Tea at the Mandarin Oriental

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Last Saturday I went for fancy afternoon tea at the Oriental Lounge in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in central Tokyo (link here). A lolita friend was visiting from overseas and wanted to go have tea there which was perfect since it had been on my list of places to try.

The lounge website had a PDF menu of the tea snacks, but they didn’t match what we got so we were slightly disappointed there. The menu has changed again – now it’s very cherry and sakura (cherry blossom) heavy. I wonder if it’s accurate now? Another odd thing was the price – online it said ¥‎4200 but the actual price was ¥4500, plus a service charge which made it ¥‎5085 :s

Another thing that was slightly disappointing was that I had always seen images of the afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental being served in a cool Asianesque display like this (pic not mine):

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This is a pic of the same lounge we went to, but I guess they got broken too often or took up too much space? I’m not sure but our tea was served on normal tea trays.

Anyway, let me not get ahead of myself. We arrived at the lounge and were seated. We were all wearing very gothy outfits that day so we were an interesting sight in a fancy hotel like that! The Oriental Lounge is on the 38th floor, so there were really great views out the windows. When I made the reservation I asked for window seats but they had already been taken, too bad! So we sat at a couch-table (two couches with a table in the middle). While that is supposed to be luxurious, it just kind of hurts my back after a while because I have to sit up to eat anyway!

When we arrived, they took our coats and gave us the tea menu. They had a nice selection of teas. I was a little warm in all the velvet I was wearing so I started with the iced muscat tea. It was really refreshing with a nice mellow white grape flavor.

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More tea! The nice thing was that the teas were given by the cup and you could change them after each one. They also had some coffee drinks as well. A lot of places give you a whole pot so you’re kind of stuck drinking it all until you finish and then can ask for a new tea. I think we might’ve asked for too many teas because the staff seemed a little annoyed by the end! They also didn’t have bowls of sugar, just rock candy swizzle sticks which are cute but aren’t that practical and tend to melt and plop into your teacup at random.

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So the theme of the Mandarin Oriental is obviously ~Asia~, but I found the decor to be kind of silly. Here are some highlights. Hairy lamp:

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Ornamental ceiling thing

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And some sakura

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After a bit, the food came! This was a two person portion.

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In more detail, I’ll go over the savory section. Clockwise from the right are: lobster pieces on a cookie-like thing with saffron(?) gel on top, onion-anchovy-olive topping on bread, roasted veggies on a egg frittata, little tuna open faced sandwiches with egg and veggies, couscous stuffed red peppers and cucumbers with a creamy topping. I thought the food was all really good and liked all the vegetables!

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Now for the middle plate. We got clotted cream, strawberry jam and apricot marmalade which I forgot to picture, but only one mini scone to put it on! I was sad to see the extra jam and clotted cream go to waste so I was temped to just eat it with a spoon anyway, haha. The scones had dates in them – yummy but I wish there was more! There was also an amusingly-shaped cookie and a little herb roll too. Again, everything was really tasty.

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Then finally to the dessert plate! They did a great job with these. None of them were grossly sweet which is often a problem at afternoon tea. After I’ve had a bunch of sugar in my tea and in the jam and stuff, I really want the dessert section to be light and airy so I don’t hit sugar overload and feel like going straight home to nap and/or brush my teeth. We all laughed about Fred there – he was actually one of the best desserts on the plate! I will never doubt you again, Fred. It was like a mini lemon meringue pie on a biscuit, mmm ❤ Clockwise from Fred was a pear flavored confectionery with some gel inside, the texture was very spongy, like a soft marshmallow. Next were some macarons – they were purple so we thought they’d be blueberry or grape flavor but they actually tasted like nothing and were one of my least favorite things on the dessert plate. The pyramids had some slightly bitter caramel on the outside and chocolate mousse inside, the candy in the middle of the plate was a very soft gummy, and the basket type things were little tarts with gelled fruit on top. Everything was so good! I want to eat it again!

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We lingered for a while until we felt like we had been there long enough. It was nice that we didn’t have a time limit like some other afternoon tea services I’ve been to. The bathrooms were really amazing because they had some of the best views on that floor! Izzy stole this shot of the men’s room.

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You could see a nice view of Tokyo Skytree!

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We took some silly shot of our outfits in the lobby~ I wore a wig for the first time! I wanted to wear an old Triple Fortune headdress to complete my old school look but I think they look best with heavy bangs, plus I wanted to be a mysterious gothic lady with long hair so I went with a wig. My dress is Victorian Maiden, the jacket and necklace Excentrique, and the bag is Meta (nurse series).

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I had a really good time with everyone! Despite the food, price and presentation not being exactly what I expected, I was still happy with the quality of everything. Unusually though, I felt like I could still eat more at the end. Most of the time when I have afternoon tea I’m stuffed but I think because the scone was just one mini one and not two full sized ones like I’m used to, I felt less full than usual. The price was pretty high but I felt like the attention to detail in the food and the many tea options made it worth the price. The service was very good but they did make me feel a little guilty about ordering more cups of tea. I’m not sure if everyone who goes there orders that much or if we were being super demanding? I guess I’ll never know!

Thank you for reading! I would love to hear more afternoon tea recommendations from you if you have any! One of my goals is to find the “perfect” afternoon tea in Tokyo. I have a favorite place in Japan but it’s in Kyoto at Chorakukan. It’s a place that I think is a great combination of atmosphere, food quality, and value for the price – I wish it was closer!

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6 thoughts on “Tea at the Mandarin Oriental

  1. You look gorgeous, and the high tea looks delightful though you’ve intrigued me with Chorakukan! I had a look and couldn’t confirm but we’ll be stopping by Kyoto next time we’re in Japan and I’d love to pay a visit- does it require a reservation at all?

  2. The more skylines I see, the more amazed I am by tokyo’s. It’s the only one I’ve seen that doesn’t actually really have a skyline but instead spreads out forever (I’m not that well travelled, maybe it’s common in the states but comparing with HK and Dubai).

    Also ornamental ceiling butthole! :-O

    • Whoops late reply! Yeah that feeling of the skyline going on forever is almost scary in a way – you cannot escape the matrix! It makes trips outside the city all the more pleasant.

      haha yes we were making butthole jokes the whole time

  3. Wow! Just had a peek at Chourakukan’s & their afternoon tea does look amazing!
    I’ve been to the Tokyo MO several times for afternoon tea & fortunately, I can’t share your points of criticism. Each time I went, they did bust out them fancy trays like the one you wished for but didn’t get, I once seriously tried myself through their whole tea AND coffee selection plus several sorts all over again without anyone batting an eyelash &, well, I never put sugar into my drinks so I can’t complain about the sugar sticks…
    From a food perspective, I’ve found the MO afternoon tea to be the best so far, to be honest. I also love the one at ekki at the Four Seasons in Marunouchi though so they sit on shared 1st place. The volume is bigger & you can have hot chocolate, the latter being a real damned convincing argument in my world. As for volume, I think it depends on what you’re looking for, a sophisticated time with delicious morsels in between lunch & dinner, or maybe a more substantial substitute for either one of the 2.
    I hated afternoon tea at the Peninsula lounge, by the way, although everybody loves it & it’s super hyped.
    Afternoon tea reviews of these & more on my blog to follow, I don’t know when though…

  4. Ah maybe I just got to MO on an off day? I’ve been to ekki and it was nice but we had a big party (like 12) so some things weren’t as fresh as I would’ve liked, but that’s to be expected. The hot chocolate was awesome though!
    I followed you, hope to hear about tea adventures! Do you live in Tokyo?

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