Many of the best hotels and restaurants use afternoon tea to peacock their latest flavours, chefs and art installations from around the world. The ceremony originated with a young woman named Anne, 7th Duchess of Bedford, who found the ritual of eating only two meals per day, as was customary during her time, simply wasn’t enough. She thus introduced this snack-time, in the long stretch before dinner (we feel a deep affinity with dear Anne) and would host it clandestinely in her bedroom until it became to popular to fit in all her munching mates. We Hong Kongers are a bit mad for a nice pot of tea and accompanying goodies, and so have listed the best when it comes to view, value and flavour.
1. Agar Wood Chinese Tea Set For Two at the Intercontinental
East meets west in the InterContinental’s exquisite Chinese Box Set afternoon tea, which is made even more refined by the newest addition to their ever-increasing melange of tea sets, the Agar Wood Tea. A half a million HKD piece of the venerated Agar wood stands as a testament to the tea in the Lobby Lounge, as the awe-inspiring panorama (never has that word been more apt a descriptor) of Victoria Harbour smacks you in the face upon entry. Their tea is therapeutic and the delicacies polished with selections like baked sea whelk in puff pastry, deep-fried lobster and avocado dumpling and baked Wagyu beef and porcini pastry (especially noteworthy, and the toasted sesame flavour is worth the trip alone).
Sweets like mung beans paste dumpling with mango are also recommended, concluding that although among the priciest of options in Hong Kong, the view and dishes are really in their own league.
The Price: $1068
The Place: 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2313-2335
The Pull: Stunning views of the calibre you must take out-of-towners to show off. The standard of food matches the vistas, a feat not always achieved by hotels.
2. Best Value for Money at Hotel Indigo
Remaining faithful to the classic combination of petite sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and sweet pastries, the winning formula most afternoon tea lovers in Hong Kong seek after, this Wan Chai hotel offers a high tea that is tastefully sourced, meticulously prepared and served fresh each day.
The centrepiece of afternoon tea is, of course, the drink itself. The afternoon tea set comes with your choice of coffee or tea. You may also pick your favourite from a selection of specialty coffees with a supplement of HK$20. Same as the coffees in our regular menu, the 6 flavours including Tiramisu Cappuccino, Almond Mocha, Chocolate Hazelnut Latte, White Caramel Mocha and Cavanlatte are all Rabbithole Coffees.
The Price: HK$238 per two persons
The Place: 2/F, Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island, 248 Queen’s Road East 3926 3880
The Pull: A classic afternoon tea at a reasonable price. Rare in Hong Kong.
3. Le Chocolate Alain Ducasse Tea Set at the Intercontinental
The telltale level of opulence that Shangri-La are renowned for is not neglected in their most recent afternoon tea release, which is a chocoholic’s dream. For the first time ever in Hong Kong, the exclusive Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse is featured in a selection of exquisitechocolate desserts comprising the Lobby Lounge’s Afternoon Tea Set. Originally on offer just through the end of December, “Le Chocolate Alain Ducasse Tea Set” will now be available through the end of January.
Executive Pastry Chef Cyril Dupuis’ three Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse Desserts include:
> Chocolate/Praline with exotic fruit
> Intense Dark Chocolate, Crispy Macaroons
> Chocolate Mousse, inspired by Alain Ducasse’s “Benoit” Bistrot in Paris & New York
The Price: HK$588 for two on weekdays (except public holidays), HK$608 for two on weekends
The Place: 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2313 2323
The Pull: This is the place for the chocolate lover, who will find all their dreams have come true in one setting. A rich and indulgent afternoon tea.
4. Classic Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula
When all you fancy is a proper British high tea, in the centuries old custom type way, the Peninsula really cannot be surpassed. Rather than the permutations of the oriental or modern day varieties, the Peninsula sits as classic as it was 80 years ago. It involves warm raisin scones and clotted cream, freshly baked pastries and your choice of teas from The Peninsula Tea Collection. No reservations can be made here though, so forming an orderly queue will be the ticket.
The Price: $338 for one, $598 for two
The Place: Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
The Pull: Very English, very sophisticated, very grand. They’ve been doing it for so long, you know you’re guaranteed of a fine outing.
5. Hotel ICON’s Above & Beyond Chinese dim sum afternoon tea
The swanky restaurant on the 28th traditional high tea. The set includes a sumptuous showcase of seven dim sums like pork dumpling with halibut and black mushroom, crabmeat puff; baked goose liver and pineapple puff and smoked duck steamed bun. Executive Pastry Chef Danny Ho has not neglected you, the best friend of the sweets, with chestnut crème brûlée and a raspberry-lemon cheese ball to set you up to enjoy your stunning scenery below.
The Price: HK$488 per set (for 2 people)
The Place: 28/F, Hotel ICON, 17 Science Museum Road, TST East, 3400 1318
The Pull: Captivating seascapes in a modern setting. Plus you’re really, really high in case of a flood.
6. Le Soleil’s Vietnamese-inspired afternoon tea set
A reasonably priced tier of goodies from Le Soleil’s Vietnamese-inspired afternoon tea set makes a Hong Kong feel momentarily like Saigon, with its miniature delicacies pairing perfectly with a cup of Twinings Tea or iconic Vietnamese iced-coffee. Morsels like Saigon-style spring rolls, rice-paper rolls with soft-shell crab and Vietnamese sausage sandwiches are awaiting on the beautifully presented tier.
The Price: $328
The Place: 3/F, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, TST East, 2733 2033, email@example.com
The Pull: A unique high tea that is wonderfully scrumptious and doesn’t bore the eater with the same mini-sandwich, floor that provides outrageous views along with the Chinese cuisine spin on a tarts and scones template.
7. TEA-SE ME Cocktails at Woo Bar
Given we are still well and truly experiencing the sweltering conditions of a Hong Kong summer, we know that tea can be at times an unbearable prospect, and what would go down far nicer would be a lovely cocktail, thank you very much. TEA-SE will dazzle diners with more than 30 desserts in its afternoon tea buffet, as well as classic sandwiches, signature savouries, reen yuzu martini lollipop and pistachio cake and cherry confit with lemon gel. There are even fruit-filled syringes and “potions” for you to spray on your treats to create your own flavour combinations and an “act” involving flying candyfloss with stardust – the mind boggles…
Price: $398 without champagne, $598 with champagne (1 glass pp)
The Place: 6/F, W Hong Kong, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, 3717 2889, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pull: A buffet, which means if you aren’t vain you can pop up and down to the table as many times as desire until you are full, which is something the ‘high tea morsel’ mentality certainly wouldn’t allow elsewhere.