Wednesday 12 June 2013

Sodashi Afternoon Tea @ MO Bar, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

When MO Bar started to offer branded tea sets a few years ago, I thought the whole idea was sheer gimmick. The accompanying gift aside, the tea set actually had little to do with the collaborating brand (which was why food in 2 different tea sets could be quite similar - see Chloe Inspired Afternoon Tea and Marc Jacobs Splash Afternoon Tea on my old Xanga blog). My impression however changed following MO Bar's recent production of branded tea sets that were completely unique and true to the spirit of their partnering brands, as exemplified by their wildly popular Jimmy Choo Afternoon Tea. Their culinary team's creativity and skills are formidable. I am now officially a convert who's constantly looking forward to MO Bar's new creations! ;)

MO Bar has just launched another branded afternoon tea with Sodashi, an Australian label that specializes in chemical-free skincare products. To ensure that the tea set will be just as wholesome as Sodashi's products, only natural ingredients are used in its preparation. Hmm, sounds like the perfect kind of detox programme for me! :P

When Hellish and I visited MO Bar last Sunday, we were excited to see that they had stupendously enhanced their weekend dessert buffet (included in the price of afternoon tea set), both in terms of quantity and quality. :9 It was actually hard to decide whether the buffet or the tea set was the main course because both were equally fabulous!

Scream, ladies: there were EIGHT different macaron flavours, including raspberry, chocolate, lemon, Earl Grey, pistachio... the macarons had shells that were marginally thicker than ideal (which always means the macarons by Pierre Hermé :P), but that didn't make them any less tasty. I liked every single flavour! If I have to name a favourite, it would be Earl Grey (orange one in this pic) - such elegant bergamot fragrance! ;) The crème caramel in mini jar was soft like a baby's cheek and very likeable too. 

Ice cream was perhaps the only thing that could rival macarons' unshakable popularity. There were creamy chestnut ice cream, zesty clementine sorbet, and refreshing pear sorbet, all tasted totally natural and fresh (there were even tiny bits of pear in the pear sorbet!). Just a spoonful of each is enough to fly you to cloud nine! ;) 

My other favourites: green tea panna cotta and strawberry trifle + cream puff

More sugary food before our healthy tea experience: apple and basil cocktail, raspberry eclairs, and cakes! There were so much food that we had only sampled half of the dessert buffet when our tea set arrived - 

Savouries (from left): heirloom tomato skewer with artichoke mousse and green olives (remineralization); pita wrapper with green bean, tandoori yogurt, cheese and peppermint (improve digestion); ginger macaroon with goat cheese cream (detox); Tasmanian salmon sour dough with lavender mayonnaise (relaxation); multigrain bread with lemongrass chicken and Thai basil salad (detox)

Sweets (from left): ginger and lemongrass mocktail with green apple (detox); organic chocolate, banana cupcake with virgin olive oil (increase alertness - improve mood); lavender panna cotta with rhubarb compote (relaxation); almond biscuit, strawberry mousse with rose petal (boost skin radiance, calming, hydrating); coated chocolate ganache biscuit with peppermint marshmallow (improve digestion)

Raisin and plain scones with clotted cream and preserves

Looking at the beautifully crafted tea set that was just as healthy as promised, I knew a nourishing spa journey for my stomach was ahead! There's no calorific chocolate cake, artificially coloured macaron, fatty meat, or anything that was half as evil. What showed up on our plates were mostly veggie- or fruit-based nibbles, each carrying a certain health benefit as denoted above. 

The use of fragrant herbs such as lemongrass and mint gave the food a Southeast Asian touch. Once again I was more impressed by the savouries than sweets. The tiny heirloom tomatoes on skewer bore a huge surprise. They were so much juicier and sweeter than those uniformly red tomatoes sold in supermarkets. There was an explosion of flavour once I bit into their bubble-thin skin! Another top pick, pita wrapper, was a little boat loaded with delicious treasures such as cheese, yogurt, and greens. There surely were lots of piquant flavours but they were skillfully harmonized. Our savoury spa was concluded with succulent, glitteringly fresh Tasmanian salmon, leaving us feeling pampered and satisfied. :) 

We rinsed our palate with a small glass of revitalizing ginger mocktail and moved on to the sweet section of our gastronomic journey. We had the bland slightly-too-healthy cupcake and fragrant lavender panna cotta that reminded me of Jurlique handcream, before our notable encounter with strawberry and rose mousse. There was only a tiny rose petal but I swore that the mousse tasted like a whole rose. I reckoned that everybody wanted to kiss me after I had savoured it, because my breath, seriously, smelled of rose! :P

The scones were buttery as always. We had to take some of them home because we didn't want to stuff ourselves with too much food at a time. I was glad that I had ordered peppermint tea, which soothed my stomach and rounded off its detox treatment nicely. 

There's a gift pack containing sample size body lotion and body polish by Sodashi for each guest to take home. The best part? Hellish obviously had no interest in  the gift so his became mine too, wahaha... :P 

Ambience: A- (I think I am getting to like the place more and more... :P)

Service: A

Food: A

Overall remarks: I am not too sure if you will have better digestion or more radiant skin after having the all-natural tea set, but I can assure you that the good food and nice gift set will boost your mood effectively. ;) Do visit MO Bar for tea on weekends as you won't want to miss their wonderful dessert buffet spread!

MO Bar (website)
Lobby, 15 Queen's Road Central, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong
* Sodashi Afternoon Tea: 3:00pm-5:30pm (Mon-Fri) and 2:30pm-6:00pm (Sat-Sun), available from now to 30 June 2013 
$260 per person (Mon - Fri), $280 per person (Sat - Sun)

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