Thursday, August 7, 2014

Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Hotel Tokyo

My name is Wendy and I'm an afternoon tea addict. A year ago when Raku and I went to afternoon tea for my birthday I don't know if she had any idea what kind of a monster she was unleashing. That day we agreed to go once a season, and recently we planned out our tea schedule for the entire next year! We even contemplated whether we needed to increase the frequency to fit in all the places we want to try. I might need an intervention here, but on second thought, no thanks. I'll just take another cup of tea with cakes and tiny sandwiches please.

This time we went to the Peninsula Hotel for afternoon tea in their lobby lounge. It was a really different experience from most of the others that we've done.  A lot of the afternoon teas here are on a pretty high floor of a sky scrapper (usually between the 30th and 40th floors) but this one was actually on the ground floor. The Hotel Chinzanso was similar, but the area where tea was served was offset from the main lobby. In the Peninsula you're really seated in the lobby, there's a path right through all the seating where guests are walking in and out, and from our table we could see the revolving doors and the check-in desk. At first it felt a little chaotic and distracting, but soon it became really fun. We were lounging and relaxing, but it seemed like we were traveling - maybe not even in Japan anymore. For some reason it made me want to take a long journey on a train.

The food itself was a little less than exciting. I think the Peninsula prides itself on being super traditional, so the cakes and sandwiches were not the most creative or beautiful foods that we've ever had.  It looked like there were multiples of the same cake, but once we tasted them we realized they were different. There were a couple standouts though. Their scones were probably the best I've had in Tokyo, and they served a cold corn soup garnished with a piece of popcorn that was both delicious and whimsical.

We drank our way through as much tea as we could, and found some really great teas, as well as a pretty bad one. Raku is always really good at picking unusual teas that I would never even consider ordering - they usually turn out to be my favorites. But this time her first order was a miss. She got the blueberry green tea and I thought it smelled like pixie sticks, she thought it smelled like a cheap bathroom air freshener. The taste was better than the smell at least, but we wouldn't recommend it. We both enjoyed the Peninsula Tokyo Blend and the Paris tea. Raku's next selection was Chocolate Mint tea, which as usual I didn't expect to like, but it was very good. We both agreed it would be particularly good in cold weather, maybe with a splash of milk? One thing we both appreciated was the tea pot size. They pour exactly two cups, so there's just enough to share and less of it gets over brewed.

In general it was a nice tea, and the atmosphere was a fun change up, but we've gotten pretty spoiled. We agreed that we would both rank this one on the lower middle end of all the teas we've gone to. There's no harm in going to this one, but unless you're a particular Peninsula enthusiast or you want to try ALL of them, you can do better in Tokyo.

Tokyo Peninsula Hotel Afternoon Tea
Hours: 2:30-5:00
Address: 1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Read About Other Afternoon Teas:
The Kahala Resort Honolulu
The Aman Tokyo
The Palace Hotel Tokyo
The Metropole Hanoi
The Ritz Carlton Tokyo
Tokyo Shangri-La
The Mandarin Oriental (second time)
Park Hyatt Shinjuku
The Four Seasons Marunouchi
Hotel Chinzanso
The Mandarin Oriental

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, afternoon tea.... It was so wonderful when you took me to afternoon tea for my birthday at the Mandarin Oriental.