*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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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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Whenever my friend Mirander and I meet up, we fall into incredibly girlie stereotypes. We gossip, we shop, we eat desserts. You’ve already followed our expedition for high tea at Robuchon, but now for one of our favourite pit-stops… La Creperie.
Unassumingly tucked away on the first floor of some nondescript serviced apartment building mid-way between Admiralty and Wan Chai, La Creperie is probably Hong Kong’s most authentic purveyor of French crepes – specifically buckwheat pancakes, galettes hailing from Brittany (thinner, larger, darker and crisper than the more conventional ones). Sweet, savoury, seafood, salad… they’ve stuffed them with anything they can get their hands on here… great news for greedy cochons like me, who can opt for crepes as both a main course and dessert!
Posted in Food, Hong Kong
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