Monday, August 22, 2011

Tea at the InterContinental - Pinkies Up

Truffled egg sandwiches!!!!!!
There aren't enough exclamation marks in the world for a sarnie like this. And I used to hate egg sandwiches. Hard boiled egg yolk and (usually industrial) mayo just don't agree with me. But add truffle (I presume this was truffle paste) and it's absolute bliss. The sulphur-y richness of the egg yolk becomes comfort food, taking you back to those happy days when grandma fed you mashed carrots drizzled in honey, while you drummed the table and smacked the arms on your highchair - except you're an adult with fully functional motor skills. These sammies are the good life, summarised in a bite an a half. (Or a single bite if you're a shameless 1-bite guzzler like yours truly.)

Allow me to explain why our tray of savouries in this three-tiered afternoon tea consisted of nothing but truffled egg sandwiches. This was an afternoon tea taken on an epic day of vegetarian bingeing. My vegetarian friend was visiting for a brief weekend and I wanted to take her somewhere with an awesome view. Once we sat down at the Lobby Lounge, I told the server that one of us was vegetarian, so if they could make enough savouries for her then it would be great. (She's lacto-ovo, not vegan, so desserts were not an issue - phew). Instead of enough vegetarian savouries for her alone, they made the whole thing vegetarian. Now, I'm not complaining that I got too much truffle, but it would have been nice to be able to try their other savouries! (But is this "nice" better than truffle-"nice"? I wonder.)

Jams & cream
Cream is an absolute joke in Hong Kong in general, as we don't have unpasteurised milk here, so it's not their fault the cream was tasteless... (But we have unpasteurised cheese... what's up with that?)

Another reason why we came here is because I heard the InterContinental just welcomed a new pastry chef with a pretty impressive CV (I've forgotten exactly but it was probably Hermé, Ducasse and friends). I can't say my socks were fully knocked off - but they may have slipped down a little.

I don't know the names of all the cakes I had, in fact, I don't know a single name. So I'll just try my best to describe what I had.

The above was the absolute best of the lot. Essentially a chocolate cake, with mousse, a little sponge and a ganache/glaze over the top, but the highlight was the little sliver of tart, fragrant marmalade. Wowza.

I kept thinking this was a mini Banoffi pie, but was told by HK Epicurus that it was in fact a vanilla tart. Perfect pastry, nice marshmallowy interior.

To be quite honest I can't remember what flavour the cream and glaze were supposed to be. One thing about eclairs in Hong Kong, or perhaps Asia in general, is that the pastry goes soft quite easily. No one's fault, just an observation. Even Sadahru Aoki's eclairs, which are some of the best I've ever had, suffer a little from this.

Berry cheese cake
Fluffy, creamy, not too heavy - yep, ticks all the boxes. I would have liked a slightly tarter coulis/glaze, and it also looks like some of it's slipping off the side (see left side of the cake in the picture)... whoops.

Passionfruit and mango tart
I guess by this stage I was just liking everything that had a slightly fruity or acidic element to it as I'd had too many egg salad sandwiches and was in no mood for anything remotely creamy, because I quite enjoyed this, and like the vanilla tart, the pastry fell apart with a little push of the fork - neither too crumbly nor too hard - spot on.

Rose panna cotta? Lots of something that was like rosewater syrup , overall a bit too much of the same texture, but I usually like this sort of pudding-like consistency. Again I attribute my lack of interest to just being way too full from the sandwiches!

I found these a bit dense, and it also made me wonder about how dry raisins used for baking are supposed to be, because these were pretty dry.

Overall a decent tea, I would have loved to try more savouries, but then again, it's probably a bit crazy to complain about having too much truffle. The patisserie was promising, and while traditionally pastries tend to have lots of cream, it would have been nice to see a bit of fruit. Ha, what a Chinese remark! The rose pudding was really the only thing that made me go "huh?", overall I think it's on par with Hong Kong's top hotel teas (which by the way, does not include the Peninsula - Tom sums it up in his post). With a view like theirs, they could have easily given up on the food and started serving crap, but they didn't, so thank you InterCon for serving good food with what I think is one of the world's most spectacular views*.

from Flickr/Sheeprus
*I'm biased, of course, but look at it and tell me you wouldn't be proud to call this home, or at least cross the bloody harbour to look at it**.

** In HK, there's a running joke - or maybe not so much of a joke - that people who live on Hong Kong Island refuse to cross the harbour to the "dark side". Ironically, the best view of Hong Kong Island can only be seen from the dark side.

InterContinental Lobby Lounge
InterContinental Hong Kong
18 Salisbury Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
+852 2721 1211

View e_ting in Hong Kong in a larger map


  1. The truffle egg sandwiches look delicious. And that is my favorite view of hong kong was well.

  2. Very very nice pix! And the view! Wow!
    Definitely worth a trip ( i am on the good (dark) side ..hahah..). :)

  3. omamamia! i must visit ASAPPPP. hmm that truffle sandwich idea got me to "inspired" huhuhohoho