Santa Claus comes to Tea in Beijing!

My Festive challenge : Find 3 fantastic Christmas Inspired Afternoon Tea’s in Asia. December festivities have taken me to the Great Wall of China, the city that never sleeps – Hong Kong and Singapore for a Singapore Slinging Christmas.  Starting the advent month with an exhilarating trip to Beijing with temperatures of -4C, a cosy and warm Festive Afternoon Tea @ China World Hotel Lobby Lounge felt Christmas fitting! Reviews by City Weekend rated China World Hotel as the leader for Afternoon Tea in Beijing. With limited time in Beijing I took on their ranking and paid a visit to the busy China World Trade Centre. The hotel was decked out in full Christmas cheer and had me excited with anticipation of what an afternoon tea service would be like in China.

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The Christmas Afternoon Tea set is priced at RMB328 +15% service charge and includes two teas, coffees or hot chocolate. Tea selection is broken down into three categories with multiple options available in each selection: Classic Tea Selection (English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Assam and Sencha), Chinese Tea Selection (Jasmine, Pu’er, Chrysanthemum) and Herbal Tea Selection (Peppermint and Chamomile). For an added indulgent there is also a Champagne Afternoon Tea option available which I took along with my option for a hot chocolate.

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The table setting was quite vintage with white lacy dollies and striped armchairs. The hot chocolate was divine and rich, I had two cups! The Perrier Jouet Brut was accompanied with the most moorish sweet popcorn, I just couldn’t stop!

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The Tea Stand was presented in true festive glitter…it just brought the biggest ‘big kid’ smile to my face…I knew this was going to be a tasty tea!

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Chinese snacks were next in line for demolishment. The BBQ Pork Pao was decent not like the delicious ones you get in Hong Kong or Singapore but still fun to have at tea time. IMG_0041

The scones were good and the variation of a chocolate scone was interesting but the real highlight was the  Clotted cream, one of the best Tea condiments I have tried in Asia. The egg custard tartlet was also a great alternative option but lacked a little on taste.

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The finger sandwiches were a good palate cleanser to make way for more sweet pastries, of which the Cinnamon Stars were a favourite.

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The China World Hotel is one of the few afternoon tea events in Beijing that requires a reservation to ensure a seat at their fantastic Tea.

Top Tip: I would highly recommend doing a bit research before heading to Beijing, the Internet and language can be a bit of an obstacle if you are not mandarin speakers. City Weekend was a helpful guide for dining and restaurant reviews.

Meatless Monday @ Muriel’s Kitchen

My Meatless Monday’s usually involve an attempt at some healthy home-cooking but when in London I use Monday’s to eat my vegetables in the form of sticky desserts! One dessert in particular –  Muriel’s Kitchen’s Famous Carrot & Walnut Cake. Muriel’s Kitchen is an English “no-nonsense” inspired cafe meets restaurant serving healthy plates with locally sourced British ingredients at a reasonable price. The Chef’s change up the menus monthly at their 3 Kitchens (South Kensington, Soho & Leicester Square).  As you walk by their pretty window displays lined up with delectable cakes, salads and savouries you know you have to stop and enter to try some of their mouth-watering “healthy” treats.

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Having dropped into the South Kensington Kitchen several times in the past I took an opportunity when in Soho to give Muriel a visit. The Soho Kitchen is a wonderful large space with a gorgeous shabby chic interior; mosaic tiles, old leather sofas, velvet stools, bird-cage lamps and fun swinging garden chairs.

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We took a cosy seat at the back of the restaurant against the bric-a-brac adorned shed area – see if you can spot me!

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Now for the menu, breakfast is popular as is the all day dining menu which enables you to graze on some sharing plates and those yummy house bakes! We kicked off with an aperitif of British Bubbles and Rose Lemonade….they went down a treat!

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After deciding on our dessert choice we adjourned back to our selection of savoury plates, Gooey Baked Camembert served with Dipping Crostini’s & Cranberry & Cashew Crunch, Butternut Squash, Feta & Spinach Quiche and Super Greens Salad. When I next pop in I will definitely indulge in the Baked Camembert again!

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Now for the Piece de Resistance – The Famous Carrot and Walnut cake! If you are a Carrot Cake Fan then you should try this and stack it up against your favourites. I found it to be light and fluffy as well indulgent and nutty –  I would eat it on most Meatless Mondays should my waistline prohibit! As this was a special Monday I also indulged in their very generously sized Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding with Custard.

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If I was poping into Muriel’s Kitchen tomorrow I would want to try their Chocolate & Guiness Mini Pint Cake and their Passion Fruit Cake Stack. The Dulche de Leche Brownie and Red Velvet Cupcake sound like the perfect Take-Away too! My advice – go with a large group and  try as much as you can from their dessert menu, its large and catered for all sweet tooth palates!

When in Doubt Eat Cake!

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