Tag Archives: afternoon tea hong kong

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique review – bon appe-tea!

TWGs hk tea tasting 5

At afternoon tea, it can be easy to lose focus… cute bite-sized finger sandwiches, scrumptious sweets, and of course, buttery yummy warm fuzzy-inducing scones (with clotted cream, of course). But it is called afternoon TEA for a reason – so who better to bring the focus back on your humble cup of char than TWG Tea!

I was invited for an epic afternoon tea of girlie chats, delicious nibbles, and pot after pot after pot of more tea than you ever thought existed with blogger BFFs Jasmine of Dress Me and Vanessa of All Things Indulgent, plus the lovely Renee from Flare and TWG’s Cathy. And for a truly special afternoon tea, you can’t go far wrong.

TWG started in Singapore and its Hong Kong Tea Salon & Boutique in the IFC mall has a Raffles-esque colonial feel, with rattan furniture, smartly suited and booted staff, and walls lined with iconic vintage-style tins of their signature 1837 blend. Afternoon teas are so ten-a-penny here that it’s lovely to find one that still feels special and a treat, without being in yet another five-star hotel. Time has a habit of standing still in TWG, and in hectic HK, that’s actually kind of a joy.

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Le Salon de Thé de Joël Robuchon high tea set review – one sandwich short of a picnic?

One of life’s laziest pleasures has to be high tea. Being able to enjoy a mid-week afternoon tea set basically signals ‘Hey, I’m a jobless slacker!’ but that’s all part of the fun, right?

My BFF Mirander (studying so not a jobless slacker btw) and I (freelancer, so technically not a jobless slacker either) have a fondness for long afternoons spent shopping with occasional – and even longer! – dessert pit-stops, so we decided to check out the Le Salon de Thé de Joël Robuchon after I heard lots of good things about it on Twitter.

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Simplylife Bakery Café restaurant review – a tea set down to a tee

I’m sure you must be sick of posts starting with ‘another thing I love about Hong Kong’ but ANOTHER thing I love about Hong Kong is the humble tea set. Usually served between 2.30-6pm at upscale restaurants and chan chaan dengs alike, they generally consist of a drink and snack-type main that’s a little lighter than the ones available at lunch – and at around half the price! Obviously, this is because most normal people are beavering away at work but for layabouts like me, living the life of leisure and not seeing daylight before 12pm anyway, it’s a perfect brunch-style compromise! And the tea set at Simplylife Bakery Café is one of the best around.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s nicer than both their lunch and dinner menus! I’ve eaten at Simplylife many times and enjoy their laidback casual café style but, despite an emphasis on quality ingredients, generous portion sizes and decent value, the meals themselves tend to be a bit hit-and-miss. Their European-based cuisine sounds great on paper, with healthy-sounding salads and pastas and hearty but modern meat and veg combinations dominating, yet all too often the food itself is slightly bland and underwhelming. However, their tea set is the tops.

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Orchard Garden Café & Restaurant review – bloomin’ marvellous?

If you thought the crockery at Crabtree & Evelyn’s Tearoom was pretty, be prepared for chintzy china overload at Orchard Garden Café & Restaurant. Fans of floral prints rejoice – this lot practically puts the Chelsea Flower Show to shame!

We popped into Orchard Garden Café on one of my frequent (as you’re rapidly discovering!) pit-stops for afternoon tea. The cuisine is Japanese Western and, yes, there were the as-usual bizarrely heavy tea set options, but their desserts and drinks menus appeared to be as long (if not longer) than the one for main meals – meaning it’s clearly my kinda place!

I’d already had the inkling that it would be my kind of place when my magpie instinct kicked in upon entering the premises. Similar to my experience at Pomme, I wanted to steal almost everything inside – from the sprigs of flowers on the tables to the colourful splashy artwork, the squishy white sofas to the telephone number of their interior designer. It almost makes the steep climb up several flights of stairs to get there worth it; amongst the mayhem of Mong Kok, it’s a refreshingly light bright modern space, best enjoyed in the quiet lull of the afternoon.

