If you want to attract ladies to an event, I have two words that will do the trick: “Unlimited champagne”. Well, make that three words: “Unlimited sparkling wine” – coz let’s face it, it did not come specifically from the Champagne region. The folks at the Conrad Hotel, Tokyo, know how to get bums on seats at their Twenty-Eight Bar and Lounge. If the 2 x Michelin star Gordan Ramsay restaurants at the Conrad Hotel (part of the Hilton chain) aren’t enough to attract people, then their Afternoon Tea set with 2 hours of unlimited french fizz/champers/”I can’t believe it’s not champagne”/sparkling wine, certainly will. I had no trouble recruiting fellow tea lovers for September’s Champagne Afternoon tea – 8 people in attendance!
So Sunday afternoon was spent at the Conrad Hotel at their Bar and Lounge – called “Twenty Eight”. And guess what level it’s on? If you guessed level 28, you’d be right! I had originally wanted to do this venue back in August on the weekend that I went to Bvlgari, but they were booked out, hence I arranged to go to Bvlgari instead. So I booked a month in advance for this one. The Afternoon Tea is called “American Classic” and the food was amazing! So darn cute. Everything was mini. And nothing is cooler than miniature food…except for giant oversized food. And to top it off, for a limited time there is a champagne offer which half of us took up on – 2 hours of unlimited Chandon to accompany the afternoon tea. Yes, please! I’m going to launch straight into the food. Another venue that does a modern take on afternoon tea – they’ve done away with the three-tiered platters here. Instead, mini food is presented on a flat glass platter. And the mini food was soooo cute. We oohed and aahed over it. You’d have thought it was a baby shower. No one ate for a good 15 minutes as we happily admired the food and snapped away. Each platter held two servings. I’ve heard of super size me…but this was super shrink me.
How cute and awesome is mini food. There’s not enough mini food in this world, I say. Proof that good things come in small packages.
Savouries, sweets and scones all on the one tray, so beautifully presented. Talk about so much fun with food.
I’m rather obsessed with this mini food.
Food for little people = fun.
Can. Not. Get. Enough. Photos. Of. This.
We were in for a fun afternoon. Mini morsels of delectable food, washed down with unlimited glasses of Champers!
The way to a woman’s heart (or at least mine) is champagne and cute mini food (or giant food). And the food not only looked good but was pretty darn delicious too! It was so hard to pick and choose what to eat first and save for last. My ritual is to eat the savouries first – of which there were three on this occasion. This was the walnut bread with Iberico ham scented with truffles. OMG. So tasty. Love nuts. Love bread. Does that make me carb crazy. And Iberico ham is a really famous, amazing, tasty ham. And it did not disappoint. Sooo good. This was definitely one of my favourites.
I think the highlight of the day was the mini burger (slider for you American readers). Mini burgers are so the food of du jour. We were all rather besotted with this burger. It was a perfect miniature burger. God bless burgerlings.
I couldn’t resist doing a cheesy burger pose! (Clearly, I have no shame.) What can I say, I’m lovin’ it. This is one very happy meal.
And inside was juicy. Mini sliders have a tendency to be on the drier side but this surprisingly juicy and not dry. It also had a tasty harisa aioli for extra flavour. The burger was another winner.
Yum. Yum. It was interesting to see what everyone was saving for last. Someone was clearly saving the mini burger for the end. The last burger standing:
Next I had the brie cheese on cranberry bread sandwich. I thought that I would love this, but I didn’t.
I then moved onto the sweets next. There were a lot of desserts in this afternoon tea, and normally it’s my least-favourite tier. But everything on this plate was awesome and I loved the desserts portion of this particular afternoon tea. Desserts were their forte here. And I appreciate that it took skills to make everything in miniature. There was a lime marshmallow which was very limey – nice and tart, yet sweet and marshmallowy too.
This was followed by more miniature food – a tiny devil’s chocolate fudge cake.
And then a miniature cupcake. This was really yummy. A pistachio and cherry cupcake. Cupcakes are pretty small to begin with but this about a quarter of a size of a full cupcake.
It was sad to see the platters dwindle down as the mini morsels were slowly picked off and devoured.
So next I tried the New York cheesecake. Personally, I’m not a huge cheesecake fan in general. The only cheesecake I really love is my mum’s cheesecake which she always makes for birthdays and special occasions. It’s a favourite at family and relo gatherings. Anyway, this was the cheesecake – still good nevertheless.
Now normally I always…always save the scones for last. I never deviate from this ritual. But I did on this occasion. There were two scones – a plain one and a mango and coconut scone. It was a face-off between the lemon meringue pie or the scones. The lemon meringue pie won! Yes, lemon meringue pie was on offer. Awesome. Especially since just a couple of weekends ago I had been in pursuit of lemon meringue pie. And the only thing better than lemon meringue pie is MINI lemon meringue pie!
