Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I finally understand what High Tea is all about

Time flies. It has been a year (!!) since our ROM. Only a while ago, I invited all of you to re-live my ROM with me, and now I am blogging about our ROM anniversary. I think it's brilliant that this year has passed in a flash, because it just means that I am loving every minute of being married to Li Li (I hope she does too).

To make this a memorable day, I decided to bring her 25km away from my home (think living in Jurong West and going to Changi) just to drink some tea. For all who are interested, this place is called the Author's Lounge in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok, which is also the very first luxury hotel in Siam.

It's a classy old-style British-colonial type lounge that has the garden setting as they illuminate the place fully by sunlight. We were the first to arrive, but before we knew it, people from all over the world (including Thais of course) have filled every seat, turning the lounge into a bustling indoor garden with waitresses zipping around balancing pots of tea and three-tiered snack trays. It is interesting to note that there was an international crowd who came specially to have this authentic afternoon tea experience. Which tourist would spend half a day in their short vacation soaking in a lounge on a Sunday afternoon when they have 1001 other things to do in Bangkok unless this place is really famous?

Poor pianist was almost banging his fingers in vain in amidst noise produced by the chatty crowd

High tea is, in my humble opinion, the defining relaxing activity of taitais, especially after a tiring dose of retail therapy. I am trying to convince my wife that she can become a taitai here, and what better way to start?

Relaxing like a true Thai-Tai
 Of course, no high tea is complete without tea. We chose the most expensive tea on the menu and it did taste very refined. But to be honest, I would prefer a cup of icy cocoa from the shop opposite my office any day.

So finally, to the food. There's nothing much to say here, as I am going to show you the full menu of our traditional high tea set followed by a montage of the actual spread.

The place was great, service was excellent, ambience was fantastic, but was the food great? Errr..... it was ok, but probably forgettable is the apt word to use. Everyone has a soft spot for warm buttery scones with a dollop of clotted cream/jam followed by a sip of hot tea, but assorted sandwiches, cookies plus a single mouthful of panna cotta and a similar serving of creme brulee did not leave any note in my head that I should come back in the future for more of the same food.

Back for more pictures? Maybe. Haha...

At the end of the day, I think both of us felt that it wasn't too steeply priced considering the entire package, and it did give us an actual feel of what the Duchess(es) in Europe do in their afternoons while waiting for their husbands to come home for dinner.

Oh ya, we were under a palm tree too!
Moral of the story? High tea is NOT about the food, it's more about the company, and about how you sit back and relax over a book and some decent snacks. The Author's Lounge sure made it happen.


  1. High tea is about the food it is about the food! I love scones with crusty exteriors but are really warm and moist inside. Fresh and good quality cream would be a necessary accompaniment. And sandwiches with fillings that melt in your mouth. Not over-sweet creme brulee with gloriously smooth custard. Opera cake masterfully prepared with each layer not overwhelming the other, yet the flavours meld together. Anyway, yes Mariage Freres is really good. I visited it in Paris and got some teas :)

  2. Ok man... our priorities are different I guess. Well if they can serve up excellent food it's even better right, but I guess it's also important that the place is really comfortable and the service is excellent ba...

    Anyway happy birthday Lee Ping!

  3. Haha, I do like cakes and pastries, but when I glanced at how the "Cookie Crumbled", i thought that I would give it a miss. Glad that I made he right choice.

    1. Hi Edmund. As I said, the atmosphere, tea and everything else was pretty unique and very pleasant. I would say it's pretty worth the experience if you don't expect to eat gourmet pastry during a high tea session.


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