Another year, another afternoon tea party. A shinnenkai Tea Party.
So I did another afternoon tea over the weekend, and I must say it was very easy to rank this one. Quite simply, because it went straight to the very bottom of my list of afternoon teas in Tokyo. The venue in question – Hotel Okura. It promised to be such a nice experience. Disappointment it delivered.
It’s not situated in a convenient location. The hotel is in the boring Toranomon embassy district, a 10min walk from the closest subway station. I got lost getting there and ended up close to 30min late because I couldn’t figure out how to get there. Entrance into the hotel is a little confusing too. They have a hotel annex – the South Wing, so be sure to go to the right hotel building. Entrance was hidden by a carpark. Not a visibly-labelled hotel.
As for the hotel itself. It’s very 70s. From the decor, right down to the 70’s dressed bellhops out the front of the hotel. Afternoon tea takes place in the Orchid Room, where needless to say, orchids adorn the table. Table setting is very pretty and florally. The Orchid Room is a dining room with a buffet set up in the middle for the lunch crowd. Felt a little odd to be doing afternoon tea in the middle of a buffet room. Most hotels usually offer tea in the cafe/lounge bar. No view to speak of either.
The whole afternoon tea experience was very disappointing. I don’t know where to begin. Don’t let these glossy photos fool you. Sandwiches were really plain, bland and dare I say even, quite disgusting. Way too much butter. More butter than filling. And very ordinary. I declined to eat all my sandwiches.
The scones were ok. More like biscuits (in the American sense, that they were very very dry). Scones to Australians should be big, round, and buttery fluffy.
Cakes were also very 普通.
Food on the whole was a little skimpy here compared to other places. The 不味い sandwiches were plentiful, but only two cakes. Most places tend to be quite generous on the dessert side. As for the tea, the selection was standard. The usual Ceylon, Assam, Earl Grey, English Breakfast and a couple of other herbal blends. However, you can only choose one choice of tea. So no tea sampling. They do however, give you fresh pot refills of your selected tea. With our group of six, we each chose a different tea, that way we could each sample eachother’s tea.
Time session ended promptly at 5pm without warning except when we were given our bills and ushered promptly out. Because the afternoon tea is in the main buffet dining room, dinner service needs to be prepared. My standard criteria for an afternoon tea session is 3 hours – minimum.
Save your 3200yen, which is what tea at the Orchid Room will set you back. Complete photo album here