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Afternoon Tea in HK

I've got a full list of places to hit for dim sum, siu yuk, char siu, etc. etc. (20 pages full, but it includes pictures!), but my eating partner and I are interested in experiencing the colonial side of HK, as well.

I had afternoon tea at the Peninsula once, almost 10 years ago, and I thought the atmosphere was pleasant, but the food and the tea sucked. This time, I'm looking for an afternoon tea place with good food (good tea would be nice, too, but good food is more important). In my search here I found a recommendation for the Clipper Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental. Is that the best? Or are there other options?

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  1. The two names on your list are the "legendary" names for afternoon tea in Hong Kong. That is where the local celebrities and tycoons hang out.

    Other options may include the lounge at Grand Hyatt, great view and atmosphere. Regret not able to comment on the food as I was paying more attention to the business discussion rather than the food itself.

    1. Why not head out to the Repulse Bay Hotel. Totally different scenery and tranquil setting. Food's not bad too. As for tea at the Peninsula, unless you are staying there with a room key clear in sight, prepare for a looooooong wait!. However, the freshly baked scones with clotted cream is still awesome and 'expensive'!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        Is there a Repulse Bay Hotel still? I did a search and only found reference to a Repulse Bay Hotel that no longer exists.

        Interesting about the Peninsula scones--the scones were what I hated most about their afternoon tea! I thought they were so heavy and flavourless. I have a bias against cake-like scones, though, so that may be why I didn't like them.

        So far, it's the Clipper Lounge or Repulse Bay Hotel if it still exists. Maybe we'll just have to have cake at Jean-Paul Hevin. I wonder if they have a cafe.

        1. re: prasantrin

          Though the 'old' Repulse Bay Hotel has been replaced by 'The Repulse Bay', a brand new non-service as well as full service apartment, The historical 'Verandah' has been retained by the new owner. It serves traditional English afternoon tea everyday except Monday. Operated by the Peninsula Hotel group, the standard of food and service is very high..If you don't like their scones, you can opt for their excellent finger sandwiches and cakes instead.You can call them at 2292-2822 for more detail. BTW, the ocean view is definitely better than the Clipper Lounge!! .

      2. Peninsula Hotel & Mandarin Oriental Hotel shall always remain my top 2 favorite spots for a lazy chat over afternoon tea & scones. But last month, I discovered a nice one at the Fourth Floor, Harvey Nichols, Landmark Bldg, Central. A standard afternoon tea set consists of:
        - Scones, with clotted cream & strawberry preserves;
        - Chicken & wild mushroom pie;
        - Truffles, egg & cress; and smoked salmon & cucumber jelly sandwiches;
        - Strawberry shortcake; mini-opera roulade; mini rum Baba with lemon cream & fresh berries; Mont Blanc cake.

        All items are served in really petite portions. They also serve one of the best cups of coffee this side of Victoria Harbor.

        1 Reply
        1. re: klyeoh

          Baba?!?!?!? I looooooove baba au rhum!

          OK, it's on my list!

          So now I have three--Clipper Lounge (Mandarin Oriental), Repulse Bay Verandah, and the 4th floor of Harvey Nichols. Where we end up might depend on where we are at any given time, but I'm leaning toward Repulse Bay because of the view, or Harvey Nichols because of the baba...

        2. Haven't been to the Intercontinental for high tea, but it looks good - http://chaxiubao.typepad.com/chaxiuba...

          1 Reply
          1. re: fpatrick

            This is the Intercontinental Hong Kong - and not the Intercontinental Grand Sanford in Tsimshatsui East? I've been Googling but can't quite figure out which high tea everyone's talking about, as it looks like both locations offer it.
            Thanks in advance!

          2. There's supposedly one more:

            Mo Bar
            Queens Rd Central #15
            2132 0188
            High tea from 3 pm to 5:30 pm

            1. Clipper Lounge - totally! The food is of a very good standard - not everything's perfect, but a great all rounder. Good (brewed) coffee.
              Verandah (Repulse Bay) - yes, as above, if you don't mind going a bit further
              MO Bar - imo, sucks, went a short while ago. My scones weren't even scones - wrote briefly about it here: http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=e...
              Peninsula - lines compulsory, a bit of a tourist trap, imo. Ever time I go the sanwiches are dry and the service worn thin by the hoards. Quaint location, unfortunate results.
              Four Seasons - surprising that no one's mentioned it. The sweets aren't so great, but the savouries were very good - I remember having an amazing crab profiterole and some very nice mini quiches.

