Pan Pacific Orchid Lounge (London) – Chinese Afternoon Tea

Fusing English afternoon tea tradition with modern Chinese dessert artistry.

Our experience

As we have no doubt previously mentioned, afternoon tea is something that these Dessert Correspondents always make sure to do whenever we are stopping by London.  Truly, no one does afternoon tea better than the English.  After three l-o-n-g years away from London because of this dreadful pandemic, we scheduled a high tea at the Pan Pacific Hotel for our first afternoon in London.

 

On our visit, afternoon tea at the Pan Pacific took place in the hotel’s bright lounge area, bedecked in plush seating of neutral tones. The dining ware was whimsical chinoiserie in style, and made for a striking backdrop for the food.  The tea menu was one of the most beautifully-curated tea menus we have seen in a long time, with a broad selection of teas from many different Chinese provinces, as well as from other regions of the world.

The hotel ordinarily offers an Asian-themed afternoon tea.  During our visit in the last days of March, the Pan Pacific was still offering its Lunar New York afternoon tea menu.  The savouries were sadly, somewhat disappointing, comprising a short kaya toast tower sandwiching a thick unmelted round of butter, and four pastry cups filled with cold shredded duck meat, cold soba noodles, and cold crispy tofu.  Cold/room-temperature does not really work for Asian food…except for maybe sushi or Thai salads.  Instead of scones, we received a platter of traditional Chinese sweets from the “Prosperity Box“, such as candied nuts, jujubes, crackers, shortbread and matcha chocolates.

 

Long-time followers will know that these Dessert Correspondents seek out afternoon tea venues that put more effort into their dessert creations.  Well, we were very, rather pleased with such creations at the Pan Pacific. The dessert portion of the afternoon tea consisted of a trompe l’oeil orange, a log of lychee mousse and red date, a more dense chocolate creation, and another infused with all our favourite dessert flavours (passionfruit, lime, mango and coconut).  They were just exquisite.

 

Our verdict

The Pan Pacific is one of the few London high teas featuring non-English food.  Its afternoon tea is further distinguishable for its beautifully-crafted dessert epilogue that elegantly infuses the tradition of another tea culture. We hope to see more London hotels follow its lead and take inspiration from beyond the box.


Dessert adventure checklist

  1. ☑ Dessert destination:  Pan Pacific Hotel, Orchid Lounge, 80 Houndsditch, near Liverpool St Station, London.
  2. ☑ Budget: $$$ (GBP $72 pp).
  3. ☑  Sweet irresistibles: Afternoon Tea.
  4. ☑  Must-eat: The dessert platter
  5. ☑  The short and sweet story: Fusing English afternoon tea tradition with modern Chinese dessert artistry.

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