The Luxury Guide to Afternoon Tea in Hong Kong

21 minutes

Written by Michelle/ Photos by Michelle and David

21 minutes

We’re back! After almost a four year hiatus, mainly due to the pandemic, we have decided to reignite this blog. A great deal has happened during this time, the biggest being that we moved to Hong Kong. Some people questioned our decision to move in the midst of Covid. Given that when I signed my new work contract not a soul in the world had heard of Covid-19, and the fact that it had touched every corner of the earth by the time we left Munich, we just went with the flow.

When we moved to Hong Kong I was very excited to learn that there are a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to afternoon tea. Thank you British influence! The venues range from five star hotels to restaurants and cafes. You can gorge on traditional fair of cucumber and salmon sandwiches to cuisine from around the world.

Let me start by saying that all of the places mentioned in this post have been personally tried and tested by me. Yes I am willing to take one for the team in order to bring you an honest breakdown of what each establishment has to offer. Believe me, I am completely prepared to pay what is necessary to sample afternoon tea as many times as necessary.

I anticipate that this post will be regularly updated since there are so many possibilities here in Hong Kong for afternoon tea. As some of you may know, I do love an afternoon tea, as is evident in this post about afternoon tea around the world.

Café 103, Ritz Carlton

Views! Views! Views! When one hundred and three floors up the tallest building in Hong Kong it is hard to disappoint. Unobstructed views of Victoria harbour at Café 103 make for a very pleasant afternoon. Oh, and the food and drinks ain’t bad either.

Views from afternoon tea at Ritz Carlton

They offered a variety of tea. We tried the blue tea and Sakura which had distinct notes of cherry blossom. Instead of offering champagne they had two autumn inspired signature cocktails. Of course we sampled them and gave them the thumbs up.

Afternoon tea at Ritz Carlton

The scones arrived first, separate to the rest of the food. There was a selection of plain and plum scones with the traditional jam and cream. I would have liked a little more jam but it was all very yummy!

Afternoon tea at Ritz Carlton

The rest of the savoury and sweet goodies appeared on a very cute gold bird cage style cake stand, very elegant. The crab sandwich and vegan pork vol au vent were stand outs from the savoury selection.

Afternoon tea at Ritz Carlton

David and I both have a sweet tooth so very much enjoyed the dark chocolate cake, sweet potato eclair (trust me, it was awesome!), the cheesecake, apple and cream puff, strawberry panna cotta and the chocolate covered nougat in the shape of a mushroom. My mouth is watering just reminiscing about all of the delectable food we ate.

Of course, we couldn’t fault the world renowned service that the Ritz Carlton offers.

Hue

If you want to experience afternoon tea with an Aussie flair then try Hue next time you are in Hong Kong. When we went there they had created an autumn inspired theme for afternoon tea. The passionfruit lamingtons and mini pavlovas with white chocolate ganache and rhubarb definitely made this Aussie feel a little at home. This modern Australian restaurant at the Hong Kong Museum of Art not only offers great views of the Hong Kong Island skyline but also fantastic food with a creative flair.

Afternoon tea at Hue

It goes without saying that we chose the additional champagne option, Taittinger Brut Reserve, to accompany our afternoon tea. Of course, we also had some tea from their modest tea, coffee and hot chocolate menu.

The savoury bites consisted of gruyere custard puff, devilled quail egg on toast, prawn cocktail, octopus skewer with furikake and mushroom croquette with truffle mayonnaise. All of which had their own modern twist and left our mouths watering.

Afternoon tea at Hue

The sweet selection was plentiful and scrumptious. It consisted of the aforementioned lamington and pavlova as well as, blood orange curd tartlet, spiced cherry friand, hazelnut, rum and raisin chocolate tart and mango yo-yo biscuit.

No afternoon tea would be complete without scones with jam and cream. Again, these had a contemporary flair. Along with the traditional plain scones, there were pumpkin scones and raisin scones, accompanied by orange and thyme marmalade, raspberry rhubarb marmalade and vanilla cream. The only criticism I would have is that there could have been more jam. Otherwise, this afternoon tea was up there with the best.

