A Un-Chocolate Chocolate Afternoon Tea @ Cafe 103, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Hong Kong

Date of Visit: June 1 2013

Ritz-Carlton is the highest hotel in Hong Kong, located at the International Commerce Center (ICC). Now, if you are a first-timer to ICC , navigating the shopping mall can be particularly frustrating. I have also seen numerous travellers with luggages roaming around the shopping mall completely clueless as where the W Hotel and Ritz-Carlton are. The problem with way-finding I believe is contributed no less by designating the 2-storied mall into zones denoting the 5 Chinese Elements; thus the malls’ namesake ‘Elements. Rather than putting up signs, the designers should have used different floor colourings to denote Metal, Wood, Water, Fire or Earth to easen the confusion. That said, my advise is that you come an hour early and be prepared to get lost!


My original plan was to have the English Afternoon Tea at Ritz-Carlton’s The Lounge & Bar with my friend and her toddler. Although at the time of my booking, it was still a month away, the tea service was already been fully booked, so I was offered Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Cafe 103 instead.

The price of the afternoon tea is compatible with the other 5 star hotels (need I say, expensive too?). Here are the deets: Mon-Thur $278 for one $528 for 2; Fri-Sun and public holidays $308 for one and $568 for 2. On specials are Louis Roedere Brut Premium NV Champagne $170 per glass or Moscato d’Asti, la Spineta $88 per glass. (Please add 10% service tax)

After riding the countless escalators and lifts, we were pleased to be served very quickly at Cafe 103 upon our arrival.

We have balcony seatings looking out to the Ocean Terminal/ Harbour City (the BEST shopping mall in HK) at Tsim Sha Tsui where the Giant Rubber Duck is currently anchored.



Views of Tosca, the acclaimed Italian Restaurant downstairs. Being a sticky beak, I was keen to find out what the diners were having but since it was past 3:30pm, towards the tail end of a very late lunch, I only got to see some very enticing desserts especially the petit fours served on a bed of fair-floss. Perhaps, a visit from me is due?


Our Chocolate High Tea for 2. The pastries came in a boxed book-case, and all looked very interesting. We started with the savouries at the bottom tier, working our way up.



Source: Lifestyle Asia

Bottom Tier: What worked for me was the Foie Gras Mousse with a sprinkle of chocolate nibs in Sweet Bun. The Pickled Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches were a bit stale while the Smoked Salmon with Squid Ink Bread did not excite.


Smoked Salmon with Squid Ink Bread, Foie Gras mousse with Sweet Bun

Middle Tier: The Choux de Bouda looked like the ‘Pineapple Bun’ from the Chinese bakeries. It is actually 2 round eclairs filled with chocolate custard held together by a burnt matchstick with a red bead; looked good, but tasted bland. Both the Triple Citrus Shot and Mandarin Sable were OK – not as chocolatey as I would like.



Choux de bouda


Triple Citrus Shot


Mandarin Sable


Mandarin Sable w thin layer of chocolate

Top Tier: I am not sure whether I was given the Passion Fruit Chocolate Tart as per the menu, but in any regards, I enjoyed the dark chocolate brownie with cherry kirsch the most.


Compressed pecan cake w Cinnamon Cream and Lemon Praline in Black and White Chocolate Cup


Chestnut confit cake and Passion Fruit Chocolate Tart (?)


Chestnut confit cake with a thin smidgen of chocolate

All-in-all, my final verdict of the Chocolate Afternoon Tea was at best only very ordinary. Personally, I do not find it chocolatey enough to be worthy of a true Chocolate High Tea. The pastries were somehow stale. I am also guessing that a lot of shortenings were used instead of butter because I felt my stomach getting gassy and bloating after the tidbits.

Whilst surveying the lounge, I noticed that nearly all the patrons were females (girls) with only a handful of 3 or 4 guys in the entire lounge. No doubt girls love bonding over teas and gossiping about their work, i.e. how very important their roles are at their respective companies (which sound very close to home.. LOL..). Nonetheless, where else can a more relaxing ambience be found, other than Ritz-Carlton if you are in Kowloon?


