A lot of my childhood memories consisted of odd Hong Kong activities such as this: afternoon tea. While the typical ‘ham mm cha’ (cantonese for ‘5 o’clock tea’ aka afternoon tea) consists of what most foreigners would consider a meal in itself of ramen with spam and eggs or a sandwich, I’ve become quite fond of trying different takes on traditional afternoon tea.
Apparently, I was told and from what I researched online, the esteemed Mandarin Hotel in Central was worth a shot. Prior to the existence of Mister Donut in HK, hen we used to live in Wan Chai, my mom used to purchase doughnuts from their Cake Shop when we wanted a ‘Tim Hortons’ fix: so I called and made a reservation for two with my partner in crime and HK childhood friend, Agnes.
We booked tea at the Clipper Lounge but my advice is that if you’re young and have an eye to be near where all the good stuff is, sit at the Mandarin Oriental’s Cake Shop. The Clipper Lounge was a little too stuffy for my taste and too far removed from where all the action was. Oh yes, this was pure eye candy:
I consider the Cake Shop to be one of the rather nicer patisserie shops I’ve visited in HK. Not regarded as only a bakery, but it comes across as a museum, an art gallery, that houses giant glass domes that showcase beautifully intricate sugar art dedicated to the likes of Escada, Salvatore Ferragamo and not to miss a step with the season, the Moon Festival. Dessert is an art, a theme that runs apparent in this store.
I loved the decor: rich wood grain pillars against the cold silver placemats to the warm canary yellow menu and soft furnishings to the knubbly marigold yellow boucle of the chairs.
As for the sweets, the same philosophy of ‘tasting with your eyes before the tongue’ applied here: upon taking my large SLR out, there were no objections at the counter when I began to photograph each row of cake and truffle to truffle.
Agnes and I decided to split the afternoon scones (2pcs) that came with their own rose petal jam, and we each individually got a slice of cake. We scrapped our initial idea of getting the afternoon tea set because we were too full for savouries. =P
She chose a slice of chocolate truffle cake which was creamy and really chocolatey but NOT just sweet. I picked the Cassis Mousseline Vanilla Bavaroise with Sago. For those who love sour desserts, this is it: a blend of creamy mousse cocooned in what I believe to be some sort of chocolate. The little ‘balls’ on the top, to our surprise, were covered blueberries. Personally I thought the sago was a little redundant- it was too little to make a significant impact on the taste but too noticeable of an added texture to the center.
All in all, the atmosphere was what made this trip a rather pleasurable one: from the wait staff to the interior decor, I’m quite excited to return in October because when I made the reservation for tea, they informed me their special Chocolate Afternoon Tea Buffet would commence at the beginning of the coming month.
Count me in after I get my first month’s paycheck.