              2 Replies
              1. re: e_ting

                Great to know and thanks for the review. Mo Bar only came up on research. Thanks I'll definitely avoid it the next time I go to HK :-)

                1. re: e_ting

                  Although I have been there only once, I really liked the tea at Four Seasons and meant to mention it earlier. I think it is a good alternative to the usual suspects.

                2. I think I have been to all the places that have been mentioned so far. I will just give my thoughts on each as reference:

                  I agree with you that the afternoon tea at Peninsula wasn't at all impressive! I was totally disappointed by the quality of the food.

                  Mandarin Oriental was supposed to be the best, and I still think it is one of the best, but it wasn't as good as before the renovation (I guess what you can't get is always better...) They also "downsized" the serving so the tea set was quite small (and probably need to order additional items). I don't usually complaint about quantity as I am a small eater myself, but if I wasn't full I have a hard time imaging other people to be full from the tea set alone.

                  I actually like the afternoon tea at Four Seasons better. I always thought that Mandarin Oriental has the best desserts, but Four Seasons has exceeded my expectations. Plus you can eat more sweets if you want more. It is also more relaxing because there are less paparazzi around (as celebrities like to frequent Mandarin Oriental).

                  As for Repulse Bay Hotel, I thought it was good for the value, and you can't beat the relaxing atmosphere there. The service was also as good as any 5 or 6 star hotels. But their sweets are noticably not as good as Mandarin Oriental or Four Season, so I am sure if overall it is good enough to get me to stroll all the way to Repulse Bay (it's not a place that you can reach by MTR)

                  Someone mentioned the fourth floor of Harvey Nichols. I thought it was in general good, but not great. The decor is a bit "cheesy" to me. Didn't find anything that stoodout. Unless you are shopping I won't bother.

                  Lastly, someone mentioned the dim sum tea at InterContinental. I have had that before, and though the concept was good and looked great, it was better to look at than to taste. Some dim sum were excellent, while others were very average. Most importantly with everything served all at once, some dim sum cooled down and didn't taste great. If you have regular dim sum places that you are planning to visit, this one can be deprioritized.

                  Hope this helps!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    good breakdown!
                    though i must say i've never seen any paparazzi at clipper - as far as i know, no big stars hang out there, it's prob too obvious! it's just the tai-tais and their daughters ;) i've always found clipper to be very relaxed, though views aren't that great - FS has larger windows (not too much of a view either, coz it's on g/f, even though it faces the harbour). at clipper, the most comfy seats are closer to the main entrance/stairs, not the seats closer to the shops.

                    1. re: kobetobiko

                      Thanks for all the details! It makes the choice a bit easier. Now I'm thinking Four Season or Mandarin Oriental, and Repulse Bay only if I'm already in the area.

                      I was avoiding InterContinental because I wasn't looking for dim sum afternoon tea (we'll already be having a lot of dim sum elsewhere), but a more traditional afternoon tea. gnomatic's post, though, puts the IC on the list, too.

                      So now it's down to three--InterContinental, Four Seasons, and Mandarin Oriental, in that order.

                      Question--it looks like those places all price the afternoon tea for two. Should I end up having to go alone, can I still order the full afternoon tea for just one? I had tea at the Peninsula alone, so I thought it would be OK, but have things changed?

                    2. I had afternoon tea last week at the Lobby Lounge of the Intercontinental 2 weeks ago. I don't think the dim sum tea is offered anymore.

                      The menu is available here:

                      They offer the same tea service downstairs at the Harbourside restaurant. Good service, great view, there was someone playing the piano, and occassional singing. The view is amazing, but the furnishing could use some updates.

                      It was $368 for two people, and quite a lot of food. I enjoyed all the food, except the chestnut cake (I don't like chestnut cakes). I also didn't like my white tea wasn't served in a tea pot, but it was the leaves in a tall glass mug. My friends had the black teas, and those were served in tea pots. Overall, we had a nice time, it was certainly cheaper than similar afternoon tea service in London, NYC, or Toronto.

                      I have a few pictures here:

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: gnomatic

                        Great pictures! It's made the decision all the more difficult now that I know IC doesn't have the dim sum tea (which I wasn't crazy about, so I wasn't even considering it). What to do, what to do...

                        1. re: prasantrin

                          The IC always had the traditional tea, they just had the dim sum tea as an additional option. I am pretty sure it was still on the menu back in Feb, when I was choosing which one to go to for afternoon tea.

