Afternoon tea has been a mainstay of Hong Kong’s hotels and restaurants for years — we have a long tradition of loving tea in these parts, and the Brits’ love of a good brew added another layer to that cultural fixation on a good, strong cuppa.
Sometimes, though, maybe we just want a little booze with our scones. Kowloon Shangri-La’s Lobby Lounge has answered that call with its just-launched “newfangled afternoon tea set featuring a touch of pink chic.”
They’ve rolled out this new afternoon tea menu in celebration of the 37th anniversary month of the Kowloon Shangri-La, which is coinciding with 200 years of Veuve Clicquot Rosé. The menu serves this rosé with a selection of sweet and savory treats in an Instagram-friendly four-tier birdcage.
We start off with an amuse bouche of yellowfin tuna tartare brioche with ricotta cream and pink pepper-blanched peaches. That’s complemented with a goat cheese tortilla wafer served with blackberry compote and confit orange zest, plus something sweet: a watermelon and rose petal shooter with white chocolate palmier.
This trio of small bites come served on a designer plate with a hoop for you to hang your glass of rosé from.
The watermelon shooter was very refreshing, and the tuna tartare was excellent — the juicy peaches were a nice touch and added a bit more juice, moisture and sweetness to the tartare.
The item that might be hit-or-miss for some is the goat cheese. Look, we love cheese, but even this felt like a bit too much goat cheese for one mouthful, and the blackberry compote wasn’t enough to balance out the overpowering goat cheese.
Moving on to the savory platter: Balik-style salmon on blini with salmon roe, crunchy baby radish with butter and pink peppercorn, and a lobster salad sandwich on beet bread.
All in all, a solid quartet of treats. The lobster sandwich and salmon were by far the best items on that platter, and we would have happily eaten a full-sized version of the lobster sandwich. The roe on that first one was quite strong and a bit too fishy for our liking, however.
The radish dish was so light that it felt as though we were chewing on air, which is actually not as unflattering as it might sound — the other items on the plate were much heavier on the tastebuds, so that radish did act as a bit of contrast to all that richness.
Moving on to the sweet treats: The pink rose champagne and lychee jelly was very good, although we recommend not throwing the whole jelly in your mouth in one go. Our favorite, however, was the pink marshmallow topped with crackling candy.
And of course, it’s not afternoon tea without scones, and the cute bite-sized ones served at the Shangri-La come with a bowl of homemade jam made with raspberry, sakura and champagne and a bowl of clotted cream. The jam had the perfect amount of sharpness and was balanced out by the light fluffiness of the cream, and the scone itself — in part because of its size — wasn’t too heavy.
All-in-all, an enjoyable and light afternoon tea set. Our one gripe is that this tea set is only available on weekdays from 2-5pm, so that sucks for those who were planning on swinging by for a weekend or a public holiday.
The new tea set without champagne costs HK$498 for two guests and HK$298 for one. For those who do fancy a boozy afternoon tea, the cost is HK$698 for two guests with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut, NV, each, and HK$798 for two with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rosé and additional treats per guest.
Note: all prices are subject to a 10 percent service charge.
The tea set is limited to a maximum 30 guests per weekday, so we’d recommend booking ahead to avoid potential disappointment.
Lobby Lounge, Kowloon Shangri-La, 64 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
MTR: Ocean’s Park, approx 1 hour’s walk (cab it.)