So I broke with tradition and ate the scones next. I just can’t get decent scones in Japan. They are dry, hard, American ‘biscuits’. I preferred the plain one over the mango and coconut one.
And then down to the last lemon pie standing:
I had saved it for last. And it was pretty divine, and so cute to look at!
Check out the detail to the mini meringue peaks.
It was yummy. It was actually way better than the other lemon pie that I had bought. There was such a tiny layer of the lemon curd, but it was so incredibly tarty and awesome. The only downside was the pastry on this pie. It was too flakey. It had been made with puff pastry rather than being a shortcrust pie pastry. Still bliss.
And then the whole platter was empty. What a sad moment.
You might recall that I’ve mentioned before in other tea reviews that it would be nice if they gave us fresh plates. Essentially we are eating savoury foods, scones, and desserts all off the same plate. Today was a prime example of needing fresh plates. Here’s what happens when you eat randomly (this is why I save the scones for last). Someone had obviously saved the mini hamburger for last but was left with a jam-smeared plate. Any afternoon tea venue that offers fresh plates will definitely earn brownie points with me, so as to AVOID the below travesty:
I really enjoyed the afternoon tea arrangement here – glass platters of mini food. I noticed that for other guests there in groups of twos – had different glass platters – they were glass platters that were in a staircase arrangement. I was a little jealous of their servingware. Super cool. I zoomed in a random person’s afternoon tea set. You can kind of see in this photo, what I mean:
Here are some photos of the Twenty Eight Bar and Lounge. Plenty of natural light streaming in from the tall glass windows.
Seats by the window only seat two people, but there are great water views over Tokyo Bay.
It was a lovely afternoon tea enjoyed with a great bunch of friends, including a couple of newbies to high tea. Eight has been my record number of attendees in Tokyo. Our little high tea societea obligatory group shot:
I highly rate the food here. Service was only a ok. Views are nice too – over the water. The French fizz offer – always a welcome bonus. Oh, I nearly forgot to talk about the tea. Only three teas are on offer here – Assam, Darjeeling and Ceylon. Nothing special. But for those who declined the champagne option, they went through a couple of pots of tea. Everyone chooses a tea and then you need to stick to it. No tea sampling here. Also coffee on offer as well. Once you’ve selected your tea for the afternoon – it’s as much tea as you like (unlimited refills). I went with the ceylon tea. I’m a little ashamed to say that I did not even drink a whole cup of tea. Was too busy drinking the french fizz!!! The Afternoon Tea – American Classic – was really good here. I thoroughly enjoyed the food.
The Afternoon Tea set on its own (food platter plus tea/coffee) is 3950yen (tax included). For the 2 hour free-flowing sparkling wine offer in conjunction with the Afternoon Tea set is 6000yen. Pretty good value, I say. For an extra 2000yen you can easily down 5-6 glasses of Chandon comfortably. More, if you’re really keen to get bang for your buck. (NB: That the sparkling wine offer is only valid at certain times of the year. Check with the hotel. It ends at the end of September…which is why we went when we did). The afternoon tea here is like the amuse bouche version of afternoon tea – and my bouche was amused. Touché mon amie.
I liked that you can totally relax here and take your time. There is no ushering you out the door in a hurry. Afternoon tea is on offer from 2:30pm, so we booked for right on that time. I was running late, so we probably didn’t start until about 3pm. The unlimited sparkling wine is valid for two hours, and then after that you can stay and continue to have as much tea as you like. Most people left at about 6pm, but I stayed back with a couple of the other girls, and we probably didn’t leave until about 7-7.30pm. It got dark, so I was able to take some night shots of the Lounge in Bar mode.
I do love a champagne afternoon tea.
The Conrad Hotel is a very nice hotel. Modern and contemporary design. I liked it.
I won’t be doing another afternoon tea for a little while now, which is why I indulged up (not that I need an excuse). For a least another 4-6 weeks. No more teas in September because the next few weekends are taken up with a run race, an ows race and little long weekend trip. And then off overseas for two weeks. The Conrad Hotel, Tokyo is located at Shiodome/Shinbashi area near HamaRikyu Japanese Gardens. From the subway you’ll need to alight at Shiodome station. The hotel is connected to the Shiodome exit. Shiodome station is the most convenient access. If coming by JR, alight at Shinbashi station. I got lost coming from this station. And it took me over 15 minutes to get there, although it should have taken way less than that. It can be a little confusing…so allow a little extra time. Hotel website, afternoon tea menu, info etc can be found here.