                          Anyways, I was choosing between the Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula & the IC.
                          Mandarin Oriental was deemed bit too modern
                          Peninsula was possibly too crowded
                          IC had the traditional tea service & the view, anyways, we were in the area

                      2. hey prasantrin, I would love to see your list of places. My husband and I are going to HK at the end of the month and I too have a whole list of places extracted from the China Chowhound board, but I'm pretty bewildered as to how to pare it down. Thanks!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: meuri

                          If you can post an email address, I'd be happy to send it to you. It's a 2MB spreadsheet (excel). It's all Chinese stuff (mostly cheap eats, with a couple of high-ish-end places), gleaned from Chow and another board.

                          1. re: prasantrin

                            been awhile, but if u see my post, please e-mail the list to erica_banh@hotmail.com
                            much thanks in advance ^^

                          2. re: meuri

                            agreed! it would definitely be a interesting list to check out!

                            1. re: s0memale

                              I'd be happy to post it here if there's a way to attach spreadsheets (the original list was a Word doc and included pictures, which is why it was so long). It's rather large, and I should note that I'm a bit anal about list making--it's not just restaurant names, but the spreadsheet also has columns for location/address, type of food, and the specialities or recommended foods of a particular place. It doesn't have all the places I'm planning to go to (just the Chinese ones--we'll be going to afternoon tea and also for French chocolates and pastries, but those aren't on the list), and I most likely won't go to all the places on the list (quite a few dim sum, noodle, or barbecue places on the list, for example, so I'll probably only get to a couple of each).

                              In addition to Chow and eG, I also went through chaxiubao's blog, and I think Peech's blog, too.

                              1. re: prasantrin

                                I'd love to see your chart. I have about 70 pages of notes for a three day visit to Hong Kong starting April 1 so I suspect many of your places will be in my notes also. I should be paring down, but here i am looking for the one great place I hadn't found yet! If you send it to me - wise linda g at
                                optonline dot net, I'd be grateful.

                                I also note that meuri is leaving for HK at the end of the month. Will you be there April 1-4? If so, my husband and I would be interested in meeting up with you and/or with prasantrin if your travels will bring you to HK at the same time??? It's so difficult to try all these wonderful dishes with only two people! So many places, so little time, and so few mouths!

                                If either of you or anyone else would like my 70 page compendium, I'd be glad to attach it to an email.


                                1. re: wiselindag

                                  Will do asap. I have to edit a bit--somehow some very important places got deleted, and we found out today (after much trekking around), that the Sichuanese place I wanted to try had moved to a very inconvenient location! Will update it and send it off, probably tomorrow.

                          3. The day I arrived in HK, it was pouring rain, so we went straight from the airport to the Four Seasons for tea. They had a special afternoon tea for the Easter weekend which included a buffet table of sweets. We didn't really know what was going on when we ordered, so we loaded up our plates (daintily, of course) with sweets.

                            They were all delicious--bread pudding, peach cobbler, almond cherry tart, macarons, tiramisu, chocolates, other things I can't remember...

                            We had almost had our fill when they brought out the tiers. Finally, some savoury items, but we were already on our way to being full. The salmon millefeuille was especially good, and the rest of the savouries were fine (nothing to write home about, but not horrible). The scones were slightly better than what I remember Peninsula's to be, but they were still heavier than I like.

                            The final layer of sweets was barely touched. We just tasted one of each. They were a match to the buffet table--not too sweet, but flavourful and well-executed.

                            I would recommend the Four Seasons afternoon tea. It's usually ~HK$400 for two, and our set was HK$250/person because of the additional buffet items. The food was most definitely better than the Peninsula, and I also thought the atmosphere was more conducive to a relaxing afternoon with friends. The space is much more open, and the staff relaxed yet attentive (oddly, they constantly refilled my cup, yet not my friends, however).

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: prasantrin

                              Sorry to have missed the post! we were in HK from Mar 23-28 and ended up having tea at the Clipper Lounge in the Mandarin Oriental in Central on 3/25/08. Luckily there was no particular dress code, since we were in jeans and fleece. We arrived at 4 pm, exhausted and hungry from Ocean Park, not having eaten anything since our 830am dim sum at Luk Yu Tea House (overrated. It was expensive and yet we did not eat our fill since the range was limited). However, the seats were low and soft, the view over the lobby was great for people watching, and the service was wonderful. The tea set was $426 HKD including the 10% service fee for two (~$55 USD total). They called it high tea but it was really a very delicious afternoon tea.