I chose my Honey Apple Tea ($35) simply because it had the prettiest crockery in the menu – a teacup and saucer emblazoned with royal purple pansies. I spent so long cooing over it that I barely had time to be impressed by the fact it was served with slices of genuine fresh fruit and a jar of golden runny honey (rather than being made with a shop-bought formula out a pot, a Hong Kong speciality). It was a sweet, summery tea, made all the more so by the delightful ware in which it was served. My auntie’s Ginger Lemon Tea ($32) was similarly splendid – an exquisitely decorated teacup, a dish of fresh fruit and a piping hot, fragrant cuppa.

Meanwhile, the size of the desserts (a vast array of waffles, pancakes and sundaes were available) was somewhat at odds with the dainty china; the portions seemed designed for hulking sweet-toothed giants whilst the crockery arrived straight from a pixie’s tea party. I went for the caramel custard (known by the more discerning diner as a crème caramel, $28) simply because it looked like the only dessert I could polish off on my own. That was true enough but on tasting it, I didn’t want to. Overly-sloppy, overly-sweet, a bobbing slobbery mass marooned in a sea of syrup with an odd powdery aftertaste to boot, it didn’t even have flowery crockery to redeem it.

Much better were my auntie’s Crispy Fruit Rolls ($48) – think sweet spring rolls and you’re halfway there. Crispy filo-pastry encasing a medley of fresh strawberries, blueberries, banana and mango with a squirt of whipped cream, served warm, with a bizarre dip of custard sauce. The flaky crunch of the golden pastry matched with the gooey fruity mess inside made for an inspired combination but it was still too big and too filling for even the pair of us to finish. On the plus side, the contemporary cornflower plate may have been my favourite yet.

Whack on a 10% service charge and it’s frankly a little too dear to justify not being more delicious (in fact, it cost more than our lunches combined, which can’t be good). It would probably be better if you’re sharing as a group… or if they installed a lift… or if they allowed you to simply purchase the pretty plates instead of the superfluous desserts that came with them!

See all Orchard Garden Café & Restaurant locations in Hong Kong here

Crabtree & Evelyn Tearoom review – tea for two?

UPDATE: Crabtree & Evelyn Tearoom is now closed.

Afternoon tea with jam, cream and scones is practically a British institution, right? Except I know of not one person in Blighty that partakes of this quintessentially English meal.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the art of afternoon tea being embraced by most luxury hotels and their dining establishments here in Hong Kong… and even some not so luxury ones, if the ‘high tea set’ at Spaghetti House is anything to go by (it includes crisps and chicken wings… high tea at a five year old’s birthday party perhaps). In fact, enjoying the tea set at the Peninsula has become one of those ‘must-do’ things here (I’ve done it twice and yes, it goes on the long list of things I mean to write about eventually). However, the Crabtree & Evelyn Tearoom must be one of the few places in HK that specialises only in serving afternoon tea – well that and being quality purveyors of nice-smelling hand cream.

You’d never guess that this quaint little corner of Little England would be tucked away in a nondescript office building in Wan Chai. Crabtree & Evelyn has always cultivated a traditionally English image so I was somewhat surprised to discover that the company is actually American and was founded in the late 1970s. They certainly had me fooled – and with their Tearoom, complete with floral crockery, relaxed atmosphere and scones laden with cream and a variety of jams, they’ve successfully managed to keep up the illusion of being every bit as old-world as the tearooms you might find in an Agatha Christie novel.

Enjoying your tea set – and you really should take time to enjoy it, as that’s practically the whole charm of the thing – is as much about lusting after the pretty-as-a-picture tableware as it is about the food itself. I knew I’d died and gone to chintzy heaven when even the printed napkins matched the teapots. (So much so I banned my boyfriend from using his, so I could take them home to stroke lovingly).

I opted for the rose tea, whilst the boyfriend went for lavender with the menu listing the various health properties each type of tea has – let’s say the rose tea was a little too good for my digestion, if you catch my drift! But it’s always fun to see what looks like pot-pourri floating in your brew and the fragrance was really rather pleasant. The lavender one did taste a bit too much of garden but the rose was not too strong and had a nice, clean taste, both getting considerably better once you stirred in some honey!

The food itself was a little hit and miss. The undoubted star of the set were the scones, which came with enough types of jam to make the WI’s stall at the village fête look positively understocked in comparison. They were warm, buttery, claggy mounds of scrumptious, especially when smeared with liberal lashings of cream and jam. The only sad thing is that scones are so filling, we didn’t manage to polish off the lot! I’d say they were superior to the ones at the Peninsula, to be honest.


