I can think of no better way to spend a cold, rainy afternoon than in front of an open fireplace drinking tea. Better still, drinking tea, eating cakes and lounging around reading an Evelyn Waugh novel.
I recently indulged in my perfect rainy-day afternoon scenario with High Tea at the Lobby Lounge of The Westin Hotel. The Lobby Lounge is on the ground floor of the hotel and is a space set apart from the main reception marked by leather lounges, an open fireplace and bookshelves. It’s quiet enough to read a book and the leather bucket seats are just right for sinking into.
The Westin is all about contemporary glamour and so their high tea is a modern take on the traditional afternoon tea. For $45 ($55 including a flute of Chandon NV Brut) you receive unlimited tea or coffee plus sweet and savoury morsels presented on a sleek tiered platter reminiscent of a vintage drinks trolley. The teas from Jing Tea range from black, green, white and herbal infusions and I tried the White Peony tea and the whole rosebuds. Each pot would normally cost $7 so if you really like drinking tea then unlimited tea is good value!
Tier 1 contained two scones – original and cranberry and raisin. They were quite crusty on the outside and I feared that they might be dry but in fact they were light and fluffy inside. Not the best scones I’ve ever had but nice enough with jam and cream.
Tier 2 held the savoury bites and they weren’t just the standard cucumber sandwiches. First up, smoked leg ham, brie and semi-dried cherry tomato in a black olive and parmesan ciabatta. A mouthful of a description and a delicious mouthful too. The smoked chicken with apple and walnut compote filling was a little tasteless in comparison, though I did like the crunchy sunflower seeds in the polenta bun. To round out the savouries, a teensy smoked salmon tart and a classic crustless sandwich of egg mayonnaise and watercress.
Tier 3 was a colourful array of sweet delights. I liked the pastry of the vanilla marscapone and fresh fruit tart and the lemon tart but the pistachio macaron was too sticky and wet in texture. The two chocolate desserts – a chocolate creme brulee and black forest slice – were a really decadent end to the afternoon tea and I could feel myself dozing over my book as the sugar coma took hold.
I enjoyed The Westin’s contemporary take on high tea and it’s a nice pit stop after some city shopping. High tea is served on weekends from 12-4pm and bookings are recommended as there are only five tables in the Lobby Lounge.