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May 27, 2011

Off the Trail: Hong Kong - The Verandah - Food Matters Goes For High Tea!

Another day on the trail -- figuratively, I doubt living in Hong Kong can be considered "roughin' it"-- brings me to our next destination, The Verandah! Situated in one of Hong Kong's more affluent neighbourhoods, Repulse Bay, and with a dress code no less (!!), I knew I would be in for a little treat. See, Hong Kong takes a lot after the British (you would too if you were under British rule for around 50 years! -- edit: I just realize Canada WAS under British rule, Canadian history fail), including the administration structure and such, but what brings me to The Verandah was the promise of "high tea". Now, perhaps I'm too uncouth but I've never actually had high tea -- I've always imagined it to be a bunch of old English women sitting around a table sipping from dainty tea cups and acting all aloof (to be distinguished from afternoon tea). Well that, as I was soon to find out, is more or less the idea (with some snacks along the way!)

Overall Score (This blogger's opinion): 94/100
(No Urbanspoon rating to help me here!)
What's IN: Classic Afternoon Tea

See now, a couple things tipped me off that this place meant business: First, English - wait..what? I'm in Hong Kong, and honest to God, I look Asian, why would people be speaking to me in English!? Then, silver chinaware (no pun intended) and pressed white napkins? Oh boy, these guys were setting the bar high.

A quick glance on the menu left me with a couple lingering ideas: the "Classic Afternoon Tea" for which The Verandah was known for (I had read about it before in some magazine), and the "Repulse Bay Club Sandwich", perfect! (Plus, a simple clubhouse always hits the spot!) To drink, one Mango twist along with the tea, please!

Up first, the club sandwich: chicken breast, ham, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, egg, bacon, mayo, all "sandwiched" (punny!) between 3 slices of toasted whole wheat bread! With so many ingredients fighting for my attention, it was hard to tell just what was hitting my palate at what time, but the most pronounced flavours were definitely the cucumber, egg and bacon. The cucumber gave the club a nice crunch, the egg, a nice ...egg-y taste (think scrambled eggs), and rounding out the pack, the bacon with just the right salty kick the sandwich needed. Deeee-lish. I should mention at this point that the sandwich also came along with french fries. Now, I don't usually have too high standards for the sides - let's be honest, when I order, I look at the main item to see if I want it and the sides are just like the gravy on top - but these fries were one of the best: thick cut so you could taste the real potato goodness in them; so large in fact that I could see where each fry came off the potato and I could rebuild the potato ...if I felt so inclined ...which I don't ...but the point is I could? I'll stop. Next!

Wow, the afternoon tea set had quite the assortment of little goodies; so much that I don't actually have enough time to talk about each one, lest this post becomes hundreds of pages long! So in the interests of space (and vacation time!), there was BANANA BREAD, gingerbread loaves, WAFFLES, sesame seed wafer sticks, quiche, cheese & raisin biscuits, strawberry mousse, MANGO and COCONUT pudding, SMOKED SALMON and CREAM CHEESE sandwiches, ham sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, CURRY SANDWICHES (I know, right?), shortbread, and more. Wow, that was a "mouthful"! Punny again. No really, I should stop.

The food was excellent though. The baked confectioneries were all perfectly done: moist, flavourful, and delicate. The waffles - one of my personal favourites - were fluffy and delicious; everything was just packed full of flavour that had you wanting more! Little touches like freshly baked mini buns on the tuna sandwiches and tiny diced condiments on the sandwiches rounded out the experience; that, my friends, is attention to detail! Even the triple layer curry sauce sandwich (some chef's lucky brainchild) which had me hesitating at the start turned out to be a stellar choice. For the price (~$25 CND/person), the service (friendly, but at a distance, as is the norm in Hong Kong), the atmosphere (classy and a great view of the bay!), and the food (at least 15 different varieties!), The Verandah offers a fantastic bang for your buck.

My biggest qualm was that each item was so tantalizingly small that I never thought that I had eaten enough of anything! Sneaky sneaky! Now I have to come back for more! This place definitely hit the spot, high recommendations. Keep it coming.


  1. funny asian picture. Stereotypical, but funny!

  2. i didnt know before this post what high tea was either. how was the TEA!!?

  3. It was great! haha I don't know as much about teas though so I didn't want to comment too much ;) novice I am

  4. hi! how much is the high tea set? thanks!

  5. It's been a while but I think it was around $170+ HKD per person depending on what you wanted to eat (or drink) and share per person.