Calm. A word used more than once to describe Pan Pacific’s Orchid Lounge.
Like the rest of the hotel, the decor is muted and peaceful, while accessorised with subtle floral accents – a nod to the hotel’s Singaporean roots.
This relaxing space, on the ground floor of the City of London’s brand-new luxury hotel Pan Pacific, is where we indulged in a Kopi Tiam Afternoon Tea.
Perched in our little quiet haven watching the world go by outside, we were greeted by our cheerful waiter offering their preferences. After a quick perusal, we decided on the English Sparkling Wine Kopi Tiam Afternoon Tea and, as quickly as we had chosen, we were being poured a glass of 2017 Gusbourne Rose.
Created by award-winning Executive Pastry Chef, Cherish Finden, the Afternoon Tea has been curated with a Singaporean twist, which you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
Blending tea especially for the occasion, Cherish has also fused her Asian heritage with the quintessentially British classic.
Unlike most afternoon teas, we started with steamed bao buns filled with mushrooms, colourful dim sum that were almost too pretty to eat and dainty spiced pork pastries called Char Siu Sou.
Washing it down with a large sip of sparkling pink wine, we were treated to a couple of palate cleansers in the form of Chef Cherish’s childhood favourites. We had an umami seaweed sesame shortbread with soy sauce caramel which, surprisingly, was slightly sweet, and a very tart dark chocolate ganache with lime mochi.
Next, we chose tea to accompany the dessert. This, however, wasn’t just any tea. This was a tea especially created by Cherish and the Rare Tea Company for the hotel. If that’s not your vibe, don’t worry, there are plenty of other exquisite hot beverages available. The Orchid Lounge Bespoke Blend partnered with the sweet part of our afternoon tea perfectly. Time and effort went into creating the delicate and floral tea.
A fragrant blend of tea leaves from the Himalayas, combined with leaves from the Shire Highlands of Malawi, finished with a hint of rose. The main event was certainly worth the wait. Carefully placed in front of us were two plates with four expertly created miniature patisseries. The colourful array of desserts looked more like a work of art than a sweet treat. A heavenly way to fast-track your way to the dentist?
Our waiter advised us to go anti-clockwise around the plate and start with the lychee choux, and to make sure we took a swig of the tea after. And it didn’t disappoint. The fresh and acidic flavours worked in harmony – a great way to begin the final course. The rest of the course comprised coconut mango, matcha shortbreads and rich chocolate pralines. It was a delight.
Pastry Chef and genius behind the menu, Cherish, who recently appeared as a judge on Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals, floated around the lounge as our afternoon tea came to an end and spoke quietly, yet passionately to every table. Answering questions and explaining the inspiration behind each plate was a lovely, friendly touch, making us feel extra special.
80 Houndsditch EC3A 7AB, panpacific.com