Everyday from 2:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon, the Peninsula’s The Lobby has what they call “Afternoon Tea”. We have been avid fans of this offering for some time now and to simply call it “afternoon tea” is an understatement.
Let me start with the fine china. The china is not made in China. It’s made in England. The matching serving plates, saucers, teapots and teacups, cream and sugar containers are all intricately designed. I’m sure a big chunk is taken away from the pay of the The Lobby’s staff whenever they break any of these.
The tea is not just your ordinary Lipton teabag which will arrive to you already swimming in hot water. The Pen has a selection of tea infusions: caramel, mango, mint, raspberry, almond, plus a host of other tea flavors including traditional favorites like jasmine and ceylon. I ordered caramel, so did my Mom. Dondi had almond while Yaya Amor had raspberry. Each of us were given a teapot filled with hot water and with the fresh tea leaves at the bottom. Naturally, one has to use a strainer before pouring the tea in cups. I usually take the tea with a little cream and a cube of sugar. Don’t forget to ask for more hot water when you’ve almost consumed all the contents of the teapot. That’s bottomless for you!
The Peninsula’s afternoon tea comes with a spread that would impress even the Queen of England. On the day of our visit, there was pancit malabon (weird ba?), baked mussels with cheese on top and fish cakes. I found the pancit malabon a little too saucy and a bit bland. You’ll need to enhance the taste with calamansi and patis. The baked mussels turned out to be every diner’s favorite. They quickly disappeared as soon as the food warmers have been refilled. It came with a salsa dip which made it all the more yummy. There were 3 kinds of sandwiches: zucchini and vegetables in wheat bread, open-faced roastbeef on french bread and lamb on hard rolls. After the zucchini sandwiches have disappeared, they were replaced with salmon sandwiches, a welcome replacement, although the zucchini sandwiches were surprisingly good. You have to have strong teeth to be able to eat the roastbeef and lamb sandwiches because the french bread is tough (lumalaban was how Dondi described it) and the roll was really hard. But if your teeth can take a little abuse, why not? :)
To add authenticity to this old English custom, there were scones (an afternoon tea staple at The Lobby) alongside which are strawberry and mango marmalade and cream cheese. The scones are my favorite and aside from the cream cheese and marmalade, I always have them with cheese. There’s a platter with several kinds of cheeses. I’m not a cheese expert so I can’t name all the cheeses. But I assure you, they are not our everyday cheddar and quick melt cheeses. ;) You can actually pinpoint which are the more pricey cheeses because they are served so sparingly. Oo nga pala, there were also tiny quieches.
Ahhhh and the sweets, there were mango samurai, buchi (weird ulit), individual servings of chocolate mousse, lemon meringue, fruit tarts, several native kakanin, fresh fruits and two kinds of ice cream (mocha and chocolate marble). If you’ve read my previous food blogs, you may have already guessed that I did not touch the fresh fruits. :) The lemon meringue was a little too sweet for me. A true blue chocolate addict, I loved the chocolate mousse which was made from dark chocolate…this is my cue to say “Yum!” The mango samurai was also very good. It is like mango crepe served warm with caramel syrup.
At Php 550+ per head, this afternoon tea is a steal considering that it is at the Peninsula and there’s live music. It is a nice way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon (or any other day) with someone special or with the entire family. It’s actually a very good way to impress a girl! Be sure to make a reservation specially on weekends when the place tends to be full!
We were so full at the end of our so-called afternoon tea that none of us (except Abby) ate dinner when we got home that night, and that was after going to two malls!