Archive | May 2011

High Tea at the Ritz , Tokyo

I died and went to heaven last Sunday. Heaven is level 45 of the Ritz Carlton hotel. When I die, that’s where I’m going. For my birthday this year, I decided to do the creme de la creme of high tea experiences. I had planned to do this since way last year and had been saving this venue in particular for my birthday. That’s right, High Tea at the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo. Pure indulgence. The Ritz Carlton high tea tops in terms of views and price. Tea at the Ritz is the highest place to do afternoon tea in Tokyo. On level 45, there is no higher place to indulgence in tea and scones, topping both the Park Hyatt (level 41) and the Mandarin Oriental (level 38). I have done my research (I have a high tea spreadsheet) and there is no higher place in Tokyo at least to partake in afternoon tea). It is also the venue that comes with the highest price tag for afternoon tea in Tokyo. It’s hard to justify paying 75 buks for an afternoon tea on any given Sunday, but considering it was my birthday treat it was worth going there, so I went with a couple of other foodie friends for a very small birthday soiree. Warning: Photo overload. The Ritz Carlton is in Roppongi Midtown. The entrance floor mat:

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

From the ground floor, you’ll need to make your way to the hotel lobby which is on level 45. The lift will take you straight up, bypassing all other floors.

From Tea at the Ritz!

High Tea is at the Lobby Lounge.

From Tea at the Ritz!

Table setting:

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Traditional classic decor with some contemporary trimmings. Bright pink menu!

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Lots of nice little touches. An assortment of jams…

From Tea at the Ritz!

Strawberry, Apricot, Orange marmalade and Honey.

From Tea at the Ritz!

Tea strainers:

From Tea at the Ritz!

Lots of little details here make it a great tea experience. One of these highlights were the tea sampler. This was the first place I’ve been to in Tokyo/Japan where they brought out a tea leaf sampler box. Here you can smell and look at the tea leaves. Genius. Very few hotels offer this. The only other venue where I’ve seen this was in Sydney at the Wentworth Sofitel from memory…maybe.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

A decent enough selection of a dozen different blends.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

We settled on the Ritz Carlton hotel blend (a chocolate black tea blend), English Breakfast tea (a favourite and a classic), and the Strawberry and champagne blend. The downside to tea at the Ritz is that you can’t sample all the tea blends like you can at other tea venues. You can choose a tea blend per person. So between the three of us, we could choose 3 teas. They are served in really large teapots that serve 5-6 cups. We shared the three tea blends. Hot water refill for the teas is available though, so still lots of tea consumed. I probably had about 8 cups of tea (at least 2-3 cups of each tea). That’s still a lot of tea. Would have been nice to try some of the other blends though. Another of the highlights here which I really appreciated were tea warmers! I’m embarrassed to say that I had never seen a tea warmer until that day. It was such a great touch. It was so nice and surprising to have a sip of hot tea every time I lifted my cup. I am so used to the tea getting lukewarm as is normally the case at afternoon tea. I never even knew tea warmers existed. I so want to get me one! Up until now, I thought people only used tea cozies/tea warmers to keep teapots warm. Tea warmer:

From Tea at the Ritz!

The teapot sits on top and the candle inside keeps the tea really nice and hot. Love it! A really great touch which made it a really nice tea experience.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Inside the tea warmer is a tealight candle. Hence why those candles are called tea light candles, I suppose. Genius! Ahhh, a relaxing cup of tea.

From Tea at the Ritz!

Sitting in the soft plush sofa soaking up the ambience….bliss. It was raining, grey and overcast outside, so it was nice to be inside enjoying a most decadent high tea. Onto the food – there are two high tea options here. The (regular) Heavenly High Tea (standard price) OR the Ritz Carlton High Tea. We, of course, went the very indulgent Ritz Carlton High Tea (7500yen). Crab meat, foie gras, salmon…bring it on.

From Tea at the Ritz!

Voila, the piece de resistance!

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Dessert tier:

From Tea at the Ritz!

Canape tier:

From Tea at the Ritz!

Scones:

From Tea at the Ritz!

The canapes were divine! Tasty morsels of some of my favourite foods – scallop, crab meat, prosciutto! Topped off with delicacies such as caviar and foie gras.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Check out at the crab meat topped with caviar, wrapped in mango.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Lots of sweets…

From Tea at the Ritz!

Bird’s eye view.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Salt caramel macron.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Scones…

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Live pianist too, and men enjoying high tea.

From Tea at the Ritz!

Tami and Kaori, also arranged a little birthday cake for me as well. (The Ritz has an upgrade plan where you can order a little celebration cake).

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Yay. Happy Birthday to me.

From Tea at the Ritz!

Here are some photos of the Lobby Lounge and atmosphere.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Indoor water feature.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Amazing views from the 45th floor!

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

The bar…

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Loved the artworks!

From Tea at the Ritz!

In case, you were wondering (but probably not) the tea brand used at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo is Lupicia, specially blended for the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Here are some photos of Roppongi Midtown where the 5-star hotel is located.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

Looking up… the Ritz Carlton hotel.

From Tea at the Ritz!
From Tea at the Ritz!

A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. A very indulgent, extravagant afternoon tea. A standard afternoon tea is also available with less decadent canapes (and dessert and scones) for about 3800yen. They even offer a kids afternoon tea called the Teddy Bear Tea set! Fancy that – kids doing afternoon tea at the Ritz! Highlights at the Ritz – great views, gourmet food, beautiful blissful atmosphere (exactly what I want heaven to be like), tea warmers, and tea leaf samples, unlimited seating session. Only downsides were: slow service, no unlimited tea sampling and it was a tad too pricey at 7500yen (plus 13% tax added on top of that). That being said though, was very worth it. A memorable experience and birthday partea to remember! Details, including menu, of High Tea at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo can be found here.