The newest hotel to arrive on the Tokyo scene is the Aman Hotel which opened up in Otemachi (near Tokyo station) last year. This hotel, or rather it’s high tea offering has been on my radar for a while now. But bookings have been near impossible with a lot of frustration on my part. I am a rather impatient person.
In September last year, I tried to get an afternoon tea booking. But they were extremely busy and I was told that there were no seats until middle of October. Seriously, who are all these people who are doing high tea? With bookings full 4-6 weeks in advance, I had to drop pursuing this one for a while. I also did a few overseas trips at the end of last year (Australia in November and Palau in December) so wasn’t available for afternoon tea.
So back in January, I tried again to get a booking, only to be told that they were fully booked until February. Geez, I’ve never known a harder reservation. Getting a Michelin star restaurant reservation would have been easier that this afternoon tea. By this point, I was asking the hotel, let me know all your available days and time slots. How about you tell me when I can get a booking rather than when I can’t. It was at this point, that they enlightened me that they actually offer it everyday! And not just weekends which I was had been trying for. And not only was it offered every day of the week but from 11:30am to 9:30pm. Again not noted on their website (which states available from 12-5pm). With every day offering and a much later timeslot, I opted to do an evening afternoon tea instead. So I was able to finally get a booking for a Friday evening in January. So instead of dinner we went for high tea at 7:30pm after work, which was a little weird. Let’s hope all this trouble was worth it.
The high tea is offered in their Lounge Bar of the Otemachi Tower building and it’s called the “Black Afternoon Tea”.
You’ll be pleased to know that this is all-you-can drink tea and you can choose as many different kinds of tea as you like. Tea supplier is Ronnefeldt (same as the Four Seasons).
As for atmosphere, one word – Dark. Interior was varying shades of black, charcoal and grey.
A glass of sparkling: to begin the Friday evening:
Everything was black – the napkins were black. And even the teapots were black:
I did love the fact that the teapots came on tea warmers. One of only two places I have ever been to in the world so far where they do. This always wins brownie points in my book.
Afternoon tea for three:
The pate was amazing. The savoury portions were a little too small for my liking.
And the menu also said it had a fritter, but we think they mean frittata.
I also felt that the petite sweets dishes way outnumbered the savoury dishes. They could have had less sweets to make the afternoon tea more balanced, especially so when they offer afternoon teas until 9:30 in the evening. They could do with less sweets or more savouries for a more balanced dining experience.
There were only 5 savoury bites compared to about 10 sweets (not all pictured below), plus scones! This was a little too much sugar load for dinner (in lieu of a proper meal).
The sweets though were impressively handcrafted with a fashion theme.
Check out the chocolate handbag and high heels. And hat as well.
Edible fashion is a lot of fun:
And the handbag came filled with berries:
And the high heel was caramel filled:
And there was a jelly as well.
And jubes that came in an edible chocolate shell basket:
I washed all this sugar down with about 4 pots of tea.
And of course, there were also scones to be had: Though shalt not go hungry with the Aman high tea.
So the overall verdict:
Filling, yes. Ideal for sweets lovers. Was a little too light on the savoury elements. And not the most amazing scones ever. Unlimited teas and coffees is a big bonus though. The whimsical edible fashion sweets are a drawcard for girly girls. I’ll always be persuaded on flavour though. Not all the sweets were to my liking. I can’t say I ever really enjoy a jelly.
Standard price is 4,600yen plus tax,so about 5000yen without the champagne. Not bad considering the establishment, food and unlimited tea. Other downside was the smoke. We were unfortunately seated near the cigar library room which meant that cigar smoke pervaded the lounge area. I would recommend asking for a window seat to avoid the smoke. Don’t know that I would go back here again.