What comes to your mind when you hear "Afternoon Tea Buffet"?
An "Afternoon Tea Buffet", in my imagination, was finding myself comfortably inside an elegant sitting room. Pots of tea are brought in by men in tuxedos, and I pick the tea that I would like to savor. A courteous gentleman then pours my tea of choice on a dainty white cup and carefully places the cup on a saucer . Soon he leaves and another group of gentleman comes in with a tray full of pastries, scones, and savories. I choose the most delectable cake and delicious bread, and these are served on a plate made of fine china, for my sole enjoyment.
I guess watching movies about old royalty got the best of me as things happened differently at the InterContinental Manila's Afternoon Tea Buffet promo. I stumbled upon this Afternoon Tea Buffet promo offered at the Gambrinus Bar after asking about Cafe Jeepney, another restaurant in the InterCon, which was temporarily closed for some refurbishing. Wondering what I could get for a PhP350++ afternoon buffet at Gambrinus, I decided to give it a try.
I chose a table near the bar when I got to Gambrinus, as I was curious to see if the selection of tea and pastries were at the bar. It wasn't. An amiable server, who wasn't wearing a tuxedo, came to my table and handed me a menu. The menu listed a variety of tea blends from different countries, as well as savories and sweets offered in the buffet. Since I was not familiar with the choices offered, the server led me to the "buffet area", a small table with covered trays of cakes, finger sandwiches, and savories. The table also had canisters of dry tea leaves, and the dutiful server explained that I essentially have to pick one variety of tea and three snacks. I was told that whatever I selected will be served on my table.
I chose the tea variety from China, (can' recall if it was Jasmine), a small empanada, a piece of chocolate cake, and a fruitcake. After a few minutes, one of the Gambrinus staff arranged my table then placed the plate of snacks. He told me the tea will be served shortly. As promised, the pot of tea soon arrived. A tea strainer, milk, sugar, and sweetener were also provided. The server told me to wait for 2 minutes before I pour myself a cup. Here's a peek of what I had:
Two minutes later, I placed the tea strainer on my cup, then lifted the teapot. I struggled to pour tea in my cup since the pot was very hot. Fortunately, one of the servers assisted me. (Two thumbs up for the service!) I then added some milk and sugar and began to enjoy the afternoon treat. The hot tea smelled fragrant and had a light color; and the cakes were not too sweet. The only disappointment was the empanada, which was a bit dry and would have probably tasted better if it was heated. Anyway, I was able to enjoy about 4 good cups of tea before the leaves stewed. I washed off the bitter taste of my fifth cup of tea with a glass of water which was already on the table even before I requested it.
Will I recommend InterContinental Manila's "Afternoon Tea Buffet" ? Although the pastry choices were limited, I think ladies with money to spare and are looking for a unique meal experience should give it a try. Just imagine you are the Duchess of Bedford (originator of the British afternoon tea party) savoring tea and gossiping with your royal friends. Gentlemen, especially those accustomed to heavy afternoon snacks, may skip it and head to Sol y Sombra instead, also at the InterCon, for the restaurant's brick-oven baked pizza promo. I think the pizza promo costs much higher though. Both promos are available until January 31.