Popinjays, The Murray

The Murray Hotel is on Hong Kong Island, not far from The Peak Tram, a classic tourist activity. So once you’ve visited The Peak and enjoyed some of the best views of Hong Kong you might like to relax with some afternoon tea at The Murray. Being situated on the twenty-sixth floor allows for some lovely up-close views of Hong Kong island’s impressive architecture. To get there, take the lift to the twenty-fifth floor and then change to a special lift dedicated to Popinjays. You can sit inside or if the weather permits enjoy the ambience of the terrace.

View from Popinjays

View from Popinjays

This afternoon tea was a modern take on the traditional English high tea. It did of course stay true to the savoury, sweet and scones format. The savoury goodies consisted of smoked sturgeon and egg sandwich, butternut squash, ricotta and black truffle tartlette and duck foe gras torchon, red milled wine gelee and pain d’epices. The only fault I could pick with this afternoon tea is that there could have been one or two more savoury options. I do like a mix of savoury and sweet, despite me having quite a sweet tooth.

Delicious savoury bites

Delicious savoury bites

The tea menu had a good variety but not overly populated. Sometimes too many options can be a little overwhelming. I usually go for a green tea variation but this time went for a more floral tea called, Osmanthus. Very pleasant indeed. Don’t worry, I haven’t gone soft, of course I ordered a glass of champagne, as well.

The scones were delicious which I was a little sceptical about before trying as they were not your traditional variety. They called them croiscones. The two options of plain and chocolate chip were flakier than your traditional bread-y, dense variety. The strawberry jam and cream were plentiful as well.

Christmas themed delights

Christmas themed delights

The sweet treats had a bit of a Christmas theme given we visited just before Christmas. There were Mont Blanc, cranberries and five spice fromage blanc tart, milk chocolate and candied orange, hazelnut financier and biscotti.

What made this visit unique was the surprise lucky dip at the end. They came around with a giant, and I mean human-sized, bird cage with two knitted birds perched inside and chocolate eggs strewn across the bottom of the cage. Each table got to choose one chocolate egg which contained a fortune cookie type message.

Not that exciting I hear you say.

Egg cracking

Egg cracking

However…. what made this interesting was that one of the eggs contained a message of free-flow champagne at their brunch. Now if you have ever been to brunch in Hong Kong or places like Dubai in the Middle East, you will know that no brunch is complete without a free-flow alcohol option, which can be an additional expensive option. Much to our disappointment, we did not win. At least the dark chocolate egg was good quality chocolate and tasted scrumptious.

Woobar, W Hotel

The W Hotel is in Kowloon, overlooking Victoria Harbour. It has a modern funky interior design but still has a cosy feel to it. They were very accommodating to my friend’s dietary requirements which is always a plus in my books. The service was of the high quality you would expect from W Hotels around the world, polite yet friendly.

A glitzy and glamorous afternoon tea

A glitzy and glamorous afternoon tea

At the time we visited there was a collaboration with the make-up brand MAC and its Frosted Firework Collection. This meant that we received samples and a free makeover. This partnership was also reflected in the afternoon tea. It is probably the prettiest of afternoon teas I have had the privilege to experience. The pink and silver present box that served as a cake stand held candied coloured morsels of savoury and sweet bite-sized goodness. There was certainly a feel of glitz and glamour.

To go along with the glittery theme I felt it necessary to order a glass of champagne to accompany the delectable food. Oh yes, of course there was tea drunk as well.

The savoury consisted of apple ravioli with pumpkin seeds, crab meat with mango, dill and beetroot powder, smoked salmon with melon and cream cheese roulade, lobster crispbread, crab roe and oyster leaf and tomato bread with mortadella and strawberry jam.

A glitzy and glamorous afternoon tea

A glitzy and glamorous afternoon tea

It wouldn’t be an afternoon tea without scones. I was a little disappointed to only be served two, normally you receive two per person. Who doesn’t like a good scone with homemade jam and thick velvety cream?

The major attraction of this afternoon tea was without a doubt the sweets. So divine!  The sweets consisted of a champagne-strawberry kiss, Madagascar vanilla and strawberry mousse, lavender frosting cake and Valrhona Caraïbe 66% dark chocolate mousse and pink guava crunch. To add to the razzle-dazzle there were scrumptious balls that looked like pearls atop some of the desserts.

