by Elisabeth Lambert
There is a sense of calm and serenity that comes with dining 45 floors above the hustle and bustle of Roppongi. In the Lobby Lounge of Midtown’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, you leave behind the everyday life at street level and are transported into another world by one short elevator ride.
My dining partner and I were set to indulge in the highest of Tokyo’s afternoon high teas. While enjoying an elegantly presented and delicious selection of canapés and desserts, we also found ourselves de-stressing a few notches with every sip of tea, sinking back into comfortable chairs and taking in the surreal view of the city below.
After first selecting our respective brew from 16 available choices in the aromatic sample box – sweet fruit & honey rooibos and caramel – I opted for the full works, the Ritz Carlton Afternoon Tea, while my partner chose the Heavenly Tea (starting from ¥7,500 and ¥4,300 respectively). Needless to say, neither of us was disappointed.
A short time later, with the arrival of a 3-tiered serving platter for each of us, our afternoon tea began in earnest.
From the savory portions on the bottom tiers, I enjoyed a number of canapés such as tasty parma ham and melon, caviar and scallop filet, and crabmeat and avocado. My friend’s mini-feast included cucumber and crab and egg sandwiches as well shrimp, avocado and mimosa, and parma ham, fruit and orange confiture canapés to name a few.
Although the combinations may sound unusual, the chef has done an incredible job matching and complementing tastes as well as textures – the lobster and mango, along with the smooth foie gras and crispy toast was gourmet gastronomy at its finest,
We then munched on the soft scones laid out on the middle tier, lathering them with cream and jam, before digging into the pièce de résistance: the sweets assortment on the top!
Talk about mouth-watering: smooth panna cotta, chocolat framboise, a velvety green tea éclair, vanilla cassis (for both of us, the hands-down favorite), a crunchy chestnut tartlet and a green tea macaroon each. We devoured the lot, with appreciative exclamations over every morsel. The bite-sized serves left us feeling totally satisfied but not guilty.
The setting appropriately enhanced our afternoon tea indulgence. The windows in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton provide an elegantly understated frame for the world beyond and with the sounds of a grand piano in the background, I recommend this experience to anyone seeking a unique and leisurely time-out from the daily grind.
Afternoon Tea is available daily from 2pm-5pm
Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-1, Akasaka, Minato-ku
Photo credits: Elisabeth Lambert