Top 5 Afternoon Tea
Ever since the Duchess of Bedford invented the custom of afternoon tea, sitting around a table sipping tea and eating dainty bite-sized food has become the favourite pastime for not only the English, but also some of the former colonial subjects. Nowadays this custom is not only for society ladies, businessmen often partake it in as a more informal business meeting, while on Sunday afternoons, it's not at all unusual to see large families with children all sitting around devouring scones. To meet these different purposes, the format of the traditional afternoon tea has evolved to suit a broad range of appetite and dietary requirements. Below we give you five notable and best variations of the afternoon tea.
One of the top see-and-be-seen places in Central, Sevva atop Prince's Building offers a classy option for vegetarians and veggie lovers. The "We Love Vegetables" afternoon tea serves up a tantalising feast of nine savoury snacks and six desserts on a sophisticated three-tier stand. The savoury option includes tri-coloured tomatoes, avocado, chopped egg white on toasted soylin bread (which is known rather amusingly as the "Eat, Pray & Love that Bod" sandwich); deluxe vegetarian club sandwich; mini burger with ratatouille; and wild mushroom ragout on crispy rice cracker. On the sweet side, there is a chocolate fudge cake with marmalade; mini mont blanc; cigar wafer cookies; and of course, Sevva's famous caramel crunch cake. The vegetarian afternoon tea is served Mondays through Saturdays from 3pm to 6pm, priced at HK$520 for two.
25/F Prince's Building, 10 Chater Road, Central. Tel: +852 2537-1388.
For a Taste of the Subcontinent
India, the grower of the delicately fragranced Ceylonese tea, has a love of tea as much as the British does, and they also love their teas along with a few snacks to munch on. For the first time in Hong Kong, we can experience Indian tea culture at Jashan in Soho. To share the finest traditional taste of India with a contemporary twist, chef Asif Iqbal has created an authentic Indian afternoon tea set. On the sleek three-tier stand diners can taste four savoury snacks including Indian doughnuts, curry dumplings, steamed soy cakes and samosas; with one selection of dessert including from an almond or coconut barfi. The tea set for two is available daily from 3pm to 6pm and is priced at HK$120 including a kettle of fragrant Indian black tea, masala chai or coffee.
1/F Amber Lodge, 23 Hollywood Road, Central. Tel: +852 3105-5300.
If you are looking for the ideal sweet treat to satisfy your chocolate craving, the deliciously decadent chocolate tasting experience at Café 103 will make your afternoon. Teaming up with luxury chocolatier Valrohna, Ritz Carlton is presenting the Chocolate Tasting Experience, where guests will be able to taste three chocolate varieties - Tainori (64% cocoa from Dominican Republic), Manjari (64% cocoa from Madagascar), and Guanaja (70% cocoa from South America) - laid out according to strength of flavor. Each variety is presented in three different forms, including a pure chocolate piece, a ganache made from a mixture of chocolate and cream, as well as a chocolate mini tart. The melt-in-your-mouth chocolate tasting experience is priced at HK$198 for two, available from 3pm to 6pm Mondays through Saturdays and from 2pm to 9pm on Sunday. For those who want an even wider variety of cocoa, there is the chocolate library afternoon tea. This tea set, priced at HK$248 per person of HK$488 for two, also serves an array of chocolate delicacies including chocolate mille-feuille, chocolate framboise tart and chocolate orange macaron; served alongside homemade waffles and savoury snacks such as foie gras mousse, smoked salmon with a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
103/F International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon. Tel: +852 2263-2270.
While tourists may love the Lobby Lounge at The Peninsula, we are not such a fan of its no-reservation policy. We rather prefer the Clipper Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental in Central, which has been open since 1963. Serving the most traditional of English afternoon teas, the tea set, priced at HK$378 for two, consists of a series of distinctly traditional and delicious finger sandwiches and desserts that have made the Mandarin Cake Shop justly famous. Out of the delectable treats, we especially love the raisin and regular scones served alongside Devonshire clotted cream and the gorgeously fragrant rose-petal jam. The afternoon tea set is available Mondays through Saturdays from 3pm to 6pm and from 3:30pm to 6pm on Sundays.
Mezzanine Floor, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Road, Central. Tel: +852 2825-4007.
For Tea Connoisseurs
While most of our selections above draw keen attention to the food served at afternoon tea, the actual pot of tea is also clearly a key element of this meal. For tea aficionados, the tea salon opened by Singaporean fine tea company TWG in IFC is the place to go for the finest quality of tea. Bringing in over 800 varieties of tea from all over the world, the TWG tea salon also serves an array of delicious patisseries and desserts, making it one of the perfect venues for afternoon tea. From 3pm to 6pm, guests can enjoy a pot of tea from the extensive tea menu with any choice of pastry for HK$120; or fork out a little more, HK$228, for an additional choice of gourmet sandwich; or add a sweet indulgent of three selections of macarons for just HK$268.
Podium Level One IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central. Tel: +852 2796-2828.