reviewed by : Ken Barrett
30 September 2018
Siam Kempinski Hotel, which celebrated its eighth birthday in September, has set about giving a new and more inspired look to its weekend afternoon tea, going beyond the formula offered by many other five-star hotels and presenting a series of courses, served one by one.
Afternoon Tea Reimagined is the branding given to this rather luxurious concept, served in the Hanuman Bar, which is part of the hotel’s lively lobby, and part of the attraction is enjoying the weekend bustle.
The hotel’s executive chef Stefan Trepp has handled this re-crafting of an old tradition, and has ensured that the quality of the presentation matches the quality of the food.
A harpist adds greatly to the atmosphere, as do the waiting staff who wear jaunty little Ascot-type hats. The seating is a mix of chairs and sofas, and so there is plenty of room to spread out and relax a little.
The menu is presented as five courses, and includes a gorgeous listing of teas, with the all-in price being 999 baht. Available on Saturday and Sunday, Afternoon Tea Reimagined is served between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., with last orders at 4 p.m.
We were four people, and we chose three teas, all of them delightfully aromatic: Teastar Splendid Earl Grey from India, White Yunnan Silver Tip from China, and Morgentau Summer Green Tea, also from China, and flavoured with mango and citrus.
The first course was a selection of canapés, served in tiered ceramic containers, and including massaman duck rice on a cracker, crispy Thai tea roll, a neat little cone filled with creamed matcha green tea powder, a steamed chestnut bun, and a Macanese custard.
Next course was savoury sandwiches, the star attraction being the home-smoked Norwegian salmon wheeled on by the chef, who carved it by our tableside; the salmon was eaten with crab rillettes and blinis. Also part of this course was smoked tuna tart, a BBQ pork steamed bao, and a finger sandwich of cucumber and pulled chicken.
Scones! One cannot have afternoon tea without scones, and next to arrive was a wooden box containing one plain and one currant scone, freshly baked, with raspberry preserves, passion fruit curd and clotted cream in little pots.
Our fourth course was a choice of mini éclairs, served in a polished wood box and stuffed with passion fruit and mango, matcha, white chocolate, bourbon vanilla, and raspberry manjari.
Last was a selection of chocs and pralines, presented on a red wooden tray, and which defeated even the most sweet-toothed amongst us.
This being a Sunday afternoon, none of us were rushing anywhere, and so we were able to settle back and watch the busy lobby in great contentment. The staff had an easy informality that added to the sense of wellbeing.
With the hotel located at Siam Square, this is a tempting venue for frazzled shoppers and tourists, as well as being a perfect rendezvous for local residents to meet up.
Afternoon tea, after this Kempinski reimagining, will never quite be the same again.