Not being an afternoon tea destination on weekdays, your chances of walking in and asking for it are really rather good -- Reservations are "preferred but not required". Just this Monday at around 2 PM, we were just one of two couples who were there for afternoon tea. The few other patrons were there for drinks and sushi.
You can sit anywhere in the lobby, including the extension separated by sliding doors. There are three types of seating:
- For dinner-table style sit-down seating, you'll probably have to go into the extension. Sometimes there are larger groups there, so ambient noise may be an issue.
- In the rest of the lounge, the most common seating involves low tables and unwieldy chairs. If you sit too close to the table, you'll probably whack your knee. This is annoying, but not as bad as it might initially seem for afternoon tea, since you're picking up the single bites of items from the tray.
- There is also bar-height seating on sometimes slightly wobbly tables. The downside to this is bar-height seating, smaller tables, and proximity to the piano. Starting in the later afternoon, there is live entertainment and live instruments can be very loud if you are close to it, especially when it is projected throughout the entire lobby.
Overall, the afternoon tea selection was characterized by a freshness, a sense that everything was very freshly made -- not just the sushi pieces, but the sandwich fillings.
- Of the teas, the one with pear was probably one of the most interesting, with a clear pear aroma (but no actual pear flavour to the tea, sadly).
- The scone was wonderfully buttery in aroma and taste. You can generally just tear it open and it will separate along one of the layers.
- The sushi bites had small amounts of rice, but enough to make the afternoon tea more filling than it initially looked. The smaller amount of rice also helped to highlight the topping/other ingredients.
- Although all the sandwiches were nicely done, the one stand-out among them was the chilled tiger-prawn and avocado, which gave a sudden burst of moistness and citrus. I was lucky enough to eat this last after the sushi and sandwiches, and I recommend you do the same.
- The matcha layer cake was probably the trickiest to tackle. It has a thin film of some sort of jelly or maybe sauce, which easily smeared off. Also, the very bottom layer is a thin film of white chocolate which can peel off when you cut the rest of the triangular slice.
- Especially because it is wet to handle, what you can do is transfer it to your saucer first. Bring up your saucer to the tea tower. Then slide your fork under the cake -- you don't have to slide it all the way under, just enough to anchor the cake so that you can pull the cake onto the saucer. Since you didn't skewer the cake, you are also now free to release your fork to cut the cake.
- If you just stab the cake, the layers may separate while you are transferring the cake.
- The macaron had a delicate, hollow shell with nevertheless did not disintegrate into a crumbly mess. The flavour of the filling was intense.