Well, we couldn’t very well go halfway across the world and not have afternoon tea could we?
The Peninsula, Hong Kong had very kindly invited The Gentleman and I to try their infamous afternoon tea. It seemed like the perfect way to toast the end of our trip and ease back into city life. The Peninsula Hotel is iconic for many reasons, the hotel’s fleet of Brewster Green Rolls Royce’s were a feature in Bond film The Man with a Golden Gun and there are reminders, as well as props, from the film in each corner of the hotel.
We arrived an hour early at the hotel, after we had become rather hot, uncomfortable and crowded in the streets. The concierge kindly lead us to The Bar that had conveniently just opened for the afternoon. We perched ourselves on the stools and had the entire room to ourselves.
The bar’s decor reminds me of a Gentleman’s smoking room, the bar man wears a white suit as he delicately shakes and twirls the alcohol to create your choice of drinks. I went for a gin based passion fruit cocktail with a huge cube of sugar sitting on the top. The Gentleman (unsurprisingly) went for an Old Fashioned.
It’s not the cheapest of places for a tipple, but then again, Hong Kong is not the cheapest of Cities. You can expect to pay around £12-£15 for a good cocktail, which isn’t too different to prices in London and I have to admit they’re rather worth it. These days, I’d much rather have a well made drink in a nice bar than have 5 for the same price somewhere with sticky floors and bad music.
When we’d finished our drinks, we went back downstairs to The Lobby to be seated at our table. The resident orchestra had started playing as we sat down and were handed the menus.
Our glasses were filled with champagne and we settled into the comfy chairs, escaping into the thoughts of all the people who would have passed between these pillars through the years.
We both chose the Peninsula’s own afternoon tea blend to accompany our food that arrived shortly afterwards, while admiring the pillars and gargoyle decor.
Interestingly, the pillars are the handiwork of European craftsmen, combining traditional skills with modern techniques to faithfully recreate the intricate details and fine craftsmanship that have kept the lobby a legend since its opening in 1928.
Sadly, because of Ben’s allergy to fish he couldn’t eat a few of the sandwiches presented to us. The waiter didn’t falter however, and immediately brought out an extra plate of meat sandwiches for him.
With more sandwiches than we should be able to eat, we got stuck in. Mini sandwiches and quiches delicately created by expert hands for our happy consumption. They were perfect and totally delicious.
Next, as always, it was time for scones. Plain, raisin and little sticky toffee pudding flavour dense cakes. The sticky toffee pudding cakes were the most delicious morsel I’ve ever tasted. A self-confessed sucker for sticky toffee pudding, the idea of it in a cake is just too incredible. I wish I could pass you one through the screen, they’re that good.
I had wondered if they would supply clotted cream with the scones but I needn’t have worried as the chef’s hand make the cream in the kitchen. Just as good as anything you’d find in Devon.
After the delicious scones, predictably, we both became incredibly full. Our champagne glasses were never empty and we had tried to pace ourselves as much as possible. We had taken at least a few hours over the tea, the sky outside had gone dark and we were starting to fall into the most delightful of food comas.
The champagne and tea continued to flow as we ploughed our way through the beautiful cakes, being serenaded by the orchestra continuing with their music. We had film theme tunes, including the classic Bond, always reminding us of the hotel’s past.
The cakes included a red velvet fruit cake, chocolate tartlet, a creamy mango custard like yoghurt and a raspberry and white chocolate mousse.
Alas, we were defeated by our epic meal and had to get a few to take away. The afternoon tea is a classic. Service was impeccable and I am pleased to say that The Peninsula has well and truly earned it’s incredible reputation for the total experience of afternoon tea.
We left with our goodies under our arms, our zips slightly undone and happy smiles across our faces. It was time to return to London, back to reality and away from the wonderful dreams of the island life we had experienced.
This trip, more than any other, really has changed my views on the importance of really experiencing life. Experiencing what this world is all about and the different cultures and places mother nature has created for us to visit is just too tempting not to take advantage of.
People always ask where I most want to travel to. The question I always ask myself however is where do I want to travel to next – one of my promises to myself for 2016 is to travel as much as possible, as often as possible. I can’t wait to take you with me.