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.
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.
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.
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.
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?