Feeling regal this June? Whether you’ve been swept up in Kate Middleton mania, have OD-ed on those Diamond Jubilee adverts on all the BBC channels on now TV or simple fancy a traditional English scone and clotted cream, the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has THE afternoon tea for you!
To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne, The Clipper Lounge is putting on a very special British Diamond Jubilee Royal Afternoon Tea – complete with all manner of quintessentially British teatime delights!
As ever with Chef Uwe Opocensky’s food (let’s not forget last month’s epic art menu!), everything was presented exquisitely. An organic Welsh egg topped with caviar looked delicately divine and tasted just as good too – the egg was deliciously warm and creamy and the smattering of caviar added a wickedly decadent twist.
Unlike many afternoon tea sets that are totally skewed in favour of the sweets, it was nice to see that this one gave just as much attention to the savoury side too. Homesick Brits and dedicated Anglophiles will get a little kick (like I did!) out of Chef Uwe’s dainty takes on such stalwarts as pork pies, Yorkshire puds and Coronation chicken. My personal favourite was the deconstructed Coronation chicken sandwich (far right); these days, Coronation chicken is considered a bit cheesy and dated (unsurprising, given it was originally created for the Queen’s coronation all those 60 years ago!) but this was absolutely wonderful – tender finely chopped chicken, a creamy sauce with just the right hit of curry powder and a little smidgen of mango chutney to make the whole thing come to life.
The dainty poached salmon open sandwich was the only other major stand-out but a word to the wise: if you don’t like horseradish, steer WELL clear of the mini Yorkshire pudding with roast beef!
On the sweet side, it’s English teatime all the way. A mini Eton mess of light crunchy meringue topped with fresh sweet juicy strawberries was absolutely superb and I could have eaten a platter of those alone! But that would have meant I missed out on the chocoholic decadence of Millionaire’s Shortbread (chocolate, caramel and buttery shortbread – what’s not to love?!) and the most perfect mini Victoria Sponge (sponge, strawberry jam and cream to the uninitiated!). There’s also a Battenberg (the pink and yellow one) and a fairy cake (sponge, pretty icing) that were both a tad too sweet for me; however, the sponge for all these desserts was beautifully light and airy.
Of course, the star of the meal is the scones. These were British scones true and proper – far too huge for their own good and all sorts of awesome topped with lashings of rich clotted cream and the Mandarin Oriental’s signature Rose Petal Jam. No wait… come back… I was as sceptical of the Rose Petal Jam as you are (who wants to eat flowers?!) but this was something else! It had a runnier consistency than traditional jams but the taste – a light fragrant fruity mouth-watering concoction of strawberry and orange – was mind-blowing. You can buy this from the MO’s cake shop, which I suggest eating with a spoon straight up from the jar!
There is a champagne option but come on, to be truly British, you have to wash your afternoon tea down with a nice cuppa! You’ll be spoilt for choice with 17 types of tea but I went for the Mandarin Oriental’s signature legend blend, which isn’t available anywhere else in the world – and it was a lovely mellow creature with subtle hints of caramel and orange that suited the tea set perfectly.
Whilst you’re there, you can also admire artwork by royals past and present displayed around The Clipper Lounge… but if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be too busy admiring the food! For any fellow Brits, this is a highly scrumptious way to celebrate HRH’s Diamond Jubilee (no need to go overboard with the Union Jacks and bunting!) but even if you couldn’t give two hoots about Queen Lizzy, this is a tea set as pretty and tasty as the best of them… Tiaras optional!
The Diamond Jubilee Royal Afternoon Tea costs $288 for one person and $488 for two (plus an extra $200 per person for a glass of “R” de Ruinart Champagne). It runs until 1 July, 2012 between 3-6pm.
The Clipper Lounge Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Rd C, Central
2825 4007 www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong/dining/bars_and_lounge/clipper_lounge/