Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clipper Lounge (快船廊) - ♕♕♕♕


I received a fairly last minute call only 2 days before a media meet organized by the Mandarin Oriental hotel, to see if I can allocate some time off-work on an afternoon and to try out and give some opinion on their Clipper Lounge’s Afternoon Tea Set, to be crossing-over in a dynamite collaboration between the art exhibition of Artist Zhou Tiehai (周铁海)’s painting works and food.  This is to coincide with the ART HK event also happening in town simultaneously.  Master Zhou is one of the youngest artists from Shanghai to have ever won the prestigious First Prize at the Contemporary Chinese Art Awards, and in numerous of his paintings, he depicts food in his own imagery projection...    And befittingly in continuing along with this theme, the Clipper Lounge kitchen has decided to recreate and turn some of these fictional dishes and desserts into reality.   A bold but fun concept indeed!

P1090641Desserts are recreated from artwork as designed by Artist Zhou Tiehai (周铁海)

P1090539Clipper Lounge -

P1090645P1090638A few of Zhou’s Artistry creations…

P1090545Interior Dining space -

Ceylon & Orange Pekoe -
This has always been one of my favourite teas here… 
It’s very fragrant…  Best tea in town?  I’ll need to compare more to arrive at conclusion..

Afternoon Tea Set – $428 for 2 Persons,
Including Tea or Coffee & All the Following items below..

Traditional Scones & Raisin Scones -
Mandarin Oriental and Clipper Lounge have always made the best scones in town.  It is light and fluffy, with a milkiness in the background.   The only other competitor in town which serves a similar quality Scone is at Island Shangri-La.  ~  9/10

Clotted Cream & Rose Petal Raspberry Jam -
Mandarin Oriental’s name is synonymous with making the best Rose Petal Jam in town, and there is definitely an element of truth in it.  Different from the Mandarin Landmark version, the one here is textured more like a Rose Petal Puree Jelly, almost like a thick version of a Coulis.  Its fragrant, but not overly so like many other versions.  Even the house-made Clotted Cream carries a much more intense sour creamy note, almost like its cultured.  ~  9/10

Scone with Cream and Jam -
I ‘inverted’ from my normal way of always spreading cream on top first before spreading the jam afterwards.  That’s because the more runny & jelly-like Jam consistency here will sit more comfortably directly on top of the porous scone, before I ladle the cream on top… 

Some Sponge Cakes -
Not too sweet at all.  But presentation wise, could have been more thoughtful?  ~  7/10

Top Layer -
Cream Cheese Cucumber & Herbs Sandwich, Smoked Chicken with Waldolf, Egg Salad & Chive, Smoked Salmon and Sour Cream with Chive, York Ham & Mustard.  For me, the bread rolls became slightly repetitive.  I mean, I’ve been to Mandarin Oriental’s numerous restaurants enough to know that they make the best breads in the business.  They could use some of the other breads on this set, to make it more exclusive and unique, right?   ~   6/10

2nd Layer -
Sausage Roll, Bacon and Onion Quiche, Madeleine and Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry…
The Spinach cheese Puff and the Quiche were very good.  Madeleine is also one of the better ones.  Sausage Roll felt a bit odd in a high end Tea Set though  ~  8/10

More close up photos..

Spinach and Cheese Puff -
Excellent, the best pastry I found on this set..

Mandarin Cheese Cake -
A very strong cream cheese flavour, but expertly balanced by the sweetened sour berries ~  8/10

Diplomate – Pineapple Cake
Also very nice, with cooked-sweetened pineapple on top.  Presentation wise, could do with just a little more decoration!  ~  8/10

Le Juge – Sacher Cake
We all liked this the best.  A very smooth yet darkish chocolate mousse inside was decadent, and covered in a smooth chocolate cremeux coating.  But again, I think this could do with just a touch more garniture decoration to elevate it to another level.  ~  8.5/10

Le Minister – Berries in Syrup
With Marshmallow.  I didn’t really understand this, as I’ll probably prefer this to be a jelly, and perhaps another panna cotta layer to make it more interesting. As it is, I don’t understand its aim or composition much!   ~  4/10

Shortbread -
If thinking from a Petits Four concept, I think this could have had more varieties on the same plate, to give more excitement to the customers!!  Nevertheless, tasted great ~  8/10


  Those who’ve following my reviews already know that coming here for Afternoon Tea  @ The Mandarin Oriental has been one of my childhood regular events, because mom and I simply adored here!   But that was a long time ago.  I hold high expectations still because of that nostalgic value and my trust in their heritage, and will always consider it as one of the best Hotel Afternoon Teas in HK (even though they no longer do my favorite Toffeed Grapes..!!)    Since I was informed upfront that I am allowed to freely write about this anyway I deemed fair and to please give them honest feedback on ways to improve, as any responsible Blogger with integrity should do,  though sometimes this is considered a taboo in any PR invited event..   I really want to say I think the food items here are executed perfectly and tasted just great – definitely better than most over-rated tea sets available at other venerable 5 or 6 Star Hotels in town, especially a specific hotel on the Kowloon side which sees endless trails of tourists lining up for hours but end up receiving quite mediocre food.  

  Personally however, I like my Afternoon Tea Sets to be more colorful,  showing heart and playfulness in its decoration, composition and more innovative recipes!   I learned this from mine Japanese dining friends -  who’d told me that there are certain meals during the day such as when visiting a café or something as simple as buying a Bento box or during a pilgrimage to a Kaiseki or Sushi dinner,  when the meal should be all about cheering up your soul and enlightening your day!   This would involve a calculated juxtaposition between different textures, food flavours, a showcasing of in season ingredients and visually appealing Colour contrasts.    In this regard, I think this area can still be further explored upon by the pastry kitchen here, especially with so much new and upcoming competition around to the likes of Chocolate Library, Café Gray Deluxe, Peninsula, Shangri-La, or even Mandarin Landmark’s MO Bar, etc.    If it still carries a desire to remain consistently as the undisputed  No.1 Tea Lounge venue in this town as it has all these years,  it will have to continue making something ultra special on top of the perfect taste and execution  !!   Oh and yes, can you bring back the Toffeed Grapes I love.  Please? Smile



Price:  $214 Per Person + 10%
Score: ★★★★☆☆

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  07:30am - 22:30pm
M/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central
Ph: 2825 4007



  1. "...the meal should be all about cheering up your soul and enlightening your day!"

    I couldn't agree more. A fantastic way to look at food and dining as being something beyond mere sustenance and a meal to take care of, but as an experience that can be entirely change one's mood... in a positive way, hopefully. :)

    Credit to the Mandarin Oriental hotel for giving the media carte blanche to write they wish... responsibly, of course.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Life for Beginners! : ) I always get a little too excited about food sometimes and probably become over zealous in my expectation. Which can be a double-edged sword because I might wander in expecting to be pampered in a selfish sense, but that anticipation is based and judged purely on my own eating preferences and experiences.

    Anyway, the reason why I am always so critical is because I know that those who could listen to some suggestion (however amateurish) will come out to be a Winner - so I guess I am trying to make it mutually beneficial! :) How you write and carry across this message is an art I'm still learning though..

  3. Hi, we are looking for food writer for our website. Are you interested?

    please leave us a message: leon@walee-walee.com



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