[leisure] High tea at The Lounge & Bar @ The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

Afternoon tea‘ (or often referred to as ‘high tea’) is one of the IT activities in Hong Kong. This English tradition has been warmly welcomed by the locals, perfected over time by hoteliers, and eagerly embraced by visitors. Chances are, if you flip through a travel guide book, high tea at Hong Kong’s oldest hotel, the iconic Peninsula is listed as the #1 place for high tea. After coming across many a less than spectacular reviews of the Peninsula’s High Tea, I decided that we would skip the iconic and head straight to The Lounge & Bar at The Ritz-Carlton–an immaculately stylish lounge proudly located on the 102nd floor of Hong Kong’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre. The hotel offers two choices for high tea, the traditional one at The Lounge & Bar, and the signature chocolate afternoon tea at Café 103 on the 103th floor. Despite the price tag, the sheer location of the place, promising an impeccable view of Hong Kong, already had me hysteric.

As we had made reservations, we were promptly seated upon arrival by the all-smiling staff. The Lounge was indeed a magical place. It was stylishly designed, everything was polished and shiny. The armchairs and cushions were soft and extremely comfortable, while the tables were large and located quite far from one other. A++ for the grand, stunning, ambience.

Our seats:

If you think that the decor can’t be beat, you are in for a bigger wow with the unrivaled views of Victoria Harbor & Hong Kong Island:

The tea set, unfortunately, didn’t come up to our expectations and lagged far behind the magnificence of the view. Maybe it was just me, but all the sweet items in the set were too sweet, and and tasted as if they were mass produced. The savory finger foods were slightly better, but nothing mindblowing. I had expected more gourmet tea options on the menu, but there were very few options and those they had were fairly standard. Though my Earl Grey & the bf’s Darjeeling were good, they could have been better. Despite the less than exceptional taste, the presentation was very pretty and made for beautiful pictures.

The top tier (which also happened to be my favorite tier):

Salmon cream, spinach bread finger sandwich:

Sweet mango cocktail shrimp, mini hotdog: bread too dry.

Lychee, Foie Gras mousse tart: my favorite, but I wish the crust had been savory rather than sweet :\

Mango vanilla tart:

The second tier was inspired by the two of the most popular tropical fruits: mangoes & lychees. I am not a fan of either, so I was naturally not impressed :P The bf, who loves both fruits would rather have been served a few fresh lychees and mango slices.

Mango roulade:

Coconut rice pudding with mango:

Lychee cheesecake, Verrine.

The lychee duo was actually very good:

Bottom tier: because I found most items on the second tier too sweet, I found myself enjoying the scones greatly (with clotted cream only, as I skipped the belberry jam).

Yummy scones:

But again my tastebud was upset by how annoyingly sweet the Wild strawberry cream with lychee gelee was:

Though I am complaining now, I was actually very happy =]}}

Elegance is an attitude =}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Can’t believe that we finished the set :((((

High tea menu (please keep in mind that the menu is altered quite frequently).

All in all, my high tea time at The Lounge & Bar was quite magical. The food could have been better, but the whole ambience was outstanding. The cheap person in me could actually unwind and feel relaxed in this classy, luxurious environment (unlike another occasion at Parlour). After all, afternoon tea is a time for enjoyment and comfort, and high tea at The Lounge & Bar did give me everything I could ask for in that respect.

Too comfortable I felt sleepy =}}}


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