Archive | October 2012

Hotel Tokyo Palace Afternoon Tea

The Palace Hotel Tokyo right near the Imperial Palace garden precinct and Tokyo Station district opened earlier this year in May. It’s also really close to my office building. I’ve been able to see the hotel being constructed over the last year or so. Since the hotel opened in May, I’ve been meaning to go and check its afternoon tea. Finally got around to getting there last Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny, warm autumn day. Such a shame I had a bit of a hangover. It was a rather subdued afternoon tea as we’d all been out the night before celebrating a friend’s birthday. I took a stroll through part of the Imperial Palace area. Lots of people out and about enjoying the sunshine. (All photos taken on iPhone and not my SLR this time).

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

Marunouchi CBD in the background.

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

The Palace Hotel:

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

They don’t take reservations on weekends for afternoon tea. Most unfortunate. They only take reservations on weekdays. We arrived at 2pm, and had to wait about 30minutes for a table. The Lounge was quite busy, and weddings were also going on in the hotel. We waited in the hotel lobby until a table was available. We finally got a table for our party of six. Afternoon tea is served in the Palace Lounge (lobby lounge).

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

The hotel is very new and the interior is nice with lots of natural light. The new polished floors were a little slippery! Wasn’t a huge fan of the ergonomics of the decor. It’s one of those lounges with comfy soft chairs, but with coffee tables built way too low. The Afternoon tea set here is pretty good. It gets bonus points for creativity and it’s serving ware. I kind of like it when places don’t serve afternoon tea on 3-tier platters. This place serves its afternoon tea in a really cool way. Autumn place setting:

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

The tea set includes unlimited tea of any variety. Yay. I think I tried four different kinds of tea!

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

Loved the teaware!

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

The tea selection is very decent. I was suitably impressed. My favourite of the day was a black tea blend called Trois Freres. A good strong tea best served with milk. The genmaicha was a nice tea to end with. Also had the English breakfast (not that good) and the light Ceylon tea which was too light. The way the afternoon tea is served here is really cool. No tiered platters…instead you get a lacquered wooden box! It kind of looks like a jewelery box with little drawers.

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

Pretty neat, ay.

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

Each drawer pulls out as an individual box of food, kind of like a bento. One of the slim drawers then serves as a plate.

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

The top drawer contained the scone.

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

The scone was pretty awesome. Definitely one of (possibly if not the best) scone I’ve had in Japan. It was definitely less ‘biscuity’ and more softer/fluffier on the inside. It was also square-shaped. I wish there had been two scones to a serve though. Scones should not however be served with honey and apricot jam. Where’s the regular strawberry jam?! And honey has no place on scones. Crumpets however are totally deserving of honey. Oh well. The savoury “drawer” was my favourite.

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

Two portions each of sandwiches, quiche, pork rillette on baguette, and even inari sushi! The quiche was pretty divine. I thought the raisins and dried apricot was a nice touch. The dessert drawer was ok – an assortment of cakes and berries.

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea
From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

And I always save the scone for last. Sadly, sans jam.

From Palace Hotel afternoon tea

Afternoon tea here is standard fare. Not the best and not the worst in Tokyo. Location is convenient though and the food is decent, as is the tea selection. The service however was ridiculously slow! Be prepared to wait 30minutes for each pot of tea. I am not exaggerating. Doesn’t help when the wait staff are shuffling about in kimonos – makes it awkward to carry trays and serve food etc. It is all very pretty though. Afternoon tea (includes unlimited tea) is 3800yen plus tax (about 4100yen). Menu can be viewed on their website.

Advertisements

Afternoon tea at Enokitei, Yokohama

It’s been a while since I’ve done an afternoon tea in Tokyo…maybe about 6 months…so it’s about time I did one. The weekend before I last I went to Yokohama for afternoon tea. I was finally able to go to a venue that had been recommended by a blog reader of mine (“Bottlelobotomy” occasionally reads my blog for my afternoon tea reviews, and I had asked him once what his recommendation was, and he said it was Enokitei in Yokohama. Since then I’ve been meaning to check it out. There are two Enokitei branches in Yokohama, one of which has a private tea room. I ended up taking my eikaiwa class (Fukushima survivors, from my Namie days) there. So our party of six was able to book out the private room (flat fee of 2000yen split between 6 people). We were each served our own afternoon tea tiers which made for a very crowded table!

From Enokitei
From Enokitei

The private room is a bit on the small size. Very cozy indeed and was up on the second floor of the building with windows that looked out onto the courtyard. It’s nice for some privacy in a small group where you can talk without being a disturbance to others. It fits a maximum of 6 people.

From Enokitei
From Enokitei

The afternoon tea is very simple and traditional. It consisted of toasted sandwiches with ham, cucumber, cheese and mayonnaise (no assorted sandwiches here), two currant scones, and a plate of cakes. Tea variety is limited. From memory, I think only 2-3 kinds of tea and no English breakfast tea. There might have even been only kind of tea from memory. I had Earl Grey Tea and I think I may not have had a choice about it. The tea is of course served in pots thankfully with little tea cozies.

From Enokitei

The vibe here is very quaint English rose theme. They offer home made cakes and sweets as well as lunch sets.

From Enokitei

Simple, classical afternoon tea. Sandwiches – I did like that they were toasted sandwiches!

From Enokitei

Currant scones with jam and cream – the scones aren’t probably what I would call “scones”, but nevertheless they were actually delicious. They were on the well-baked crunchier side which I enjoyed. I think “Australian” scones are very different to the scones in America, Japan and England. I think the best scones are most definitely “Australian” scones.

From Enokitei

Plate of cakes – raspberry bomb cake, fig and caramel cake, and a hazelnut chocolate cake which was delicious, and a generous dollop of cream.

From Enokitei
From Enokitei
From Enokitei

Afternoon tea here is very pleasant and cozy. Also on the second floor is a little store:

From Enokitei
From Enokitei

On the first floor is the general seating (second floor is the private room). The venue was really crowded on a Saturday afternoon, and there was even a long line to be seated. I was really glad that I had booked the private room.

From Enokitei
From Enokitei

The building itself is very quaint – a more European colonial style building, being that it’s in the Yamate district of Yokohama which has a more international/European style of architecture. It was actually my first time to that area of Yamate and I definitely need to go back to explore more of that beautiful area. Lots of cute cafes there.

From Enokitei

There’s also a nice courtyard which is perfect for spring/summer afternoon tea.

From Enokitei
From Enokitei
From Enokitei
From Enokitei
From Enokitei
From Enokitei
From Enokitei
From Enokitei

The view of Yokohama from the Foreigner’s Cemetery:

From Enokitei
From Enokitei

Afternoon tea set (includes the tea and food platter) is 2,575 yen. There are two Enokitei cafes located close to each other in the Yokohama area. There’s the Enokitei main store, and also Enokitei Rose Garden. I’ll have to go and check that one out too sometime. Both offer afternoon tea sets, as well as cakes, tea/coffee and light lunch meals. On this occasion, I went to the Enokitei main store. If going in a group, I’d recommend booking the private room in advance (2000yen fee for the room). Private room option only available at the Enokitei main store. Website here.