                              What was served:

                              Teas: We each had our traditional individual pot of tea. My White Lotus tea was light, fruity and refreshing. My husband had the Japanese Sencha - he liked it, although it was a bit too grassy for me.

                              Tiered Tray (see pic#1):
                              On the top tier: four pairs of dainty sandwich cubes on finely-textured white bread, packaged with a thin layer of the featured filling wrapped around it (cucumber, truffled egg salad with a thin ribbon of fried egg wrapped around it, proscuitto, salmon/cream chese)
                              On the middle tier: Chinese-inspired pastries (some savory sesame and grape tomato topped confection; an onion tart; curry pie; a spicy tomatoey shrimp puff)
                              On the bottom tier: carrot cake; raspberry tart; cheesecake (the light creamy kind, not the dense slab type); chocolate-enrobed chocolate cake

                              Scones (see pic#2): 2 plain and 2 raisin, both a bit dense, accompanied by the requisite clotted cream and this really lovely rose petal jam (strawberry-based, but the rose petal added such a beautiful aroma and flavor - very addictive).

                              Cake slices: This was the only bad note to the set. These are slices off cake loaves, with a choice of a Windsor cake (really a kind of fruitcake with red and green candied cherries) or ginger-cinnamon. Both were dry and tasteless.

                              Extras: we each received a skinny shot glass half filled with banana ice cream (although it tasted like vanilla) and topped with hot chocolate. Delicious!

                              Having only had afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel in Chicago (a tradition with my best friends from college), this was on a much smaller scale with less elaborate desserts. However, the second tier items were really unique in my experience, and the price was cheaper than I expected. We also were surprisingly stuffed at the end (I couldn't finish my scones, despite the lure of the rose petal jam). I really enjoyed the afternoon tea at the Clipper Lounge in the Mandarin Oriental and would recommend this to other HK visitors.

                              1. re: prasantrin

                                I don't know if you'll check this, but I am going to HK from December 24-30. I would love to see your list of places to eat at. My email address is kamorgans at gmail dot com. thanks!

                              2. Check out Cafe Gray on on Level 49, Upper House (Admiralty) which opened last month. I liked everything about their high-tea - exquisite sandwiches & tea cakes, unobstrusive service, some of the best views of HK Harbour and the richest cup of hot chocolate I've had in a long time!

                                Check out their website for more details: www.upperhouse.com

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: klyeoh

                                  Nice pics klyeoh. I didn't know they did tea. I had lunch there and thought they did main meals only. How much did that set you back?

                                  1. re: mikey8811

                                    HK$204, inclusive of taxes & service.

                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                      That's quite competitive actually. How do the pastries & cakes compare to l'Atelier?

                                      1. re: mikey8811

                                        I must admit that L'Atelier's food tasted much better - no comparison here. But there's no beating Cafe Gray's 49th floor view and Andre Fu's incredible architectural achievement that is Upper House - and I'm a sucker for great ambience ;-)

                                        1. re: klyeoh

                                          I second that recommendation. Cafe Gray Deluxe has really spectacular views, just like the guest rooms at the Upper House, and if one has to try afternoon tea at some place else, how about breakfast at Cafe Gary? They have a breakfast set menu served just like afternoon tea (on three layered trays, although croissant and danish partries rather than scones, macarons, and sandwiches).

                                2. Peninsula Hotel: If you have to choose one, this is it.

                                  Clipper Lounge or Cafe Causette (Mandarin Oriental):
                                  Both places serve the same afternoon tea set. http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900117...

                                  Repulse Bay Verandah: Afternoon tea set is pretty good! (Its brunch is even better) http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900216... / http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900216...

                                  4th floor of Harvey Nichols: Avan-garde tea set. http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900075...

                                  MO Bar (Landmark Mandarin): Chic ambience.

                                  China Tee Club: I heard it was operated by Shanghai Tang long long time ago, and I don't know whether it is still so. They say it is members only place, but it is surely open to public. http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900251...

                                  Four Seasons Hotel - The Lounge: Typical afternoon tea service. http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900078...

                                  Works & Play (Langham Place Hotel): Try their Chinese afternoon tea! http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900351...

                                  1. Will be going to HK in a few days time and would love to see your list of places for dim sum etc if you don't mind!
                                    My email: absolute.equilibrium@gmail.com
                                    Thanks in advance!

