The month of January is always hard on the wallet (lots of travelling and eating…), so a budget-friendly afternoon tea at the InterContinental Vienna was a bliss. I had my doubts but I stand corrected: it exceeded my expectations and set a new standard for that segment in Vienna:
Afternoon Tea / High Tea
InterContinental Wien, Vienna, Austria (five-star hotel)
Overall Mark: ★★★★★
Festive Afternoon Tea price: 18.50€/person
A-la-carte cakes: 5€~/cake
Tea refills: No (6.50-8.50€ per extra teapot)
Food refills: No
Service: every day from 3 to 6 pm in The Café Vienna
The Setting ★★★★☆
The 50-year old building doesn’t look like much from the outside, even though it sits right in front of Vienna’s Stadtpark. The façade does pale in comparison to other hotels located in the historical “Palais” but the inside is as luxurious as you’d expect of a world-class five-star hotel.
As Vienna’s first international hotel, the InterContinental Wien has welcomed many prominent figures during relatively short existence. It has hosted politicians (Thatcher, the Dalai Lama), economists, designers (Jean-Paul Gauthier) and artists (Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones).
The Café Vienna ★★★★☆
Afternoon tea is served in Café Vienna, which is adjacent to the hotel lobby. The venue is nothing special but it’s the kind of place where you can easily spend a few hours enjoying some nice food and beverages. Should you decide to stay after 6 pm, a pianist will play a few classics.
The InterContinental Vienna Afternoon Tea
The InterContinental Vienna afternoon tea is cheap so I didn’t expect it to be this generous in terms of food. For 18.50€ per person, you will get a three-tier stand with savouries, scones and sweets, served with a pot of tea of your choice.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
The InterContinental Vienna sources their teas from the Ronnefeldt company, a very reputable Frankfurt-based tea house with almost 200 years of experience. I always have an excellent feeling when I see the Ronnefeldt brand: the company is very demanding when it comes to training the tea sommeliers so you can expect the tea to be brewed properly.
There are 22 teas on offer all year-long as well as 6 seasonal teas to choose from. I had the chance to sample two black teas: the “Jewel of Nuwara Eliya” (strong flavour, caramel) and the “Tea of Life” (more subtle flavour, lemony).
28 Ronnefeldt teas (black, green, white, oolong and infusions)
1 choices of tea per person; extra 6.50 – 8.50€ for an extra pot of tea
Brewing method: Brewed in a teapot brought to the table; infusion can be stopped
The Savouries ★★★★☆
The afternoon tea starts with a selection of 3 tartines served with vegetable crips:
- Sesame baguette topped with camembert, grape, walnut and fig-mustard
- Sunflower seed baguette with Gravlax (cured raw salmon), horseradish cream, keta caviar, cucumber and dill ♥
- Baguette, topped with pumpkin seed spread and veggies
- Beetroot crisps and Spicy crisp
The savoury selection is very imaginative and the presentation is gorgeous. I love that the chef used his imagination and used some unusual ingredients when creating these savouries instead of run-of-the-mill sandwiches.
Aromas such as the fig mustard may come across as too strong so I recommend using the beetroot crisps to soften the flavour.
The Scones ★★★★☆
The plain and raisin Scones were soft and moist. They are served with an orange marmalade and Crème Fraiche, which go extremely well together.
Some may regret the absence of jam or authentic clotted cream, although this is understandable in this price range. I’m sure the staff will happily serve you strawberry or raspberry jam if you can’t handle the marmalade’s acidity.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★
The desserts are the best part of the InterContinental Vienna afternoon tea. If you have a small appetite, I suggest you save a spot for the à-la-carte cakes!
The top-plate desserts (included in the afternoon tea menu) ★★★★☆
The afternoon tea cakes are not exactly original but they are both scrummy and gorgeous looking:
- Vanilla éclair ♥
- Strawberry profiterole
- Fruit tartelette
- Chocolate macaroon
- Chocolate-coated strawberry
The cakes from the counter (à-la-carte) ★★★★★
If you’d rather skip the afternoon tea itself or if you have a second stomach for desserts, I strongly encourage you to sample a few of the Café Vienna’s cakes, which can easily be done without breaking the bank (5€~ per cake). These can be ordered after 6’o clock so there is no need to rush the afternoon tea itself.
There are many pastries to choose from, including Viennese classics such as the Apfel Strudel or the Cream cheese Strudel.
Even though I wasn’t hungry at this stage, I couldn’t resist sampling a few pastries:
- Yoghurt, walnut and honey cake ♥
- Champagne-Berry tart
- Anna Mignon cake (chocolate biscuit and cream coasted with nougat) ♥
The yoghurt and walnut cake is made with the InterContinental Wien’s very own in-house honey, which is cultivated on the roof of the hotel (it’s possible to buy some of this honey to take home as well). If you fancy something sweet and deliciously refreshing, this is your best bet.
The Anna Mignon is named after Archduchess Anna of Austria. This chocolate biscuit cake wrapped in a nougat sheet was her very own “pêché mignon” (guilty pleasure). As always when nougat is involved, this cake is very sweet but I can’t recommend it enough.
The interContinental Wien staff is very professional and will make sure that everything goes smoothly. Special thanks to the tea sommelier Vesna, whose knowledge of the tea offer was much appreciated.
We never felt pressured to leave and even ordered a small dinner to enjoy a bit of live music before going home.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
The InterContinental Vienna afternoon tea is a fantastic example of a premium and yet affordable experience: the tea selection is great, the food is tasty and the price/performance ratio is unbeatable. For 18.50€ per person, you get a pot of tea as well as a generous quantity of savouries, scones and sweets.
If you’re not a big tea drinker and you fancy a nice afternoon break after a walk in the city centre, it’s your best bet. If you’re the type that drinks lots of different teas and/or fancies a boozy afternoon tea, the Palais Hansen Vienna will probably be more suitable.
+: Excellent location
+: The Ronnefeldt tea selection
+: Delicious food
+: The à-la-carte cakes
+: Great service
+: Fantastic value for money (18.50€ per person)
-: The hotel shows some signs of age
-: Not such a great deal for big tea drinkers
-: No “Champagne/Cocktail afternoon tea” offer
Phone: +43 1 71122-110
Address: Johannesgasse 28, 1030 Wien
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