The Authors' Lounge is the most picture-perfect place we have ever had afternoon tea. This lounge is inside one of the best hotels in the world - Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Hotel. The word impressive doesn’t even seem enough to describe the surroundings of our afternoon tea. This historical place is one of the best-known lounges and despite its age, it is still in an enviable shape with service still at the highest level.
When we entered the bright Authors' Lounge, it took our breath away. You could say that it took our hearing away as well, because the receptionist had to ask us twice if we had a reservation. We were busy looking at the airy place with colonial feel where every detail has its purpose.
For example, the striking staircase serves as a stage for the guitarist, who performed beautifully in this acoustic lounge. The bamboo pattern matches more than just the teapot and the teacups, as there was a large bamboo plant growing in the corners. Actually, all the tableware matched, except for the centerpiece, which was the oriental afternoon set. In 2015, they restored the wing in which the lounge is located – read more about it here.
At the Authors' Lounge Bangkok, they serve prestigious TWG teas. Ian’s choice was the TWG Royal Darjeeling, a black tea that is also known as the king of India teas. The fragrance of the dried fruit worked as an invitation to keep on sipping, to taste the overtones of ripe apricots with a just a hint of bitterness.
My tea choice
My choice was the TWG 1837 Black tea. The pleasant cherry aroma evolved in the complex flavors of berries and vanilla. There was even a taste of cinnamon and rum with the lingering caramel and berry aftertaste.
At the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, the service is impeccable and the awareness of the guest’s individual preferences is always on the staff's mind. We say this because for the first time in South East Asia, we were asked if we preferred milk or lemon slice with our tea.
In the tropics, hot and cold always work well together and there’s no way we would ever say no to the 'La Grande Dame' tea sorbet with mandarin and bergamot. The Mariage brothers made a special blend of green tea, citrus and oriental rose named 'La Grande Dame' for the 140th anniversary of the Bangkok Mandarin Oriental. Each ingredient added its share to the sorbet.
Clementine and mandarin contributed sweetness, while yuzu added some citrusy bitterness and bergamot the floral tones. We loved the complex taste of the sorbet and the creamy texture that could always make us mistake this for ice cream.
Afternoon Tea Sets
Here at the Authors' Lounge, you can choose among three versions of afternoon tea sets. The afternoon tea menu ranges from Western, vegetarian and Oriental; we opted for the last one. This afternoon tea set came in the three identical bowls with a golden pattern and shiny handles. It is certainly one of the most beautiful sets we’ve seen so far. A nice place, sophisticated tableware and a promising menu - everything complimented one another.
Authors' Lounge Afternoon Tea
After the exquisite sorbet, we focused our attention on the traditional scones and Thai mango mooncake. We liked the texture of the scones, which didn't fall apart and made it easy for us to apply homemade jam on top - the very tasty jam with proper clotted cream, to be exact.
The luscious clotted cream is a far cry from whipped cream. Sadly, the easily accessible whipped cream is much more commonly used for the afternoon tea, but clotted cream is well worth the struggle. The scones were delicious and so were the house-made jams. Amazingly aromatic rose petal jam and warming mango jam with ginger. Naturally, we ate everything before the mooncake came into play, which tasted similar to custard with compact texture.
The savories were presented in nine different bites and neatly put on top of a banana leaf. We started with the tasty flower shaped steamed Thai dumpling, which had the crunchy peanut inside. This delicate dumpling was tasty, nicely steamed with a great texture. However, we loved the crisp fresh Vietnamese spring roll even more.
It was seasoned with mint and coriander and paired with a sweet dip. The spring roll was the complete opposite from the mild Thai curry puff. The sweet and juicy filling of the puff soaked the dough a little, but it was still an enjoyable bite.
A crunchy balance was established in the next snack: the fried vermicelli in a pastry cup with sweet-sour-spicy seasoning. This classic Thai trio went extremely well with this vermicelli crispy bite. The renowned Thai seasoning was also present in the wing bean salad. The main components of this salad were the chicken and prawns. All the protein was perfectly seasoned and placed on top of the betel leaves. A nice refreshing salad for the tropical climate!
Our next meaty bite was roasted chicken wrapped in a pandan leaf, which kept the chicken moist and served as a seasoning. The minced chicken with black olive got a refreshing note thanks to the kaffir lime. It went well with a slice of fresh bread, which to our surprise was not too spicy, despite the red chili.
Amazingly well prepared
The last chicken bite was settled in the crispy pastry shell with corn on top. It looked simple, but it was very well performed. For an easier transition to the sweets, we had the crabmeat sandwich with lemongrass and chili. Definitely, the lavish filling made us happy with refreshing flavors that shined through the tender wrap. In addition, the lemongrass was there to support the crabmeat and allowed it to be the king of this sandwich.
After the appealing savories, we dug straight into the sweets, starting with the steamed pumpkin custard. We are more used to the French style desserts and the steamed pumpkin custard felt more like paté than the dessert. Surely, we can't say the same for the mango tartlet with vanilla cream.
It was a very gratifying bite with crunchy dough underneath the vanilla cream and scoops of juicy mango on top. The same goes for the sweet coconut pudding wrapped in banana leaf, despite being a little salty. The pudding with coconut stripes really let the coconut shine in its delicate glory.
Traditional Thai desserts
Another traditional Thai dessert, the Foi Foi Thong, was elegantly wrapped in leaf basket. The egg yolk was very sweet and strongly infused with jasmine aroma. Usually, I am not fond of eggy desserts, but this really didn’t taste like an egg. The assorted Thai marzipan - or Luk Chup - looked so lovely. However, it's not surprising to guess the meaning of this word. It means exactly what it is: lovely.
It has a coat of vibrantly colored jelly that looks like a polished inedible decoration. The look was deceiving and underneath the coating, we got the sweet mung bean paste with coconut milk. It had a mushy texture with a hint of jasmine and slightly smoky aroma. Definitely, a perfect fit for a king, so no wonder that it used to be the exclusive treat after a royal meal. Once, it was enjoyed only inside the walls of the Siam Palace and to this day, the Luk Chup is a delicacy eaten mostly on special occasions.
We finished one of the best afternoon tea in Bangkok with Royal Thai orchid tea praline. The brilliant mousse melted away easily and left the mouth full of floral chocolate. Normally, the splendid chocolate was the queen, but in this bite, there was a sophisticated addition, the orchid.
The Authors' Lounge high tea is on the top of our favorite high tea list. However, this is one of the famous high tea in Bangkok and we can see why. The photogenic place truly is the most beautiful ambient in Bangkok and it’s no wonder this lounge is one of the most photographed sites in Bangkok.
The service is impeccable, which is reflected throughout the entire Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. Authors' Lounge afternoon tea in general was a nice experience and it will be forever in our hearts. To be honest, not only lounge but also this Luxury hotel with its Bamboo Bar and outstanding Le Normandie , where we had an unforgettable dining experience!
Room for improvements
There is always a room for improvement and even Authors' Lounge high tea can make some. The savory food was extremely nice, but the sweets could be a bit better. We know very well that Thai pastries are not the same – and shouldn’t be – as French ones (which are our personal favorites). But for exactly that reason, we think they should introduce more exotic local ingredients, like Thai chocolate, other fruits and nuts. These ingredients are more known to us Farangs.
Price and location of Authors' Lounge
The afternoon tea offering here at Authors' Lounge will cost you about 45 USD per person.
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