A few weeks ago Raku and I went to afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton. We'd been putting this location off because Raku went about a year ago on a weekend, and didn't remember it favorably. But it turns out our experience was very nice. I recently went to an afternoon tea on a weekend with John, and I will say that our experience wasn't nearly as good as I'd expected. Maybe afternoon tea is just better on a weekday?
We had a window seat, and it was extremely comfortable. The two of us had a corner with a sofa and two armchairs. Five people could have squeezed into the same place, but it felt extra luxurious to have so much room for just two people. The view is also fantastic. Many of hotels serve afternoon tea on a high floor, but that doesn't always guarantee a good view. Even though it was a grey day we could see Sky Tree, both of our own apartment buildings, and even mountains in the distance. This is the only location that has a live piano player, which perhaps isn't necessary, but was a nice touch.
One drawback of at the Ritz Carlton is that you can drink as much tea as you like, but of only one selection per person. They keep the pots on little warmers, but we didn't have any trouble with our tea over brewing. For some reason they kept our teapots on sideboards and poured each cup for us, though I saw some teapots resting on tables. I didn't like that as well - particularly because they served me Raku's tea by accident more than once.
The menu had a particularly Japanese twist to it, with a matcha mousse and a purple sweet potato tart as well as foie gras rolled in black sesame and snow crab served with a jerky made from fish eggs. The crab was probably our least favorite even though it was very interesting to look at. The flavors just didn't come together well. I don't always like green tea flavored desserts, but the matcha mousse was surprisingly delicious.
Possibly my favorite part was that when the scones came out they also brought by a jam cart with a huge selection of Wilkin & Sons jam. We were each allowed to select a flavor, and obviously shared. The damson plum was phenomenal (seriously, I have been searching for it in stores ever since!) with a wonderfully rich but tart flavor. The grapefruit was a big disappointment though, very bitter and pith-y tasting.
I don't know than anything will ever displace The Mandarin Oriental as the best tea in Tokyo, but at the end of the afternoon I felt relaxed, happy and completely satisfied with the experience, with particularly high marks for a spacious relaxing space.
Tokyo Ritz Carlton Afternoon Tea
Address: 9-7-1 Tokyo Midtown, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Read About Other Afternoon Teas:Peninsula Hotel Tokyo
The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo (second time)
Park Hyatt Shinjuku
Four Seasons Marunouchi
The Mandarin Oriental