Source: Ritz Carlton Hotel

Sweet Deception @Melur & Thyme, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  June 9 2013

The last time I was at Harrod’s Cafe at Suria KLCC, I noticed that there was a new bistro opposite serving Malay food.  Melur & Thyme it was called, but somehow, I couldn’t help getting the name confused with ‘Melur & Telur’ , I guess ‘Telur’ rhymes better with ‘Melur’.   To those non-Malay speakers out there,  ‘melur’ means ‘jasmine’ and ‘telur’ means ‘egg’.

As we had just landed in KL from Hong Kong.  I wanted to check out the Diane Von Furstenberg shop here.  In particular, I wanted to buy the silver beaded top shown in the SS13 catwalk collection which was sold-out in Hong Kong.  As luck went, no luck for me, I couldn’t find it in the shop,  I did notice that the DVF here is more expensive by probably 20% .  No bargain for me, since I can get 10% off all tax free DVF stock in HK.

A couple more shop hops later, we turned up at Melur & Thyme for lunch.  (FYI, Ladies, KL fashions are far more colourful than the boring office wear for the OLs aka ‘Office Ladies’)

Mom and I ordered Mint Kombucha which we saw advertised on the blackboard on our way in. What arrived were 2 very sweet drinks, tasting like Sprite and can be passed off as Sprite. Isn’t Kombucha a probiotic tea drink, so it should at least look a teeny-weeny brown? Moreover, there was no hint of mint and this left me puzzling whether I got the wrong order… and  whether the scrounge on a sprig of mint?

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The menu is lengthy mix of Western and Malaysian.   I skipped through all the ‘Western’ selections of eggs, pasta, grills and settled on the ‘Eastern’ local delights.  This is after all Malaysia, and I should try improved Malaysian food right?

My Nasi Lemak is one-dimensional. One word – SWEET.   Earlier, I saw the waiter taking a parcel wrapped in leaf from the bar counter top, presumably, my nasi lemak to zap in the microwave.  But it was not warmed up properly, a tad cold, another disappointment.  On top of my nasi is half a hard-boiled egg hiding some peanuts at the bottom.  Also accompanying the nasi were cucumbers and 2 sambals; the sweet sambal ikan bilis and sambal cuttlefish.  My mom liked the cuttlefish sambal and reckoned its been rehydrated from the dried cuttlefish.  The nasi was fine, but didn’t tickle my fancy much.

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Mom ordered a bowl of Grandma’s Hokkien Mee which is a huge bowl of rice noodles with shredded chicken, veggies, bean sprouts, prawns, fish balls, fish slices, a hard-boiled egg as well as other condiments.  The comment that I got from her was ‘the broth is very flavoursome but simply too sweet’.

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My brother ordered Curry Mee.  Again, it’s huge.  It had the same ingredients as  my mom’s big bowl of noodles, but had the extras of  fried tofu pieces and snake beans.  The soup looked very thick and smelt nice.  I presume that it uses coconut milk.  It came with 2 types of noodles, pretty unusual for us…

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Round yellow noodles

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Rice vermicelli noodles

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Looking around, I noticed the other patrons at the next table ordered pasta.  I like the look of big juicy tiger prawns, but the amount of gravy that came with the pastas would be too much for me.  In hindsight, after reading other foodie blogs, I realised that Melur & Thyme’s speciality is duck, and I should have order a duck instead, oh well, next time…

I actually liked the interior of this bistro more than anything else. It’s very very cost effective and simply done using white tiles as backdrops for the metal wrought filigree of a sketch of caricatures eating out at a bistro.  This gave an interesting twist and instant quirkiness to the interior.


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If you look closely at the photos, you see the bottles at the bar sitting on glass shelves.  Again metal lattices were used to give a 3-dimensional visual layering of the wall as well as presenting the ‘presence’ of an actual drinks-shelf without the heaviness.  Even the timber ceilings have metal swirling clouds to give a visual interest to an otherwise boring ceiling.

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Unfortunately, the use of hard surfaces on walls, floor and ceilings made the side-walk cafe to be overbearingly noisy.  With uncontrollable screaming children dining at the other end of the bistro, I had a rather miserable evening with ringing ears.