The rest of the sweets were decidedly less sensational. There were some fruit tarts that looked better than they tasted, with the fresh fruit element much nicer than the bland hard pastry. The kiwi-topped one had some kind of custard in it that was far too sickly sweet; sorry Mr Crabtree, but Maxims can do better. Eating the four small chocolates was like a confectionary-based form of Russian roulette – my first attempt was a marzipan one, which was disgusting, mainly because I hate marzipan. My boyfriend got luckier with a plain chocolate one with a gorgeously gooey centre, and there was another nice one that had crispy bits in. The final one had the word Amaretto on it, so at least the rich kick of alcohol was expected. It reminded me of that chocolate-eating face-off ad for Revels (‘Coffee!!!’); since they’re small and all different, it makes sharing with your partner-in-crime a little difficult!

Finally, the savouries. To be honest, I was unable to distinguish any difference between the pastries so could not begin to guess what they were filled with! They were acceptable but not exceptional. The sandwiches, however, were in a different league. Then again, I’m a big fan of sandwiches as part of afternoon tea although in any other setting, I won’t touch them! Lovely, soft, fresh white bread (can’t stand places that try and fob me off with brown or worse, wholemeal), filled with lovely soft fresh fillings. Delightful. One was the classic combination of tuna and cucumber (again, I won’t touch cucumber in any other setting!), the other was sliced chicken. There’s nothing more simple than a sandwich but I guess the genius of these were that they really reminded me of what I’d get back home. The best sandwiches are so light you don’t even realise they’re gone until your hands are empty and these were exactly that.


The tea set for two clocks in at $298, which I’d describe as reasonable value for the whole experience rather than just the food itself (HSBC credit card holders also get 10%, which basically cancels out the service charge). I think The Tearoom is also the only place where Crabtree & Evelyn’s beautifully-packaged cookies and preserves are available for sale. It’s best for a lazy day where you can enjoy the meal in the lovely atmosphere – namely, with the divine scent of Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries floating in the air (you actually get a gift-boxed hand cream free; alas, the jar of honey that other reviewers have commented on is now reduced to a jug of the stuff that cannot be taken away!). Even the furniture has an English country house feel, with plush high-backed chairs, marble tables and a pretty veiled gazebo outside if you dare to brave non air-conditioned HK weather. There are only a few tables and given that it is still a shop, you do get customers wandering in, which can feel a little weird as you’re scoffing down your scones. We went on a weekday afternoon, meaning we were the only customers and able to enjoy our meal in peace, quiet and luxury although I imagine weekends are much busier and you’d have to book.


Overall, I had a luverly time but I’m not sure I’m in a hurry to go again, especially as there are so many tea sets to try out in HK. But it was worth it for the atmosphere, which really did feel like home – or at least, the chocolate-box version of it. I even felt like I had to watch my table manners (of course, I always do!), hold my teacup with my pinkie sticking out and come suitably attired (I wore a dress)! Definitely one for girlie girls looking to coo over pretty plates – just don’t hold me responsible if you find yourself disillusioned with Ikea’s finest afterwards!

Shop 126, Sun Hung Kai Centre, 30 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong 2511 0868

Afternoon tea with jam, cream and scones is practically a British institution, right? Except I know of not one person in Blighty that partakes of this quintessentially English meal.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the art of afternoon tea being embraced by most luxury hotels and their dining establishments here in Hong Kong… and even some not so luxury ones, if the ‘high tea set’ at Spaghetti House is anything to go by (it includes crisps and chicken wings… high tea at a five year old’s birthday party perhaps). In fact, enjoying the tea set at the Peninsula has become one of those ‘must-do’ things here (I’ve done it twice and yes, it goes on the long list of things I mean to write about eventually). However, the Crabtree & Evelyn Tearoom must be one of the few places in HK that specialises only in serving afternoon tea – well that and being quality purveyors of nice-smelling hand cream.

You’d never guess that this quaint little corner of Little England would be tucked away in a nondescript office building in Wan Chai. Crabtree & Evelyn has always cultivated a traditionally English image so I was somewhat surprised to discover that the company is actually American and was founded in the late 1970s. They certainly had me fooled – and with their Tearoom, complete with floral crockery, relaxed atmosphere and scones laden with cream and a variety of jams, they’ve successfully managed to keep up the illusion of being every bit as old-world as the tearooms you might find in an Agatha Christie novel.

