Afternoon Tea – a timeless tradition introduced in the UK by the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840 – has a long-standing reputation of being a luxury that only the posh and upper class can afford. However, this is not necessarily so. With your own high quality silver teaware, you too can enjoy tea, sandwiches and scones in the leisure of your own home. Meanwhile, not many people realise that in contemporary Bangkok, afternoon tea is actually very affordable considering the value for money that you get. It is also the perfect pass time for your lazy afternoon indulgence. Here are our top 5 places to try Afternoon Tea in Bangkok:
1. Café Claire
The first venue we recommend is Café Claire at Oriental Residence Bangkok. Nestled on Wireless Road between the US and Netherlands embassies, Café Claire is decorated with a Parisian flair and provides the tranquil atmosphere that is ideal for escaping the busy lifestyle.
Their brand new Afternoon Tea set is served on a unique three-layered tier with the Café Claire logo perched on top. Introducing new items such as the luscious red velvet cupcakes and chocolate crunchies, this set also comes with classic Café Claire macarons, scones and assorted sandwiches for gastronomical balance. Other items include white chocolate cups with strawberry mousse, lemon tartlets and a traditional Thai dessert called Sakoo.
You can enjoy this sweet and savoury set with only a choice of TWG teas (you could actually opt for coffee or hot chocolate if you like) or a package with sparkling wine. A great thing about this set is that it is designed for 2 so you get one pot each rather than having to share a pot between 2 people.
Probably the most least costly set on our list, Harrods gives you the option of either a savoury Afternoon Tea set or a sweet one. Admittedly, a lot of afternoon tea sets out there are rather sweet heavy which could be overwhelming for some people. The example here showcases the savoury set for a change – featuring simple ham & cheese sandwiches, smoked salmon and a cheese scone (the macarons you see were just a special request).
There are several branches of Harrods available in popular shopping malls such as EmQuartier, Siam Paragon and Central Embassy. As the EmQuartier branch does get a bit too crowded, we recommend the one at Siam Paragon (or Central Embassy) which is bigger.
3. La Baguette
Located on the GF Floor of The Glass Quartier building of EmQuartier, La Baguette also provides a French inspired ambience where you can enjoy light meals, desserts and of course, their Afternoon Tea set. The set here is admittedly more on the sweet side than savoury with several chocolate treats, almond croissants and only around 2 or so savoury items.
La Baguette is rather small and can get very crowded during peak hours so we do recommend that you give this a try during off-peak hours to avoid waiting for a seat. The atmosphere of the café in general is very charming and great for afternoon catch ups with friends.
4. 1823 Tea Lounge by Ronnefeldt
A choice suitable for the sweet-toothed, the 1823 Tea Lounge by Ronnefeldt is relatively new and can be found on the G/F floor of Gaysorn Plaza. The picture is pretty much self-explanatory – you can see that their Afternoon Tea set is very sweet heavy with a few savoury items on the bottom tier and the rest being cakes, macarons and chocolates. The signature feature here though, is the tea. 1823 Tea Lounge by Ronnefeldt is German and well-known for using tea leaves of high quality that are traditionally prepared.
As it is a German brand, the atmosphere won’t be French-inspired like Café Claire or La Baguette but is still very pleasant and maintains an air of elegance and tradition. There are two areas where you can enjoy their goodies; directly inside the tearoom itself or at the “outside terrace” where we sat.
Saving one of the poshest options here for the last, TWG has several branches throughout major shopping malls in Thailand such as Emporium, EmQuartier and Siam Paragon. The tea here is clearly that of quality leaves, and can actually be found at many Amari properties!
The moment you step into the tearoom, you instantly feel the air of luxury with its golden decoration illuminated by warm lighting and calm classical music in the background.
There are several Afternoon Tea sets you can choose from (the Afternoon Tea menu will specify exactly what items are featured in which sets) which are of course, at different prices depending on the items of the set. Akin to the picture of Harrods, the extra 3 macarons you see on a separate plate was a special order and not part of the set.
The great thing about their sets is that they have good number of savoury items so you can pretty much enjoy the whole set as a meal rather than feeling too guilty for too much sugar consumption. The drawback here though is that the Afternoon Tea set comes with only 1 pot of tea, suitable for 1 person, unlike Café Claire’s set that is designed for 2 people.
Those are our recommendations on where you can relax on your weekend afternoons for the rest and restoration you need from the weekdays. Although on the outside, Afternoon Tea seem like a costly luxury, you will be surprised by how affordable many things are when you give it a try!