Monday, March 1, 2010

Hong Kong Post: High Tea at the Peninsula

Sleeve

You'll forgive me if I get around to my HK posts in a higgledy-piggledy order, but hey, this is a food blog (mostly!) and so can you blame me for writing about the food first?? I had a very short list of things that I HAD to do in Hong Kong (most of which had to do with eating) and on top of that list was to have high tea at the Peninsula Hotel. The Peninsula is one of the best hotels in the world, and if you can't afford to stay there (and I sure can't! There were a lot of Rolls Royces parked in front of it.) then the next best thing is to go and have afternoon tea in the lobby. (For the men, apparently going up to the Felix to have a pee is a highlight for the view while you, er, relieve yourself, but we didn't do that.)

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We took the Star Ferry over to Kowloon side and on the way there, passed this junk. Isn't it neat? I couldn't tell if it was a boat cruise for tourists (my best guess) but it's a super neat looking boat. And the Star Ferry is a great way to see the HK skyline (and so cheap! It's 2.50 HKD which is like, 30 cents U.S.).

I wish I had photos of the exterior of the Peninsula to show you...or photos of the lobby, but I don't know, I guess I was just so focused on getting to that tea! That it didn't occur to me until afterwards. There was a bit of a line, but we occupied ourselves by listening to the string quartet and trying to figure out what some of the maddeningly familiar songs were (I am 99% sure one of them was Kiss' I Was Made For Loving You. It sure sounds classy when played by a string quartet!). But soon enough, we were seated, and chose our teas (served in proper style with a tea strainer), and contemplated this:

Sweets

Oooh man. They bring you a three-tiered stand, the top of which is filled with sweets! You can guess which tier I was most anxiously staring at. The sweets tier had raspberry macarons, a strawberry roll cake, and a chocolate coffee layer cake.

More Sweets

Here's the other side of the tier: mini slices of fruitcake and a raspberry mousse cake. Although, before we started on those, we went in for the savory tidbits.

Savories

Here, we have ham and egg salad sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, salmon sandwich (singular), mini quiche, and some sort of vegetable pastry. Actually my one quibble is that they gave us only one salmon sandwich! I mean, we did order the tea for two...anyway, my favorite things were the ham and egg salad sandwiches and the vegetable pastry! Delicious.

Scones

Next, the scones. And these are REAL scones--I am not a fan of American scones which are usually huge and way too sweet. I like them more like biscuits--all I want is maybe a few currants and then a dollop of clotted cream and a bit of jam. These, as you might imagine, are top notch. I did think it was a bit strange that they brought out three for the two of us but as it turned out, this entire tea turned out to be much more filling than it looked, and it was with great regret that we had to leave one scone uneaten. Trust me, I was very sad about it. There is also a little pastry wafer on this tier.

Scones & Jam

See? Could there be anything better than this and a cup of tea? Oh, right--dessert!

Fuschia Cake

We slowly tasted our way through everything, and my favorites were this gorgeously colored cake and the strawberry roll cake. The macarons were okay, but having tasted the platonic deal (Laduree, with Paulette a close second)...they didn't quite do it for me. And just when we thought we were done...

Espresso Pudding

One last dessert! They brought out these cute little espresso cups with a scoop of coffee sorbet on top. Underneath we discovered a yummy tiramisu. Delicious! A perfect ending to a wonderful experience. And no, I was hardly the only one taking photos of my tea ;) This may be a touristy thing to do, but I recommend it highly for anyone, tourist or local! It's an hour or two of peace and tranquility, something that can be hard to come by in frenetic Hong Kong.

Next installment: awesome stuff around HK. And yes, more food.

5 comments:

jocelynw said...

I went there a week ago then compared it to the Island Shangrila one... NO comparison. the pictures bring back savory memories x)

tofugirl said...

Ooh, Jocelyn, lucky you to get to compare! I would love to do that :D But I loved the tea at the Peninsula, it was just so....sophisticated (not me, though, I was taking pictures like the dorky tourist I was!).

missklicious said...

This afternoon looks amazing. Will have to remember to pay a visit on my upcoming HK trip!

tofugirl said...

Missklicious, in my opinion, this is a highlight! Well worth the wait :) Just soaking in the atmosphere is great.

Jaz said...

There are also selective hotel groups for smaller properties that generally select for high quality, boutique hotels.

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