My last afternoon tea review – in Tokyo, at least – for 2011. Although fear not, I will be partaking in some afternoon teas abroad before the year is out. This was my 13th afternoon tea sampled this year. That’s a hell of a lot of scone eating right there. I’ll be leaving next week, so I did my December Tokyo afternoon tea on Sunday just gone – a party of four. After my Autumn leaves photowalk, I walked on down to the Peninsula Hotel in Yurakucho.
This is the third time I’ve been to afternoon tea at the Peninsula hotel. But it was an afternoon tea with a slight twist. Having done afternoon tea at the Lobby Lounge twice already, they also offer afternoon tea at the bar on level 24. The bar is called Peter – a somewhat unusual name for a bar. Why Peter? More importantly, who is Peter?
Afternoon tea on this winter Sunday afternoon took place at Peter Bar. I loved the décor here. Am interested in who designed the concept. It was well followed through. It was kind of a bachelor pad vibe with its black chairs, black marble bar, yet had a feminine touch with metallic silver trees and leaves. And if I do say so myself, I think my photos did the place justice.
Wide glass windows offer views over Tokyo city, and plenty of sunlight. The light was rather too glaring though, uncomfortably so. Just as well there was only an hour or so of daylight left. The Afternoon Tea set here includes a generous glass of champagne for starters.
Before the afternoon tea platter was brought out, we were served soup for starters – this was a welcome treat. We had celery soup and carrot soup. Who knew celery even had a flavour. Both were very tasty and warming to consume given the colder weather now.
I’ve been served all kinds of foods at afternoon teas ranging from churros to mini burgers, to quiche, croquet monsieurs and even spring rolls, but I have never had soup at an afternoon tea before so this was rather different. When you do as many afternoon teas as I have, it’s always nice to note how different venues do their take on afternoon tea. Here there are no three-tiered platters. Instead, it comes out on a metallic silver tree stand with the various branches as the tiers, and leaves as the plates. I totally loved this. I so want me one of these tree platters. The leaf plates even came off the stands like actual plates. I loved that the tree theme of the decor bar flowed through to the servingware. The natural light here provided prime lighting conditions for photo taking.
There was an assortment of bun sandwiches with different fillings – these buns, much like my own, were soft and fluffy. (My buns are perhaps more the former, rather than the latter). They were interesting that’s for sure.
The only slight inconvenience here was that the tree platters are shared between two people – however there was only one of each kind of sandwich and dessert – so this either means negotiating as to how each item is divvied up, or having to cut everything in half so you get to try a bit of everything. We opted for the cutting in half, so we could at least get a taste of everything. We had the waiter, take away our desserts to cut them up. As always, I saved the scones/biscuits for last, accompanied with cream and blueberry jam.
No tea sampling here either. You can choose whichever hot beverage you like, be it tea or coffee – and stick with it. Once you’ve made your selection, it is then unlimited refills. They serve tea here by the cup. Every time you wanted a refill, they’d bring out a new cup with your tea. Much to my disappointment, no teapots. And they were a little slow with the service here. On the plus side, there are decent views. Would have been a great sunset were it not for all the buildings obstructing our view. But that’s Tokyo for you.
Here is an interesting group shot of my tea friends. We were actually seated in front of a mirror column, so it was actually a little weird to be looking at ourselves whilst eating. Made for an interesting photo though.
The Peninsula hotel offers two very different takes on afternoon tea. The Lobby Lounge is much more traditional. Peter Bar, on the otherhand is more modern, avant garde. If I were pressed to pick between the two on the basis of an afternoon tea experience, I think I’d go with the Lobby Lounge. Peter Bar is probably better suited as a cocktail bar. Check out how it transforms as a bar by night:
The afternoon tea menus between the two venues are both very different. Even the scones between the two are totally different. Lobby Lounge plus points: traditional, unlimited tea sampling, better scones, excellent service. Peter Bar plus points: views, modern/interesting, tree leaf platter. I had wanted to go here on the basis of the tree leaf platter alone. Afternoon Tea at the Peter Bar, however, is only available on weekends and public holidays. The Lobby Lounge afternoon tea is available everyday. You can’t really go wrong with afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel at either venue. It does draw the crowds though. The Peter Bar Afternoon tea set costs 4,180yen (with service charge, tax etc all included). The set includes a glass of champagne (not sparkling wine), soups, sandwiches, desserts and scones, and unlimited hot beverage (tea or coffee) of your selected tea/coffee blend.
Reservations necessary/highly recommended. I personally only recommend for small groups. The bar is quite small and narrow. It leads out onto the Peter restaurant which I’ve heard is amazing for dinner. Peninsula Hotel, Peter Bar website and info here. Complete photo album can be viewed here.