A French Afternoon Tea Fit for Gustave Eiffel
Afternoon tea is a very civilized ritual which has been almost forgotten in our busy world. Fortunately, the Grand Hyatt hotel in Roppongi has resurrected this elegant tradition. Now through February 29, 2016, The French Kitchen plays host to a generous afternoon tea service in collaboration with Janat Tea from Paris. Thursdays through Sundays and on national holidays, the restaurant opens its doors (and its gorgeous terrace) as a tearoom from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
On offer is a mouthwatering set of savouries, cakes and scones. Mini leek and mushroom quiches, ham croissants, chicken tortilla wraps and salmon rillettes are perfectly bite sized and very tasty. The cake plate is prepared by the onsite and award-winning pastry chefs, and it shows. A Gustave Eiffel cheesecake, a gem-like pistachio macaroon, a slice of the seemingly perfectly constructed chocolate Opera cake, and a daily selection from the hotel’s cake shop decorate the serving platter. It is almost too beautiful to eat. But one must.
The Gustave Eiffel cheesecake is named for the famous architect behind the construction of the tower that bears his name (the cake was even served at the tower’s opening ceremony). But Monsieur Eiffel had good taste in more things than just architecture. He also gave his support to the founder of the French tea company Janat, Monsieur Janat Dores. The idea that these two Frenchmen came up with was to not only transport tea leaves in solid oak barrels, but to also use these barrels to age the tea leaves. This maturing process gives the tea a light smokey flavor which is very pleasant.
If it is not to your taste, there are other Janat tea types on offer. On the day we visited we were offered peach or pear tea as alternatives. I was very happy with my choice of the barrel aged tea, which when drunk black and poured straight from the pot, was both light and refreshing. Drinking tea in this manner and enjoying the lovely platters of goodies, a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, has a positive and relaxing effect on the participants.
But there is more! A final plate is served to the table. Cradling traditional scones with blueberry jam and clotted cream for the traditionalists, it also held some surprisingly good chocolate chip scones as well. A delightful way to end a delightful afternoon tea.
When: Now through Feb. 29, 2016, Thu–Sun and national holidays, 3–5:30 p.m.
Where: The French Kitchen, 2F Grand Hyatt Tokyo, 6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
How much: ¥3,000 per person