Sky Lounge, Sheraton

We have also sampled high tea at The Sheraton which is based in Kowloon, a short walk from the Star Ferry, another must-do tourist activity. The time we visited they had a special promotion on where the whole afternoon tea was bee/honey inspired, The Beauty and the Bee. Very delicious!

A bee-utiful spread

A bee-utiful spread

While the interior design may not seem as modern as many other hotels in Hong Kong, it has an understated vibe. The views are quite splendid indeed and may be an underrated venue when it comes to hotels with views in Hong Kong.

We could not fault the quality of the food nor the service. It also had the added bonus of collaborating with Guerlain at the time we visited which meant we received some samples. The samples contained honey and royal jelly, hence the honey theme of the afternoon tea. What more could a girl want, afternoon tea and free beauty products!

Scrumptious savoury bites

Scrumptious savoury bites

Many of the delicacies on offer contained locally sourced honey to compliment the Guerlain promotion as well as promote urban bee keeping and the environment. There were some mouth-watering sweet treats that had subtle hints of honey, but not too over-powering in terms of sweetness. The rosemary chocolate was unexpectedly divine and the caramel macaroon melted in your mouth.

Who doesn’t love a good macaroon?

Sweet goodness

Sweet goodness

The more traditional sandwiches containing lobster and salmon did not disappoint nor did the classic scones. I don’t think I need to tell you by now that we chose the additional champagne option, this time a glass of Perrier-Jouët. Ah, the French really do know how to produce a good glass of bubbles.

Check out our post Your Guide to High Tea Around the World.

The Butterfly Room, Rosewood

The Rosewood Hotel is the epitome of luxury and also possibly the hardest place in Hong Kong to obtain a reservation for afternoon tea.  The first time we tasted the Rosewood afternoon tea was at home. I had almost given up trying to book a table there when I saw a special offer they had for a takeaway option (thank you pandemic). Thinking this was the only way we were going to be able to enjoy the delicacies from Rosewood, I quickly ordered it.

Take away afternoon tea from Rosewood

Take away afternoon tea from Rosewood

As you can see by the picture above, it doesn’t look any less delicious just because it was a take away afternoon tea.

Little did I know at the time that we would still not be able to travel freely by the summer 2022 and therefore we would decide to stay in Hong Kong. Hence, we would end up booking a staycation at Rosewood. Needless to say, it was quite easy to secure a table once we had a room reservation.

Lobby Lounge, Island Shangri-La

Given it was spring and we couldn’t travel freely we made the most out of it and had a staycation at Island Shangri-La  Hong Kong. We decided to try out their takeaway Sakura afternoon tea while at the same time making the most of our spacious room with views of the harbour.

David chilling in our room with a view.

David chilling in our room with a view.

Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossom. Needless to say this afternoon tea was a modern take on the more traditional version. However, just as delicious. Shangri-La hotels around the world have an oriental theme and so this afternoon tea melded nicely with its surroundings.

It consisted of plain and raisin scones with their classic clotted cream and jam. The savoury options consisted of poached lobster with yuzu (a citrus fruit), kosho cream cheese and wheat bread, foie gras with dried fruit and Melba toast, heirloom cherry tomatoes with mozzarella, shisho pesto and shisho cress, roast beef, wasabi, remoulade and daikon cress and smoked salmon, asparagus, ikura and sourdough. Definitely not your standard English sandwiches but equally as tantalising to the tastebuds.

Our takeaway afternoon tea

Our takeaway afternoon tea

The sweet selections maintained the Japanese spring theme consisting of sakura and cherry Swiss roll, strawberry sakura mousse, yuzu green apple dome and sakura tea puff. I loved that these sweet treats still satisfied the sweet craving but they weren’t overly sugary.

Since it was takeaway we just had the tea on offer in the room and sadly no champagne. Ah, the sacrifices we make.

Grand Café, The Grand Hyatt

Thanks to the pandemic we have taken advantage of the staycation offers available at many of the deluxe hotels in Hong Kong. The Grand Hyatt was one of those opportunities. Afternoon tea is normally served in Tiffin but the day we went the hotel was so busy that they extended the afternoon tea session to their Grand Café.

