*UPDATE: The Continental has completely changed all its menus including afternoon tea, which is now substantially smaller and nowhere near as good. Sad times.*
There’s no denying that you’re never short of a dozen or twenty hot new restaurant openings in Hong Kong. However, hot new restaurants that you want to come back to time and time again? That’s a bit trickier.
For that reason, one of my favourite recent openings – and recent in Rach speak means sometime in the past year – is The Continental at Pacific Place in Admiralty. It serves unfussy, unpretentious, British-European cuisine made with classic flavours, quality ingredients and uniformly excellent cooking. The whole place has the seamless confidence of an old-school hotel restaurant… except without actually being in a hotel (it is under Swire though, who own The Upper House and EAST hotels – then again, they’re also responsible for bottling Coca-Cola in Hong Kong so it takes all sorts). It’s consistent, reliable and most importantly, very very good.
As such, I’ve been there for lunch, brunch, dinner and drinks – but me being me, it’s The Continental’s afternoon tea I want to talk to you about first. As far as afternoon teas go, you couldn’t wish for a nicer space, with an elegant contemporary design courtesy of David Collins Studio (who did The Wolsey in London) that effortlessly marries intimate comfort with modern sophistication.
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What’s black, white and red all over?
No, not the punch line to some dodgy joke, but the new FEAST Francfranc Afternoon Tea!
Thanks to that eye-catching black, white and red colour scheme, there’s something a little Alice In Wonderland-Queen Of Hearts about this afternoon tea set – but it’s definitely too gorgeous to have me screaming “Off with their heads!” at any of FEAST’s unsuspecting waiters. Although now you mention it, that pre-swirled cream and jam for the scones does make the afternoon tea purist in me twitch uncomfortably… but hey, it does look awfully pretty!
Posted in Food, Pretty Things
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All the best things come from Scandinavia right? ABBA, Robyn, Lego, Ikea, H&M, The Moomins, Nordic Noir… and that’s just the tip of the Icelandic iceberg.
Well, now let’s add afternoon tea to the list too – as the afternoon tea at FINDS, Hong Kong’s only Scandinavian restaurant, has long been one of my favourites in town. It gets the balance between sweets and savouries pretty spot on and thanks to its Nordic inclinations, usually features a few more interesting and unusual items as opposed to yet another smoked salmon sandwich. Factor in a cute spring makeover via their GreenGate afternoon tea collaboration and it’s a definite must-visit… especially if you love pretty things as much as me!
Think of GreenGate as Denmark’s answer to Cath Kidston – namely, highly photogenic tableware adorned with pretty pastels and floral patterns galore. FINDS, located on the first floor of Tsim Sha Tsui boutique hotel The Luxe Manor, is a cushy afternoon tea location anyway (although it lacks a bit of atmosphere on quiet weekday afternoons); its interior, all curvy natural wood surfaces and bright pops of lime green, is inviting, relaxing and comfortable – so the coo-worthy crockery really is the Swedish lingonberry on top!
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Remember when Phoebe called Rachel “vanilla” on Friends?
It certainly wasn’t intended as a compliment then… but in the case of the Pierre Hermé Paris Infiniment Vanille Afternoon Tea at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, it most definitely is one!
Banish all thoughts of vanilla being bland and boring –Pierre Hermé’s Fetish Infiniment Vanille collection of exquisite pint-sized pastries is the coolest thing to happen to vanilla since the raps in Ice Ice Baby.
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I’ve had a stressful couple of weeks recently – so of course, the best way to combat this was to have two afternoon teas in one day. Obvious really, isn’t it? (Note: here‘s the one I had for breakfast!)
As luck would have it, our trip to the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong happened just in time to catch their Best Of London Afternoon Tea – a collaboration with Chef Nicholas Patterson, award-winning pastry chef from the Shangri-La at The Shard, London.
I love the Island Shangri-La for its old-school glamour (who can resist the plush carpets in their lifts, which are changed every 24 hours to feature each day of the week?) and their Lobby Lounge is no exception – plump sateen armchairs, marble tables, sparkling chandeliers and a live pianist tinkling away in the corner. The room feels like something out of the castle in Disney’s Beauty & The Beast… no doubt helped by the fact that said pianist was playing Tale As Old As Time when I walked in!
Although it doesn’t have the grandiose cityscape views of other afternoon teas in town, the Lobby Lounge’s enormous windows offer a different but equally lovely panorama – of the Island Shangri-La’s gorgeous tropical garden and giant Banyan Tree. It’s a view totally different to any other I can think of in Hong Kong, and further adds to the place’s quiet and relaxed charm.
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Cath Kidston + afternoon tea = a marriage made in “pretty things” heaven!
Yep, I’m back on the afternoon tea trail, this time with the Cath Kidston afternoon tea at FEAST – the casual all-day restaurant located at the EAST Hong Kong hotel in Tai Koo.
I actually eat at FEAST quite regularly… but with the Cath Kidston afternoon tea in full swing, the restaurant was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. In fact, it was full on oestrogen overload! Girls seem to be drawn to Cath Kidston prints like bees to a floral-decorated honeypot; factor in a highly Instagram-able afternoon tea set (is Instagram-able a word yet?) and you end up with a restaurant packed with tables of girls all doing an awful lot of photographing/swooning over cute teapots and not that much actual eating!
Posted in Food, Pretty Things
Tagged afternoon tea, afternoon tea hong kong, afternoon tea set hong kong, best afternoon tea hong kong, best afternoon tea Tai Koo, Cath Kidston, Cath Kidston afternoon tea, Cath Kidston afternoon tea Hong Kong, Cath Kidston Hong Kong, dessert, dessert hong kong, EAST Hong Kong, Feast Hong Kong, high tea hong kong, Penney Pang, review, Tai Koo