Enjoying your tea set – and you really should take time to enjoy it, as that’s practically the whole charm of the thing – is as much about lusting after the pretty-as-a-picture tableware as it is about the food itself. I knew I’d died and gone to chintzy heaven when even the printed napkins matched the teapots. (So much so I banned my boyfriend from using his, so I could take them home to stroke lovingly).

I opted for the rose tea, whilst the boyfriend went for lavender with the menu listing the various health properties each type of tea has – let’s say the rose tea was a little too good for my digestion, if you catch my drift! But it’s always fun to see what looks like pot-pourri floating in your brew and the fragrance was really rather pleasant. The lavender one did taste a bit too much of garden but the rose was not too strong and had a nice, clean taste, both getting considerably better once you stirred in some honey!

The food itself was a little hit and miss. The undoubted star of the set were the scones, which came with enough types of jam to make the WI’s stall at the village fête look positively understocked in comparison. They were warm, buttery, claggy mounds of scrumptious, especially when smeared with liberal lashings of cream and jam. The only sad thing is that scones are so filling, we didn’t manage to polish off the lot! I’d say they were superior to the ones at the Peninsula, to be honest.

The rest of the sweets were decidedly less sensational. There were some fruit tarts that looked better than they tasted, with the fresh fruit element much nicer than the bland hard pastry. The kiwi-topped one had some kind of custard in it that was far too sickly sweet; sorry Mr Crabtree, but Maxims can do better. Eating the four small chocolates was like a confectionary-based form of Russian roulette – my first attempt was a marzipan one, which was disgusting, mainly because I hate marzipan. My boyfriend got luckier with a plain chocolate one with a gorgeously gooey centre, and there was another nice one that had crispy bits in. The final one had the word Amaretto on it, so at least the rich kick of alcohol was expected. It reminded me of that chocolate-eating face-off ad for Revels, which spoofs the scene from Deer Hunter (‘Coffee!!!’); since they’re so small and all different, it makes sharing with your partner-in-crime a little difficult!

Finally, the savouries. To be honest, I was unable to distinguish any difference between the pastries so could not begin to guess what they were filled with! They were acceptable but not exceptional. The sandwiches, however, were in a different league. Then again, I’m a big fan of sandwiches as part of afternoon tea although in any other setting, I won’t touch them! Lovely, soft, fresh white bread (can’t stand places that try and fob me off with brown or worse, wholemeal), filled with lovely soft fresh fillings. Delightful. One was the classic combination of tuna and cucumber (again, I won’t touch cucumber in any other setting!), the other was sliced chicken. There’s nothing more simple than a sandwich but I guess the genius of these were that they really reminded me of what I’d get back home. The best sandwiches are so light you don’t even realise they’re gone until your hands are empty and these were exactly that.

The tea set for two clocks in at $298, which I’d describe as reasonable value for the whole experience rather than just the food itself (HSBC credit card holders also get 10%, which basically cancels out the service charge). I think The Tearoom is also the only place where Crabtree & Evelyn’s beautifully-packaged cookies and preserves are available for sale. It’s best for a lazy day where you can enjoy the meal in the lovely atmosphere – namely, with the divine scent of Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries floating in the air (you actually get a gift-boxed hand cream free; alas, the jar of honey that other reviewers have commented on is now reduced to a jug of the stuff that cannot be taken away!). Even the furniture has an English country house feel, with plush high-backed chairs, marble tables and a pretty veiled gazebo outside if you dare to brave non air-conditioned HK weather. There are only a few tables and given that it is still a shop, you do get customers wandering in, which can feel a little weird as you’re scoffing down your scones. We went on a weekday afternoon, meaning we were the only customers and able to enjoy our meal in peace, quiet and luxury although I imagine weekends are much busier and you’d have to book.

Overall, I had a luverly time but I’m not sure I’m in a hurry to go again, especially as there are so many tea sets to try out in HK. But it was worth it for the atmosphere, which really did feel like home – or at least, the chocolate-box version of it. I even felt like I had to watch my table manners (of course, I always do!), hold my teacup with my pinkie sticking out and come suitably attired (I wore a dress)! Definitely one for girlie girls looking to coo over pretty plates – just don’t hold me responsible if you find yourself disillusioned with Ikea’s finest afterwards!

Shop 126, Sun Hung Kai Centre, 30 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, 2511 0868