Sunday, 25 August 2013

Afternoon Tea @ St Betty + macarons @ Pierre Hermé Paris-Hong Kong


My old pal Alice, a macaron lover, e-mailed me in April and asked where she could get decent maracons after reading my post about macaron afternoon tea in Macau. I am no macaron expert, but it doesn't take one to answer her question. All I needed to tell her was that Pierre Hermé would be opening his first store in HK in a month! If the macarons by The Picasso of Pastry fail to satisfy her, nothing will. ;P




When PH finally opened its door in IFC, we decided to get some macarons there and then catch up with each other over tea at St Betty. Technically speaking it's my first visit to St Betty, as it's called "Betty's Kitschen" and helmed by a different chef when I last visited it with Evil Girls. 

  


The brainchild of renowned restauranteur Alan Yau, St Betty is a casual European restaurant that is just as chic as its reputed elder siblings Yauatcha and Hakkasan. We found the earth-toned restaurant with full-length windows welcoming and bright. The cheerful waiting staff contributed to the vibrant ambience too. While service could have been slightly more attentive (e.g. the waiters should regularly refill our teapots with water, instead of doing so only when asked), I didn't feel like complaining because the waiters were all quite cute, wahahaha...  :P 




There's one thing that we really couldn't tand - the tablecloth!! When Alice and I were taking pictures of our teas and food, the knife-edge creases of the tablecloth seemed too atrocious to ignore. :( This was the tea that I ordered, BOP seasonal Dimbula from Sri Lanka. It was weaker than I thought and not too special. 




In this picture: CREASE and our tea set!




Top tier: patisserie selection




Middle tier: warm scones, homemade jam & clotted cream




Bottom tier (clockwise from top): crushed avocado, roasted red pepper & chilli jam sandwich; home smoked salmon, pickled cucumber & horseradish sandwich (but the cucumber could only be found on the beef sandwich...?); cheese puff; roast beef, charred red onion & mustard mayonnaise sandwich; tomato salsa, pesto & shaved Parmesan sandwich




Everything in the tea set appeared to be one size smaller than average. There's only 1 glass of yogurt mousse and 1 sandwich of each kind. Under normal circumstances I would start whining like a desperate housewife... not when I knew I would be having PH macarons afterwards though! :9

Reviews on St Betty's tea set are mixed; some people like it, others consider it only average. Alice and I found ourselves in the former group - we thought it's pretty decent. :) The pomegranate-accented creamy mousse on spoon, as well as the bubbly yogurt mousse topped with layers of fruits, suggested that the tea set was designed with style in mind. The 2 different kinds of mousse was solidly good, too, with tartness, sweetness and creaminess all in unison. 

As the rest of the tea set appeared to be quite typical, we did not expect any surprise ahead. That's why we were both wowed by the unassuming but punch-packed canelé. It embodied 3 different textures: the caramelized outermost layer was crispy, body of the crust chewy, and the centre tender. Just like Kinder Surprise, it satisfied 3 wishes at a time! ;) St Betty's scones proved to be different from their prototypical buttery counterparts as well. They were soft and airy, somewhat like English muffin. They seemed so light and innocent that even eating them with slathers of clotted cream sounded like a healthy thing to do! :9

The sandwiches were nice; my favourites were foreseeably salmon (salmon always tops my list of favourites if it's done right - who can say no to peachy slices of fatty goodness?) and piquant tomato salsa. I also liked the cheese puffs, which actually did not have much taste, because they were like a calming oasis for my sugar-overdosed taste buds. :)


THE VERDICT 
Ambience: B++

Service: B+

Food: B+

Overall remarks: If you have got bored of having tea in hotel restaurants, St Betty will be a good choice for a change. The portion is just right for fat-phobic Kong Girls, but do not go empty-stomach if you have normal appetite. :P 




After tea time, it was DESSERT TIME! :D 




Was disappointed that the IFC branch was only selling macaron box sets back then, so we could not pick and mix our favourite flavours. Worse still, none of the sets contained my favourite Ispahan macaron! :( How could they open a branch without even stocking up with their signature flavour!? 

All the grumbles, however, were forgotten as soon as we opened the beautiful box of poetry. The neatly arranged macarons were so colourful, their flavours so playful and creative (e.g. olive oil and vanilla flavour :9)! Ever since my first encounter with PH macarons in Paris, they have become the golden standard of macarons in my heart. So how did PH macarons in HK compare with those in Paris? The jewel-toned pastries were as luscious as I had remembered, but the shells were slightly less crunchy. Perhaps I was inevitably biased after learning that the macarons were flown in from Paris rather than freshly made? Or was my memory of Parisian PH macarons overly rosy? At any rate, as sure as eggs is eggs, PH have the BEST macarons in HK. Yes, their macarons are better than those by Kong Girls' favourite Ladurée, but... *shh* don't tell others about this ok? Let the queue stay at Ladurée so we can continue to enjoy stress-free macaron shopping at PH, hehe... ;)


INFO
St Betty (website)
Shop 2075, Podium Level Two, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Afternoon tea: 3:00pm - 6:00pm daily
$398 per 2 persons

Pierre Hermé Paris-Hong Kong (website)
Shop 1019C, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Opening hours: 10:00am - 9:00pm


3 comments:

  1. Hi Devlish,

    I am a 46 year old bloke from Australia and also a true afternoon tea aficionado. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and discerning blog. Yesterday I wanted to take tea in Hong Kong with my Mum and had no idea where to go. You are all so spoilt for choice here! Having been to the clipper lounge, and Peninsula lobby on previous occasions I wanted to go somewhere new and was thinking about Hullet's hotel. Then I read your blog and scathing reviews so decided against it. Then looking around the various websites I could see they had not changed their menu in years and that the items look massed produced (and probably shipped in from mainland China) We ended up at the intercontinental. With its floor to ceiling windows and its beautiful tea set it was FAAAABBBBBULOUSSSSS. Highlights included the passionfruit eclair and raspberry cheesecake and my only criticism was there was not enough clotted cream and jam to go with the scones. I look forward to reading your review of their service in the future.

    Anyway thanks again for such a wonderful website. If you ever come to Melbourne be sure to try the Hopetoun tea rooms in the Block Arcade (for the amazing architecture and old world feel) and the Langham does and excellent chocolate buffet on weekends.

    Keep up the good work ... It's a chore I know, but somebody has to do it ;-). So many afternoon teas, so little time

    Rick

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rick! Thanks for the very kind comment and really sorry about the super late reply. Have been extremely busy lately because I have a lot to do at work before my vacation next week!

      I am happy that my blog has saved you from being disappointed by Hullet House's tea set! ;) Yeah Intercontinental is a great choice, I love the view there and of course also the food! You remind me that I should visit it in the coming months - they change their menu seasonally, which is something I really like. If you want afternoon tea ideas in HK later, let me know and perhaps I can share with you some of my latest favourites! And if you like hotel restaurants, I think The Lounge & Bar in Ritz-Carlton is a great choice ;)

      I was in Melbourne 2 years ago for work, but I was working every day so I have no time for tea (I only have time to buy oysters from Queen Victoria Market for breakfast, haha...)! Too bad... Melbourne is a lovely place and I would like to visit it some days later. I will definitely remember your recommendations! Oh btw, I love T2 tea shops in Australia! :)

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  2. If you like drinking tea, or if you are interested of collecting. Maybe our Yixing

    Teapots
    will meet you demand. We have hundre styles of for your choice. The design, price are perfect! Worth you owning!

    ReplyDelete