Wednesday, January 21, 2009

High Tea at the Mandarin Oriental

It's official. I love tea at Mandarin Oriental.

I'm going to let the photos fend for the culinary reasons, but, you know what, afternoon tea is not so much about the food but the experience. You're there to soak up a little peace of mind, bask in the moments that leisurely pass by, and be treated like... well, like a guest at a five star hotel! And that brings me back to... one of the reasons I liked the hotel right away (other than the fact that it is a five star. I know, so hard to like.) was that it was very Tokyo. It is located in Nihonbashi--the center of the city--but its presence is not obvious from the street as it occupies the top floors of a business tower. The entrance is not bold, either, but the details let you know your pampering has begun. As you walk past the front desk and wait for the elevator to take up upstairs, you may notice the faint fragrance of luxury--did you know that hotels have signature scents?

Oh, High Tea at the Mandarin Oriental, let me count the ways...

1. Finger food-y sandwiches.

2. Mango mousse. Mango, a way to my heart. Sigh...

3. Warm assorted scones with butter, mango spread, and berry spread.
Pictured is a chocolate scone, there was also plain.

4. Endless cups of tea served from a menu of over 20 different kinds, both Asian and western. I had so many: the Mandarin Oriental green tea blend, hibiscus herbal tea (pictured), Assam... Each cup is brewed for you separately. Bliss...

5a. Macarons, crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.
But just look at how they were served...

5b. You had me at mango mousse!

6. Location, decor, all-around five-stardom.
These are definitely two of the best seats in the house.
Ask for the seats by the window to make your visit even more breathtaking.

High tea? 4,000 yen.
Feeling Five Star? Priceless.