Liverpool Street is one of London’s busiest hubs, yet just a stones throw away lies a haven of tranquillity - Pan Pacific. The Orchid Lounge is nestled by the reception looking over the hotel’s plaza, an elegant yet cosy area it is home to their trending Afternoon Tea.
Chef Cherish Finden, who you may recognise from Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals, has curated two stunning Afternoon Tea experiences. Her original Kopi Tiam menu reflects her, and the hotel’s Singaporean roots. Serving a selection of Asian savouries such as dim sum and bao buns it is a unique take on the classic savoury selection. For those looking for something more traditional, the latest menu to be launched replaces dim sum the with a variety of quintessential British sandwiches, including coronation chicken and smoked salmon.
The pastries usually also reflect the strong Asian influence, however the Tea has been given a royal makeover as our visit was just prior to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Inspired by the Superbloom exhibition at the nearby Tower of London, the flavours are floral and are in honour of The Monarch.
Both menus start with an amuse bouche consisting of a refreshing lemon sorbet topped with a raspberry coulis served in a mini teacup. A chocolate petit four with a ganache centre rests upon the saucer. The filling is rich yet the biscuit crumbles perfectly with each bite. The sweetness from the berry coulis cuts through the slight sharpness found in the sorbet and it cleanses your palette in preparation for the savoury selection to be served. It is served with your tea, which is kept warm as the pot lies upon a candle lit base. These little details reflect the deep thought process taken for experience.
We opted for both menus meaning we could sample all of the food on offer. A hanging silver bird cage was brought beside the table, presenting the savoury selection. The bao bun was soft lying alongside two crispy spring rolls. The dim sum was served with a side of dipping sauces and could rival London's finest Chinese eateries.
The traditional sandwiches included a variety of breads providing an alternate take on classic flavours. The mustard butter served with the smoked salmon really packed a punch and the Asian sauce with the Portobello mushrooms ensured the Singaporean influence was still present.
Once the savoury courses is complete, one would normally move on to scones and pastries, however in celebration of the upcoming Jubilee there is an additional Street Party inspired course.
A corgi shaped lemon biscuit was a simple, yet sweet addition to the experience. Served plain, Finden explains that whilst astetically it may have been more pleasing covered in icing, she prefer to let the original flavour of the biscuit comes through without making it overly sickly.
A blue portion of candy floss is sprinkled with sherbet, adding a slight acidity to settle the sweetness. This was such a fun addition to the experience which evoked fond childhood memories.
Both menu options feature scones, served with the traditional clotted cream, strawberry preserve and a special Kaya coconut jam alongside the Superbloom pastries.
This selection really stole the show, both visually and flavour wise. The four dainty, delicate pieces all had a floral feel, reflecting the exhibition and were almost too beautiful to eat.
Cherish was on hand to talk us through the ideas behind her creations and suggest which order they should be tasted. She advised us to start with the lightest piece - a lemon meringue filled with a sharp lemon curd that married beautifully with the subtle and sweeter lemon mousse.
Next, we moved onto the macaron religieuse with English rose and Sakura Japanese cherry blossom before moving on to my personal favourite, The Tower. A pistachio financier, coated with mascarpone and a raspberry filling hidden behind a white chocolate coat and finished with the most delicate butterflies, it was a real treat.
Finally, the Queen 'Honey' Bee piece had the strongest flavour which is why it was recommended to leave for last. Rich chocolate covers a chocolate sponge which a crispy pecan praline and honey centre. It was decadent without being overwhelming and was the perfect way to end a wonderful experience.
The distinct Asian influence found in this Afternoon Tea makes it one of London's most unique. Clear attention to detail has been taken covering all aspects, from the friendly, attentive staff to the delicate intricacies adorning the pastries, creating a extraordinary special experience.
The Superbloom Afternoon Tea at Pan Pacific London will be available until 31st August 2022 and is priced from £72 per person. Click here for full details or to book your experience now.