Saturday, November 30, 2013

HK Day 6 - Ritz Carlton Hong Kong - Afternoon Tea


Ritz Carlton's afternoon tea on the 102nd floor lounge was the first of three afternoon teas I would experience in Hong Kong. The express elevator took us to the 103rd floor, causing some ear discomfort along the way, and then we had to take an escalator down into the flashy lounge and bar. The decor was interesting and reminded me strongly of Carnival cruise ships; there were the same lit-up bars along the walkway and a general reddish theme.


I made a reservation a month in advance, in the hopes of securing a window seat. At the time they told me there wasn't one available, so I was very excited when they said upon our arrival that they had managed to make arrangements. But a window seat didn't turn out to be as good as we had imagined. The table was too small for the four of us, especially with two food towers and four teapots. The view was nice, but as the windows face west, the sun was glaring in our eyes the whole time as it began to set in the late afternoon.


Afternoon Tea Prices (Nov 2013)
Mon - Thu: $328 HKD (~$45 CAD) for one; $568 HKD (~$78 CAD) for two
Fri - Sun: $348 HKD (~$48 CAD) for one; $588 HKD (~$80 CAD) for two

When the food arrived, I thought the kitchen had made a mistake. No savouries? A top tier of cake rolls, a middle tier of mini desserts, and a bottom tier of scones... Hmmm...


Savouries
These cute and colourful rolls were actually sandwiches cleverly disguised as cake. The green was spinach bread with sundried-tomatoes and cream cheese; the orange was tomato bread with pickled cucumbers and cream cheese; the brown was coffee bread with foie gras mousse. I don't think foie gras works with coffee, but the other two combinations were decent.


Scones
The scones looked positively scrumptious with their picture-perfect tops, so glossy and evenly browned that they almost looked like replicas instead of real food. The texture was light and fluffy, yet the crust had the slightest crunch that made for nice contrast. Also on this tier was the lychee mango shot, a fragrant mousse with mango bits and topped with lychee jelly.


Desserts
I felt there were way too many desserts, compared to only three tiny tea sandwiches for savouries. They were all quite good, but I didn't have the sweet tooth to take on so many, especially since they were overly sugary. The most unique was the pistachio raspberry cake with its exquisite layers of green cake and jam filling. I also enjoyed the mini cheesecake with a topping of meringue and what looked like bird's nest, though I'm not sure whether the restaurant would use such an expensive ingredient. The rest of the desserts were not bad, but they were too rich for my tastes. The sponge cake in the caramel cafe pave was nice, but I didn't enjoy it because it was a very mousse-y cake.


I was quite happy with the food, both in terms of presentation and taste, even if the quality doesn't measure up to the Four Seasons afternoon tea. However, service was pretty much non-existent. After we were seated, it was as if we had disappeared off the face of the earth. Nobody ever came by to check on us to see if we needed something or if we enjoyed our food. Our teapots were never refilled, and we had to wave frantically for half a minute every time we needed to flag someone down. So although this place ranks #2 out of my three afternoon tea experiences in Hong Kong, I would rather go to my #1 choice, the Four Seasons, for a cheaper and tastier tea set.
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