Most decadent Hong Kong afternoon tea sets
Hong Kong afternoon tea -- we're talking about an extravagant spread of dainty sandwiches, plump scones with clotted cream, melt-in-the-mouth pastries and milky teas. The English introduced the traditional pre-dinner snacking-cum-social hour to Hong Kong and the city's hoteliers have since perfected the experience in atmosphere, service, and deliciousness to rival the best of London. Here are eight of the most fabulous Hong Kong afternoon tea venues:
Built in 1928, the Peninsula is Hong Kong’s oldest hotel, and remains the definitive spot for English afternoon tea just as it was over 80 years ago. It’s all about the crumbly scones, string quartet and sense of ceremony, which are served up in the grand, colonial lobby alongside classic Indian blends (Assam, Darjeeling) or Chinese favorites (Jasmine, Pu Er). As no reservations are possible, be prepared to get there early or form an orderly queue.
Cost for two is HK$388. Tea is served from 2-7pm every day in the Lobby, Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel +852 2920 2888 www.peninsula.com
Afternoon tea at the cosy Clipper Lounge is reminiscent of dinner. Hearty fare such as chicken tarragon pies and Parmesan éclairs with herb cream cheese in addition to dainty smoked salmon and horseradish and truffled egg mayonnaise sandwiches. There’s sacher torte and Mandarin cheesecake to finish, all of which should be paired with the hotel’s custom blend of oolong tea, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, the chocolate mint truffle.
Cost for two is HK$378. Tea is served from 3-6pm every day in the Clipper Lounge, Mezzanine Floor, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Rd, Central, tel +852 2825 4007 www.mandarinoriental.com
The new classic
The Four Seasons may not have the Peninsula’s history, but its afternoon tea is distinctly traditional, with finger sandwiches, scones, Devonshire clotted cream and homemade jams all in check. Dessert takes a slightly more pan-Euro turn, with bread and butter pudding lining up alongside profiteroles and tiramisu. The surroundings though are modern and chic, with metallic and timber fixtures meeting elegantly. Floor to ceiling windows and a high ceiling allows sunlight to pour in.
Cost for two is HK$380. Tea is served from 3-5:30pm every day in The Lounge, Lobby Level, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central, tel + 852 3196 8888 www.fourseasons.com
Keeping with Hullett House’s 129-year history, the boutique hotel's Parlour is all about English afternoon tea in the grand tradition. They've even got a pastry chef formerly of the Dorchester in London.
Served under the imposing arches of the hotel terrace, the menu comprises strictly traditional sandwiches: cucumber, bone ham, smoked salmon, and egg salad served between crust-free, fluffy white bread that all disappears in a couple of mouthfuls. Tender scones and bite-sized pastries such as fruit tarts are also included.
Cost for two is HK$398. Tea is served from 2:30-6pm weekdays; 2-6pm weekends & bank holidays in the Parlour, Ground Floor, Hullett House, 2A Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel +852 3988 0101 www.hulletthouse.com
The Verandah restaurant is located in scenic Repulse Bay, which is about as close to a tropical vacation as we can get without leaving Hong Kong Island. Run by the Peninsula and similarly housed in a gorgeous old colonial structure, we can expect a top-notch experience with a much more casual, relaxed vibe than The Pen.
Keep it simple with homemade scones, cream and jam (HK$108 per person) or go for the full-on afternoon tea, which features sandwiches, pastries, financiers and Belgium waffles in addition to scones.
Cost for two is HK$318. Tea is served from 3-5.30pm at the Verandah, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay, tel +852 2292 2822 www.therepulsebay.com
Headed up by chef Gray Kunz, recognised as a Master of Aesthetics by the Culinary Institute of America, Cafe Gray offers elevated vistas over Victoria Harbour from its location on the 49th floor of The Upper House hotel. Afternoon tea is a versatile affair, and you can order anything from a cup of Valhrona hot chocolate with an apple crostada on the side to a selection of sandwiches, pastries and scones.
Cost for two is HK$345. Tea is served from 3:30pm-5:30pm every day on the 49th floor, The Upper House, Pacific Place, Queensway, Admiralty, tel +852 3968 1106 www.cafegrayhk.com
The East meets West
Seeking to embrace both Western and Eastern takes on afternoon tea, the W Hotel serves up both Low T (Western) and High T (Chinese) in its funky lobby area. The former features exquisite delights such as salmon and spiced chutney sandwiches and blueberry muffins as well as seasonal fruits. The High T, meanwhile, includes barbecued pork puffs and egg tarts for those who insist on keeping it Hong Kong style.
Cost for two is HK$228 (High T) and HK$238 (Low T). Tea is served from 2-7pm every day in the Living Room, W Hotel, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon station, Kowloon, tel +852 3717 2222 www.starwoodhotels.com
Crumbs is the latest snack craze to hit Causeway Bay. The little takeout shack sells three kinds of scones: raisin (HK$6), chocolate (HK$7) and cheese (HK$7) in addition to frozen yogurt. While these diminutive square pastries could easily vanish in a couple of bites, they’re nevertheless light-as-a-feather delicious, and the constant queues outside the store are testament to their quality. A bite-sized version of afternoon tea to savor at home with some good quality butter, cream and jam, it’s also one that you can devour wearing flip-flops without being frowned at.
Crumbs is open from noon to 11:30pm every day, Shop 1C, G/F, Central Mansion, 8 Cannon Street, Causeway Bay, tel +852 2793 9393 www.crumbs.com.hk