So much food!

So much food!

Like the Shangri-La, the theme was Japanese Spring, particularly where the sweet treats were concerned. This part of the afternoon tea consisted of peach jelly, jasmine tea almond tart, rose profiterole with lychee gel and raspberry, cherry blossom cake and blueberry and violet flower cheesecake. It goes to show how different afternoon teas can be despite having a similar theme.

A sweet tooth's delight

A sweet tooth’s delight

The Grand Hyatt had a modest tea selection but also included the option of a variety of coffees or hot chocolate. Not everyone is a tea lover so I thought this was a nice touch to have a variety of drinks options.

I enjoyed the twists on the savoury choices of roast beef and cucumber sandwiches with horseradish cream, egg mayonnaise and bacon soft roll, smoked salmon crepe roll with herb spread, green pea tart with aged Comté cheese, foie gras mousse and rhubarb puff pastry, ham and Gouda cheese croissant and classic shrimp cocktail with fine herbs. Each mouthful as delectable as the last.

The goji berries and plain scones with lemon curd, strawberry jam and clotted cream were a nice twist on the classic scones.

What made this afternoon tea stand out and value for money was the extra dessert bar. This included home-made ice-cream, waffles, crepes, macaroons, fruits and petit fours. Now I don’t know about you, but when I go to afternoon tea I am normally about to burst after eating that tower of scrumptiousness. So for me, even approaching the dessert bar was out of the question. 

The Lounge, Four Seasons

The afternoon tea we enjoyed at Four Seasons was sponsored by the French luxurious botanical skincare and cosmetics brand, Chantecaille. Given these products focus on plant based solutions, this was incorporated into the appetising elements on each layer of the tower.

 

Afternoon tea at Four Seasons

Afternoon tea at Four Seasons

The added bonus of going to an afternoon tea that has taken inspiration from a cosmetic brand is that you are normally given a small sample of products. This is definitely a win, win situation of yummy food and some new products to try!

Palm Court, The Langham

The Palm Court at The Langham is named after its name sake in London where afternoon tea has been served for over 150 years. As you would expect from a long-standing hotel franchise originating from the home of afternoon tea, the spread was a traditional affair. The elegance and charm of its namesake were replicated without fault in the decor of the Palm Court.

Afternoon tea at The Langham

Afternoon tea at The Langham

As would be expected from a long-standing providing of afternoon tea, they had a good selection of teas to choose from as well as being able to upgrade to a glass of saicho sparkling tea or a glass of Tattinger champagne. Yes, David and I of course chose the champagne option.

Afternoon tea at The Langham

Afternoon tea at The Langham

Given that the afternoon tea was in partnership with Salvatore Ferragamo and their latest products at the time, there was a summery, fruity and flowery theme incorporated into the food. This included things like sakura strawberry-rhubarb mini pavlovas and pistachio-raspberry panda cotta. There were hints of rose in the heirloom vegetables with asparagus cream, smoked game, rose tea jelly and the scones that came with strawberry jam and artisanal rose preserve. My mouth is watering as I write this.

There were of course just as scrumptious savoury options such as seafood salad on lobster and crab quiche, foie gras bob bon with champagne rhubarb and scented braised beef and celeriac tea sandwiches. Of course there were delicious warm plain and raisin scones with clotted cream and homemade jams, as already mentioned.

Madame Fu – Grand Cafe Chinois

Madame Fu is a contemporary Chinese restaurant situated in the colonial building in the Tai Kwun heritage compound, a worthwhile visit in its own right when in Hong Kong. The restaurant is located in the old police headquarters. I was lucky enough to attend a friend’s afternoon tea baby shower in the Pink Room. The Pink Room is surely one of Hong Kong’s most Instagrammable restaurant rooms. The interior design was inspired by the iconic London restaurant, Sketch, an ode to the stylish women of Hong Kong.

Madame Fu, The Pink Room

Madame Fu, The Pink Room

In our group, we had a number of people with a variety of dietary requirements and this was no problem for Madame Fu. There was a reasonable tea, coffee and juice menu as well as two special refreshing non-alcoholic drinks: fresh mint lemonade earl grey iced tea and elderflower gunner fruit punch.