                                    1. I've been to both the Mandarin Oriental and Grand Hyatt for afternoon tea, on the recommendation of a couple of expat friends who are afternoon tea groupies. Although the location is a bit out of the way at Wan Chai and there are no views, the best by far for food was the Grand Hyatt next to the convention centre. A buffet with everything from dim sum and a whole ham to petit fours to puddings to many cakes - skip lunch before you go. It's very popular with locals. The Mandarin Oriental provides a platter of sandwiches etc as well as a sweet buffet. A little more touristy but still worthwhile. This visit we're off to the Four Seasons, which has a good reputation. I've been told to avoid the Peninsula - small amount of food, few choices and pressure to get in and out quickly.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: CanberraTraveller

                                        I think the scones and tea are nicer at the Mandarin Oriental, but the savory items are better at the Four Seasons.

                                        In terms of atmosphere and setting, I find the Mandarin Oriental a little more grand and ornate, but the Four Seasons a lot more elegant with the higher ceilings, the newer furnishings, and the abundant natural lighting.

                                        As for desserts, I was pretty disappointed with both places, particularly Four Seasons where the macarons were some of the worst I've ever encountered.

                                      2. Try Cucina at the Marco Polo hotel, or the new-ish Hullett House (kind of next to the Peninsula).

                                        1. I had an extremely nice afternoon tea at The Lounge, Four Seasons, especially with the Easter special. I would definitely recommend trying it, despite having to wait a long time to get a seat (no bookings). But then again you don't have to stand and wait there, they'll call you when a table is ready.

                                          See my review at:

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: effli

                                            Very cute finger food! How tasty are they?!

                                          2. First of all, thank you everyone replying in this topic. They are very informative and helpful for me planning for an afternoon tea in HK this July.

                                            I have a few more questions though:
                                            - For Clipper Lounge, for any of you who had been to Author's Lounge, Mandarin Oriental Bkk, how would you compare these two places for both the ambience and food?
                                            - Has anyone been for afternoon tea at The Lounge & Bar 102 fl Ritz Carlton? (I ran across it on the post about Tin Lung Heen) If so, would please comment?

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: NP2

                                              The Lounge and Bar at the Ritz Carlton has a great view but looks like a red Christmas tree. It is beyond tacky and will probably go down a treat with a lot of nouveau riche visitors.

                                              I prefer the BK Author's lounge but they are two essentially apposite colour schemes (BK white, HK dark).

                                              Quite honestly, having been to all of the aforementioned tea venues I would say don't get your hopes up. Eat other food, save the money and wait till you go to London. The quality there is far far better.

                                              More importantly, not a single one of any of the afternoon tea places actually have proper clotted cream (even if they say they do). Once you have tried it properly (it is not legal in HK) you will understand the difference.

                                              But if I had to select one... probably the Four Seasons (although the no reservation policy is a bane). The Penninsula is quite frankly a disgrace - don't bother.

                                              1. re: TomEatsHK

                                                Actually I should add - Robuchon Salon de Te has the best pastries by a blue mile (the Mandarin tend to over complicate good technical baking and for some reason the Four Seasons is missing the boat completely atm). However, the Salon de Te has a terrible atmosphere and bad service.

                                                Cafe Gray - as mentioned by others above - has a great view and sometimes (when the right bar tender is there good drinks). The food is consumately average

                                                1. re: TomEatsHK

                                                  Thank you so much Tom :) I hope one day I'd hit UK and try the real clotted cream (but for this time being, I might want to spoil myself in an afternoon with friends.)

                                                  Sounds like Four Seasons should be best choice for us. (And try to just taste Robuchon Salon de The pastries without a real sit-down afternoon tea instead)

                                                  1. re: NP2

                                                    Though one final tip - you really can't reserve the 4 seasons. It opens at 2:00 (I think) and you can get there at 1:30 and add your name to a list. There will be some pre existing names on the list. Then you can just have a drink in the bar for half an hour.

                                                    The Mandarin opens at 3:00pm but you can get there 10 minutes before and be seated in the late lunch crowd and only allowed to order with no wait. That almost makes it preferable for ease...

                                                    The scones on our visits have been cold (preprepared) and we have sent them back. However, the second versions provided by the kitchen have always been much better.

                                                    But - I hope you enjoy your eventual real clotted cream!

                                                2. re: TomEatsHK

                                                  Thanks for the tip re: clotted cream. That saved some disappointment for me right there. I can live without ornate patisserie but clotted cream + scones pretty much defines afternoon tea for me.