“Hey wake up,” the voice sounded far away but the nudging on my shoulder felt very much real. “Maybe we can have afternoon tea today.”
What?! These words jolted me wide awake from my still groggy early-morning daze. These are words I never expected to come out of D’s mouth.
“Are you serious??” D hates stuff like this. Girly + expensive does not an ideal afternoon make. I had to drag him to tea at Twinings in Bangkok (and he only agreed because it was dirt cheap), where he proceeded to spend the entire time on his phone and refusing to eat anything (which I couldn’t complain about, because hey, more for me).
“Yeah, maybe. You won’t be able to have it for a while so we may as well do it now while in Hong Kong.”
I guess with our recent winnings, D felt generous enough to take me to tea.
Besides England, Hong Kong is probably next in the world famous for the afternoon tea tradition. So I quickly got to researching the most highly rated teas before D can change his mind.
While scrolling through a list, one caught our eyes: Le salon de thé de Joël Robuchon.
For those who don’t know it, Joël Robuchon was once named the chef of the century, so this has got to be good.
There are a few locations and we picked the one at the IFC mall. When we arrived, I was initially disappointed that it wasn’t even a proper cafe/tea room. Rather, it’s just an open sitting area next to the escalators, surrounded by stores, and bathed with the mall fluorescent light.
Okay so the ambiance wasn’t great, but I can look past that if the tea set is good. So was it?
We chose the tea set for 2 (cost: 470HKD, or US$60, plus extra for service), which also came with two tea selections. I can’t remember what D choose, but my berry fusion tea had a wonderful fruity flavor.
The stand that the food came on was just made of wood instead of luxurious silver trays. But that’s alright too… What matters is how good the food is.
Of course, we started with the scones. Two types were provided: plain and raisin (does anyone actually like raisin in their baked goods?!). They were perfectly buttery scones, but I’d have to say I’d had better. The clotted cream and strawberry jam were both delightful, however.
After a few bites of scones, I moved on to the savory bites:
I loved that this was not your typical finger sandwiches. I absolutely devoured the eggplant on olive bread, tuna tomato cup, and salmon tartare slider. And then, there were the more interesting ones like foie gras with mango jelly and asparagus mousse.
I quite enjoyed all the savory bites. I thought they were delicate and creative with the flavor pairings and texture. However, D had less kind things to say and insisted that the buttery croissants were the only good ones of the whole bunch.
And then it was time to move on to the desserts!
I found the selection to be a little hit and miss. The brownie topped with hazelnuts and hazelnut creme (think Ferrero Rocher) tasted delicious but texture was a bit dry. The lemon walnut muffins were completely forgettable, as were the raspberry mousse cake and coconut mousse cup.
However, the chocolate desserts were straight on point with just-melt-in-your-mouth chocolate balls with a creamy fruity center and zesty orange sticks dipped in chocolate. And the absolute best were the caramel apple macarons. These were the airiest macarons I’ve ever had, practically falling apart in your fingers as soon as you pick them up.
Verdict: I quite enjoyed it but did feel like it was a little pricey (or am I just really cheap??). D was overall disappointed and expected more from the chef of the century with 28 Michelin stars, but really, I suspect that it had more to do with the fact that his Y chromosome simply makes him incapable of enjoying such an activity. Either way, I benefited, as I got to eat most of it. :)
- There are three locations: Shop 315 & 334, Landmark Atrium | Shop 2045A, Podium Level 2, IFC mall | Shop 1020B, First Level Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon
- Hours: Afternoon tea starts at 3 pm (M-F) and 2 pm (Sat-Sun).
- The cafes also serve a variety of meal sets, a la carte food items, and pastries and desserts.
This was my first high end afternoon tea experience, but will not be my last! I will still be on the hunt for good ones, though I think I may just wait to splurge on one in London. I have my eyes on this.
What is the best afternoon tea you’ve had?