Had an enjoyable lunch here a little while ago. LIke the place a lot and said I'd come back.
So I did, for afternoon tea experience this time.
Where dining is an experience
Two suggestions before I start the review:
(1) Seems like the high tea on weekends is always on high demand. Tried to make reservations a couple of times before, but was always a bit too late and the place was already fully booked. This time, I made the reservation 2 weeks ago and bingo, finally got through.
So, suggestion number one is, make reservations well in advance to avoid disappointment.
(2) Suggestion number 2. Be on time. The afternoon tea starts at 3:30 pm and ends at 5:00 pm. We arrived at 3:25 pm and we were not allowed to go in
Pretty strict eh? And towards 5:00 pm, you would be reminded of the ending time. They said the strict timing was to enable them to provide better service for their guests
That said, the rules are ok with me and didn't really take away from my high rating of the place.Environment:
The place is clean and bright, with high ceiling, floor to ceiling windows, well lit by natural light, with neatly ironed table cloths, shiny cutlery. On top, it offers a great view of the TST area which I consider is a main selling point.
Plenty of natural light - almost too much.
Outdoor balcony with a terrific view
Apart from some rigid rules on timing I mentioned above, service is generally friendly. Just a few minor points.
(a) I noticed that the place was less than one-third full and started to wonder why reservation was so difficult. So I asked and was told that they would only accept a limited number of guests for afternoon tea as they wanted to maintain their service and to better prepare for the dinner. So that explains why it was always "fully booked". Anyway, that's ok with me as I can enjoy a quieter and roomier environment.
Fully booked but less than a third filled.
(b) I read about the ironing of table cloths in some OR reviews and witnessed it this time. No complaint but it would of course look more professional if they could do the ironing backstage.
The ironing scene
There were 8 of us and we ordered four 2-person sets ($198 per set). The food is elegantly sized (I don't quite like the size of the scones at Four Seasons as they are really too big, in my view) and offers good varieties.
The tea tower
Starting from the bottom rack of the tower:
Aged cheddar, avocado, turkey on brioche - great, fine balance of taste in the ingredients.
Cucumber, egg mayo and white bread - the toppings are good but the white bread is a bit on the dry side.
Smoked salmon, horseradish cream, dill on wheat bread - the smoked salmon is good and fatty but again the wheat bread is a bit dry.
Salmon on wheat, cheddar/turkey/avocada on brioche
Mini porcini mushroom flatbread - this is like a mini-pizza, crispy and tasty.
Cranberry and plain scone - the scone is warm and moist (personally, I think it's comparable to that served in the Mandarin).
Italian cheese cake, green tea opera, double choco cake - I'm not a dessert maniac but the green tea opera is great, has the fragrance of green tea and the sponge cake is moist and blends in perfectly with the green tea flavour. Didn't try the cheese cake but the double choco cake is also good.
Choco strawberry - this is a nice surprise. The choco coating is still crispy and blends in well with the strawberry.
Raspberry macaroon - I'm not really crazy about macaroons and found this a bit too sweet.
Cinnamon apple puff pastry - I like this. Very fluffy and the cinnamon apple filling is just at my degree of sweetness.
We could not finish all the food and had to pack some for after-dinner dessert. As for the drinks, there's really nothing special except that when one of us asked for a iced mocha, the reply was that they didn't serve iced mocha.
Not even at a premium? No, because they didn't have that machine???
What machine? They can make espresso but they can't make iced mocha. Still don't understand even now. Ia special machine really needed for iced mocha or they have mistaken iced mocha as a frappucino/smoothies??!!
Iced tea and choco strawberry
Overall, great environment, good service, good food. At $198 for two, I consider that a reasonable price especially since I learnt that some chain coffee stores in IFC are offering tea sets also at $198 for two.
Will still encore at leisure.
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Spending per head: Approximately HKD110(Tea)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 5