looking dudes in black suits and ear pieces.

So as for the tea itself: The tea selection was pretty good, predictably with several choices of Chinese teas. I figured since this was a “Tea Chinois” I should get a Chinese tea to get into the spirit of it. I’d never had a white tea before, so I went with the Rose Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yin Zhen), described as a “prized silver needle white tea from China’s Northern Fujian province, scented with pink rose petals.” Sounded fabulous! But it was far from it. Actually, I found it bitter and disgusting. *sad* It was really unfortunate, since the bitter flavor overpowered much of the food. I had to add a lot of sugar to make it palatable.

The food was thankfully a little better:


From the top:

“Delicate Finger Sandwiches”

Duck confit roulade, with plum chutney and quail egg on brioche. Definitely the best bite of all the selections here.

Asian style chicken salad on rice crackers. The salad portion was fine, but the rice crackers were a mistake. They were stale and hard to chew.

Chinese eggplant with marinated shitake mushrooms and watermelon radish.

Classic egg salad sandwich on wheat bread.

Cucumber and watercress with herbed cream cheese on seven grain.

Scones:

Chinese Five Spice. Not sure I really liked this savory scone. Perhaps I just prefer the fruit based ones better, because I love to slather on the jam and cream!

Cranberry Orange. Not bad, though I wish it were warmer and fluffier.

“Fine Pastries”:

To be honest, I didn’t have too many of the desserts. They were decent, but nothing really spectacular. They included:

Green Tea Meringues (this one stood out the most…had a great green tea flavor)
Chinese Fruit Petit Four
Mandarin Mousse
Chocolate Hazelnut Dacquoise
Spiced Marshmallow (interesting…glad I tried it)

Obviously, a tea is nothing without the Devonshire cream! I would have a tea just so I could have some of this creamy goodness. The scones also came with lemon curd, raspberry marmalade and orange marmalade.

A close-up shot of the sandwiches. The one on the bottom right is the duck roulade. (*____*)

The decor really was lovely. And they had a lady playing a Chinese harp during the tea, which really added to the atmosphere.

Loved all the cushions and silk draped over everything!

To conclude, I’d say the food was decent but nothing amazing, and the tea…ugh, horrible. Hopefully it was just a personal preference, as it *was* the first time I’d had white tea. I’ll probably stick to the black teas next time.

Too bad it was a bit of a disappointment! :(

though I haven’t had a white tea in such a fashion style, yeah, I didn’t liked it, too.

but the snacks look delicious!

Thanks for sharing!

Yeah. :( Was a tad pricey to boot.

Maybe white tea is more an acquired taste. It was too medicinal flavored for my liking.

They were! ♥!

 

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