So you all know how much I love doing high teas. I have been able to convert Skye and Bex to being fans of it as well. And now any occasion where there is an excuse to do so, we are all well on board. The weekend of May 8-9 was Bex’s last weekend in Japan as she made the move back to the UK after what was about 5 years living in Japan. An end of an era. I met Bex on the JET Program when I was placed in the same town as her – the sleepy town of Namie along the Fukushima Coast. After our JET days we both then went on to work in Niseko ski town. Prior to her departure, we organised a weekend-long 送別会 for her. Sunday lunch was at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for High Tea. It’s a 5-star luxury hotel with a most superb tea lounge located on the 38th floor offering great view of Tokyo. They call the hotel a “Tower of Contemporary luxury”. The 38th floor – this was quite literally “High” tea. The food portions however were more of an afternoon tea proportion rather than a proper high tea.
Coincidentally, this year the hotel is celebrating its 5th anniversary. On offer was the Legendary 5 year Anniversary Afternoon Tea menu, subtlely themed around the number 5. The afternoon tea here at the Oriental Lounge is a modern contemporary take on the traditional British afternoon tea. There were no 3-tiered platters or pots of tea. It was a little different. Although I am more of a traditional gal when it comes to high tea.
Our scones were served first, which I personally prefer last. They were petite scones – one original, and the other an Earl Grey scone accompanied with cherry jam and an apricot jam, as well as clotted cream. No strawberry jam – I was a little disappointed.
Next was the sandwich assortment plate. Usually this is served first. I think on this occasion there was a slight delay with our sandwiches because I had forgotten in advance to arrange vegetarian ones for Skye, and the kitchen needed to prepare an alternative plate. The savoury plate consisted of the following: – Foie Gras Parfait – Peach Puree with Port Wine jelly and pistachio nut – Open face sandwich of smoked salmon and dill sour cream – pork ham and egg tart with pink pepper. – tuna and potato sandwich.
The vegetarian plate exceeded our expectations. We thought they would just come out with some plain cheese, tomato and cucumber sandwiches, but instead we were surprised with roasted chargrilled vegetables, avocado, asparagus and chutney.
A delightful dining experience. The service was impeccable as well. 5 stars for service. We had a great waiter. Another difference with afternoon tea is that there are no pots of tea. Instead, you select teas of your choice from the menu and they will bring out cups of tea to you. You can try as many different types of teas as you like, which we did. Mind you, there is quite a selection. Here are some of the teas on offer: – Assam – Darjeeling – Lavender – Earl Grey – Iced Muscat – Lemongrass – Blend teas – Chamomile, to name just a few… And you can have as many cups of tea (or coffee) as you like. Cuppa tea houdai. Admittedly, I do like the teapot experience, but this was not so bad either. -having cups of tea brought out to us on beck and call.
This was followed by a delectable mango pudding with coconut sauce served in a fancy shot glass, complete with a specially shaped spoon to scoop out every last bit of mango pudding from those hard to reach places.
The highlight and the specialty feature of afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental is the final course – the desserts. In the absence of a 3-tiered platter, the desserts are brought out in a Sweets Wheel-like ornament. It’s aesthetically beautiful. This is a classic example of food as art. The dessert assortment was the 5 Anniversay Petit Fours and consisted of the following: – Five spice meringues with chocolate brownie – 5 layered Baumkuchen – 5 fruits Macron – 5 kinds of nuts tar – 5 cereal cookies. They looked beautiful and way too good to eat, delicately arranged on a circular wooden antique ornament.
What a most divine relaxing experience. Service was amazing and atmosphere great too. There were quite a number of people in that lounge. It seems quite popular amongst the well to-do’s. We spent a leisurely couple of hours at the Oriental Lounge.
I booked a couple of weeks in advance and requested window seating which we were assured of at the time of booking, so we had a great window seats with a view on nice plush lounges. I highly recommend booking in advance and requesting window seats.
Service, views and presentation were superb. Taste and filling factor a little lacking in comparison to a few other places I’ve been to for high tea. Still great value though for service, views, beautiful presentation, relaxing environment, and endless cups of tea, even if the food is somewhat petite. Even the bathroom at the hotel was very pretty. Glass window walls which looked straight out over Tokyo. The Mandarin Oriental 5 year Anniversary Afternoon tea is 3800yen (can’t remember if that included tax or not).
The hotel’s website in English can be found here For afternoon tea, you’ll want to make a reservation at the Oriental Lounge (and don’t forget to book a window seat), not to be confused with the Tea Corner – Sense located on Floor 37, which is an oriental tea room. Access: Ginza metro line, get off at Mitsukoshimae station, take Exit A8 onto the street, face left and you will be right out the front of the Hotel.