Given that Madame Fu is a contemporary Chinese restaurant all elements of the afternoon tea had a fusion flare, with spring citrus notes in all food. It still included the standard savoury and sweet elements and the standard scones but with flavours such as osmanthus, grapefruit and pineapple, or name a few. If you enjoy afternoon tea but want to try a variation of the traditional experience this is definitely a great place to start in Hong Kong.

As already mentioned, many beauty products team up with restaurants for special afternoon tea sets, that then become the inspiration for the food. We were lucky enough to experience an afternoon tea that was in collaboration with Atelier Cologne. This French parfumerie takes its inspiration from nature, hence the citrus influence on our afternoon tea coincided with the products they were promoting. Needless to say, we all received a nice little goodie bag full of samples to take home with us. Always a bonus!

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum and Mason is a British tea brand that has been around for hundreds of years and has been serving tea to royalty around the globe. A natural progression from tea making was to serve afternoon tea to high society, which they have been doing for over a century. To say they know what they are doing when it comes to afternoon tea is an understatement.

Friends had recommended the afternoon tea at their Hong Kong store for some time so when one of my girlfriends suggested it as a venue for our monthly catch up I was delighted. It is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed Sunday afternoon with the girls while overlooking the beautiful Victoria Harbour.

Traditional afternoon tea menu

Traditional afternoon tea menu

The afternoon tea options at Fortnum and Mason and the fabulous service are what make this establishment stand out from the rest. Not only do they offer the traditional afternoon tea, they offer a savoury option and a vegetarian option. All of which sounded delicious.

My friend and I went for the traditional afternoon tea. It consisted of delicious classic finger sandwiches, such as cucumber, smoked salmon, chicken, ham and egg, all with a slight twist. Our other two friends chose the vegetarian menu and absolutely raved about the variety, especially the sandwiches.

Vegetarian menu

Vegetarian menu

No afternoon tea would be complete without scones with jam and cream. I’m a bit of a classic girl when it comes to scones and prefer the plain variety but my friends tell me the raisin and cranberry scones were just as good. While the homemade strawberry jam, sublime lemon curd and clotted cream were not quite enough for four of us to share, they did not hesitate when we asked for a refill.

This also makes Fortnum and Mason afternoon tea stand out. Not only were they happy to replenish the condiments, but they also had free-flow sandwiches! You were able to choose particular sandwiches you’d like more of or do what we did, and just get another round of everything. It turns out our eyes were bigger than our bellies in this respect.

A sample of the pastries

A sample of the pastries

It would be remiss of me to not mention the fabulous pastries that were included with both of our tea set options. Everything was delectable. To top it off, they came around with a cake trolley containing a berry cake and a chamomile cake. Of course, we had to try a slice of each and they did not disappoint.

Extra cakes served

Extra cakes served

Given Fortnum and Mason’s tea history, it goes without saying that there was an extensive tea option list. For an additional cost you could also add a champagne or sparkling tea option. You may find it hard to believe that possibly for the first time ever, I forwent the champagne. Shock, horror, I know!

One of a long list of tea options available

One of a long list of tea options available

Lastly, I wanted to mention how accommodating they were when we each asked for a doggy bag for our leftovers. There was so much left that we couldn’t let it go to waste. David was very happy with his goodie bags when I arrived home.

As you can see, afternoon tea in Hong Kong offers experiences for all tastes. The other great thing is that many of the venues create seasonal menus, such as autumn or Christmas, so you can visit multiple times and enjoy a completely different level of deliciousness. So what are you waiting for? Grab some girlfriends, your mum or your partner and book a table for afternoon tea in Hong Kong.

Disclaimer: We were not paid for any of these reviews, all opinions are our own as always.

Got any other recommendations for afternoon tea for me to try in Hong Kong? Feel free to add a comment below.

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2 Comments on “The Luxury Guide to Afternoon Tea in Hong Kong”. Join the Conversation Here!

  1. This is such a comprehensive and informative guide to afternoon tea in Hong Kong. You have covered a variety of venues, from five star hotels to restaurants and cafes, and shown us the different types of food and drinks they offer. The blue tea and Sakura tea sound very refreshing. I appreciate your detailed descriptions and beautiful photos of food.

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