Monday, June 30, 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

Earlier this month I went to afternoon tea at The Mandarin Oriental for the second time.  Last year I went with Raku to celebrate my birthday, fell madly in love with the experience, and ended up kicking off our tour of afternoon teas around Tokyo.  This year I took my mom to celebrate her birthday while she was here visiting.

My mom never argued when I told her I was taking her to afternoon tea for her birthday, but I got the distinct impression that she was just humoring me.  Afterwards, she told me that when our tea tray arrived she wasn't even sure if the food would be very good or filling.  Ha!  She's definitely a convert now.

I chose The Mandarin because it's been the gold standard of afternoon tea in my mind that I've compared every other experience to.  While The Park Hyatt put up stiff competition (I still can't stop thinking about that rose tea) The Mandarin Oriental is in some ways more lavish, and I wanted my mom to have the most magical experience possible.

While we still had a great time, the experience was very different from 2013, so I thought it would be worth blogging about - plus I get to relieve our wonderful afternoon.  I suspect the chef has changed because the food was significantly different, and it seems he or she has a different take on afternoon tea. The Mandarin used to serve tea in three separate courses: sandwiches, scones, a palate cleanser, and then a huge dessert display.  Now they've switched to the traditional three tiered tea tray.  Traditionalists may find this more appropriate or comforting, but I was initially disappointed because I had enjoyed the uniqueness of the old presentation.  But despite my initial concerns the tea was very satisfying.

We ate our savories first, mostly to get on to the main event: dessert!  I remember being very underwhelmed by the bland finger sandwiches last time and they've now provide a much more interesting assortment.  We had a mini quiche, a finger sandwich, a salmon blini, and an open-faced chicken sandwich all made with interesting and tasty ingredients.  In the photos you may notice that the top two tiers are both devoted to desserts. We were wondering about the scones, but partway through the food we were brought a tray of hot scones. In the past we were given three types of scones and now they only offer two, but the freshness and the fact that they bring a second round after you've finished the first more than makes up for it. As always, desserts are the main attraction here and we weren't disappointed.  The mango pudding was particularly delicious and the rose tea flavored macaron was certainly the best macaron I'd ever eaten. Teas are still offered by the cup and never over brewed, though it did seem to take longer between cups to receive them, resulting in less actual tea drunk.

By the time we left we were so happy and relaxed that we both felt like we'd spent an afternoon at a spa. I can still say that The Mandarin Oriental is my favorite afternoon tea so far, but The Park Hyatt Shinjuku is only a hairsbreadth behind.

Tokyo Mandarin Oriental Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea Hours: 12:00-5:30
Phone: 03-3270-8188
Address: 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo


  1. The macaron was to die for, and the whole experience was fabulous! Thank you, Wendy.