One of my favourite pastimes is indulging in afternoon tea in a beautiful hotel. Depending on the season, I rather enjoy eating scones and sipping tea on a pretty terrace with friends but afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo was a decidedly different affair. This time, my scones were served 38 floors above the city! On clear days, you can see Mount Fuji from one side and Tokyo Skytree from the other.
As I discovered, savoury part of the meal was very light – hors d’oeuvres style – with focaccia served with smoked salmon, prosciutto with yellow peach and cucumber and egg salad. Afternoon tea in Japan is a sweet affair – the endless supply of beautiful cakes influenced by Japan, France and naturally, the Great Britain. The scones were so cute! Small (compared to what you will find here in the UK), bite-sized portions which are offered in three flavours – plain, coconut and cranberry. I’m a bit of a purist but was amazed by the coconut scones and there was clotted cream! Real clotted cream! I’ve been for afternoon tea in other countries outside of the UK and they served scones with double cream. Quelle horreur ! I knew Japan wouldn’t let me down.
Summer in Japan is all about the beloved, succulent peach and afternoon tea is no exception: the petits-fours included peach macarons, yellow peach tartlets, crème brûlée with white peach sauce and a mousse with verveine and peach coulis. Yes, we love peaches in Japan!
Probably the biggest surprise was that sencha, or any form of Japanese green tea, was not on the menu. As I discovered during my trip, this was quite normal in luxury hotels but such a shame. As a visitor, all I wanted to drink is green tea but I understand that for others, the abundance of herbal, flavoured and Indian tea may be more unique to the experience. Fortunately, the staff was more than happy to prepare some for me. As the menu allows you to choose as many different beverages as you want, I opted for different teas throughout and sipped espresso to finish.
The menu is light, sweet and with a view over my wonderful Tokyo, there’s little more this woman could ask for. It was a wonderful first foray into the great British tradition, Tokyo-style and I am looking forward to returning.
2 Chome-1 Nihonbashimuromachi