Sakura Spring Afternoon Tea
Words: Monica Tindall
Photos: Rich Callahan
In collaboration with Shiseido Ginza Tokyo, Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur is running a Sakura Spring Afternoon Tea at their restaurant Altitude. Executive pastry chef Fodil Baghal and chef de cuisine of Ebisu, Ricky Kamiishi, have collaborated to curate “a union of Japanese bento and cherry blossom inspired desserts.” Competing with the stunning views from the 53rd floor, Altitude blooms to life with towers of pink cherry blossoms marking every table.
Sakura Spring Afternoon Tea, Banyan Tree KL
The contemporary, elegant setting deserves smart attire, so do come well-groomed to match the ambience. Afternoon tea is particularly popular on weekends, so booking in advance or visiting Monday through Thursday is also recommended.
The Sakura Spring Afternoon Tea comes as a three-tiered tower of sweets and a bento box of savouries. Tea and coffee are included in the price, and you can add on a cherry blossom-themed cocktail for further refreshment.
As mentioned, the savouries are presented in a bento box. An array of nine mini squares holds small Japanese bites. There’s baby octopus tempura, steamed egg custard with mushroom, and a croquette sandwich in one row. The chawanmushi is only lightly set and rich with umami flavour. In another row, fried wild yam with miso paste, crab mayonnaise maki roll and a shrimp and a chicken ball keep with the theme. Lastly, there are simmered bamboo shoot, a chicken-ham and egg sandwich, and sushi rice wrapped in fried tofu. The slice of sushi is my favourite, closely followed by the clean and slightly tart bamboo.
The sweets are eye-catching in various shades of pink. It’s immediately apparent that much care has been given to every detail. Each pastry has been handcrafted, ensuring presentation matches the flavour.
Macarons are hand-painted with a trio of flowers on every single one. They have a gentle taste of marzipan with their almond shell, which is nicely balanced with sakura raspberry cream. The charlottes, which are already multilayered with ladyfingers, vanilla mousse, and fresh mixed berries, have miniature red ribbons hand-tied around the cylinder. Chef Fodil shares that his staff begin putting on the final touches at eight in the morning and only finish just before service at three in the afternoon. Do take a moment to appreciate the intricacies before destruction.
Cake pops are often found on afternoon tea sets at Banyan Tree. Today’s sticks, Push-it Ups, are rich with sakura pastry cream and sponge cake coated in white chocolate. Cute, perfect little mouthfuls, the Itchigo Tarts are filled with fresh strawberry, sakura cream and sakura jelly. Blossom Bites again demonstrate meticulous care in their cube structure of sour cherry jelly, cherry mousse and green tea sponge, wedged between sakura powder-chocolate walls. Lastly, Shiseido Madeleines, streamlined and plump, see an olive oil cake sleekly covered with pink sakura chocolate.
In petite glass bowls on the side, find Itchigo Verine. Itchigo means strawberry in Japanese, and here the fruit is found both in as jelly and fresh sliced on top. Ladyfingers are dipped in chocolate and softened with a coat of Valhrona chocolate mousse, mascarpone cream and mixed with chocolate brownie.
Finishing off the set, Plain and Matcha Scones ensure tummies are full with their dense texture. They’re served with clotted cream and house-made mix-berry jam. All jams here have about 50% less sugar than regular conserves. It means the natural quality of the fruit can be appreciated rather than sugar alone.
Drinks – Coffee, Tea or A Cocktail
The set comes with your choice of Harney & Sons Tea or Illy Café coffee. You can also top up with a cherry blossom-themed cocktail if you so choose. The Junmai Daiginjo Martinez features sake of the same name shaken over ice with Bols Cherry Brandy, Cinzano Rosso and three drops of Orleans bitters. It’s fruity with subtle floral undertones and is a pretty deep rose in the glass.
SHISEIDO’s White Lucent Illuminating Micro-spot Serum
As a small gift, SHISEIDO’s White Lucent Illuminating Micro-spot Serum is given with every set. It’s said to create a “smoother, brighter, more even-toned complexion” and “visibly improve dullness and dark spots.” A RM50 SHISEIDO voucher is also included.
Sakura Spring Afternoon Tea – The Details
The Sakura Spring Afternoon Tea is priced at RM 148 per person and includes food and coffee or tea. Add on RM 40 to enjoy a cherry blossom-inspired cocktail. The tea runs from March 27th until April 30th, 2021, from 3 pm until 5 pm. Each guest may redeem a complimentary Sakura Bright Kit (worth RM 65) and a RM 50 Shiseido voucher with the set’s purchase.
Sakura Spring Afternoon Tea at Altitude
Level 53, Banyan Tree Hotel, 2 Jalan Conlay
50450, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+603 2113 1888