It was a Mad Hatter – or rather, Alice in Wonderland – themed afternoon tea.
Since a couple of years back, I had always wanted to try the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Westin Hotel, and finally I had the chance to as I thought it would be a nice idea to treat my friend for her birthday as she loves high tea. The last time I came to Westin Hotel for high tea was back in 2007 for their Marie Antoinette High Tea, and I had LOVED it – the quality, the flavour, the service and the quantity of both savoury and sweet bites was more than perfect. For that reason, I had held high expectations for their Mad Hatters High Tea this time around.
The waiters were very friendly on greeting, and as we sat down on our designated table he saw that we were sitting in the sunlight. It was a terribly hot day and we were very happy to be offered a change of seats to those we were initially reserved for. The atmosphere at the lounge was nice and not too crowded.
There were three different types of Mad Hatters Tea Party we could choose from:
A Mad Tea Party $45 for the high tea and unlimited tea and coffee,
Down the Rabbit Hole $55 for the above with a cocktail or
Ruinart’s Queen of Hearts $65 with a glass of champagne on top.
We picked the $55 per person – bottomless cups of tea and coffee for two hours and one “Drink Me!” cocktail to complement our high tea savoury bites and sweets.
We started off with a cocktail - blueberry mojito. As can be seen in the picture, there were not many mint leaves used in the drink. You could taste the hints of mint of a mojito but it was sweetened down, and did not come across as strong with the rum taste but rather a bit too soda-ry for my liking. Though on the brighter side, it was very easy and light to drink, not causing us any alcoholic effects when we chugged it down like a soft drink.
The two tier was brought out while we were sipping on our not-very-blueberry-like-flavoured cocktail. The plates were served on a very interesting metal frame. Each the savoury and the dessert plate consisted of three different sets of bites.
The first savoury component we tried was the Alaskan crabmeat salad on double bread. It was made of a double layer of airy soft bread shaped circularly and wrapped like a sushi roll by a thin slice of cucumber. It was flavoured by the crab meat on top and finished with a quarter of a cherry tomato to give a sense of freshness. We both thoroughly enjoyed this as it was both delicious and innovative.
Next we had the Roasted beef and fresh asparagus roulade on mini laugen. This was a small chunk of asparagus wrapped in a gentle layer of beef, and placed with a slice of tomato onto a small slice of fresh laugen bread. It was dressed with an exquisite sweet sauce which had completed the dish perfectly. This was probably my favourite savoury bite on the plate. Fortunately, there was enough for two of these each on the plate. Yay!
Lastly, the Cherry, bocconcini and tomato on a fresh green salad boat. This salad was definitely enhanced by the taste of the bocconcini cheese, giving the salad a lot more flavour. And ironically, the freshness of the leaves and the tomatoes effectively balanced the heaviness of the bocconcini. The crouton-like sticks were also very crispy and along with the cheese, they had added a significant positive touch to the much boring salad otherwise.
After finishing the savoury plate, we were about to move onto the dessert platter.
But hang on.
Where are the scones?
I guess the scones were to be brought out later as they were written after the desserts on the menu. But my friend insisted on having the scones before her sweets, so she ended up pestering the waiter for her scones.
We also ordered our coffee and tea to have with our scones and desserts.
About a short 10 min wait, the scones came out freshly baked. They were warm and were not dry in texture. We were happy that there were 2 scones per person.
The scones were served with a cream and two types of jams – a strawberry jam and a dark chocolate raspberry jam. The clotted cream was very smooth and dense yet fluffy. The sweet homemade strawberry jam had real strawberry bits inside and the texture was runny when spread on the scones unlike your canned jams bought in supermarkets. The raspberry chocolate jam had a beautiful smooth texture kind of like that of melted chocolate.
We were very satisfied with the quality of the scones, and both the jams were nice but I think we preferred the strawberry jam over the raspberry chocolate.
We were offered another tea or coffee midway by the friendly waiter as we were finished with ours.
I tried the Jade Sword Green next which was basically a fairly strong green tea. It was served with a little pot of Austrian honey, which I didn’t find to be useful as I rarely drink my green tea sweetened.
We then started on to the desserts. By this time we were quite full already from the delicious scones. But I was still excited to try the sweets as they seemed so delicious. High expectations for the sweets were had after such an extraordinary set of savoury bites and scones.
Queen of hearts – Layers of raspberry buttercream, chocolate ganache and raspberry jelly. The layers were very distinct between each other in terms of flavour and texture. I quite liked this little one but it was an overall sweetness overload, especially the raspberry jelly on the top which I had squashed and spread over the whole of the cake.
Top hat – Dark chocolate mud cake encased in chocolate icing. The flavour wasn’t as rich and the texture wasn’t as smooth as I’d liked. The icing coat was also a bit too sweet. I guess it is a bit of an individual preference in regards to chocolate richness and texture as I have heard that people liked the mud cake.
Watch clock – Purple macaron with a blueberry cream filling. Our first impression was that the macaron shells seemed to have been kept in the fridge. They were quite hard to the touch and when bitten it did not crumble as softly, bites were clean rather than chewy. The blueberry filling was creamy smooth but lacked blueberry flavour. I also didn’t like the image icing on the macaron as in a way it ruined the texture of the macaron itself.
Although the sweets platter was a bit of a let down compared to my previous afternoon tea experience at the Westin Hotel, it was impressive in regards to the novelty of the sweets made in the characters of Alice in Wonderland.
For this high tea set, I highly recommend the savoury plate and the scones. With unlimited tea and coffee, and excellent friendly service, I quite enjoyed my second visit to the Westin Hotel for afternoon tea.