Special Edition: Rupert Rowley’s Afternoon Tea

Located at: Lounge & Bar (LAB) @ Hilton Colombo, 2 Sir Chittampalam A Gardiner Mawatha, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka

Visited on: 24 Jan, 2018

This is actually more of a “Late” Edition than a Special Edition, for it is from about a month ago. However, in hindsight, I felt like it is noteworthy of mention – for the record, as well as (as I mentioned in the first article of this series) “to give you a heads-up to keep an eye (and ear) out for similar such events in the future.

The Taste of Britain Curry Festival was held at Hilton Colombo from 24-28 January, 2018 with a team of chefs and food specialists, headed by Michelin Star Chef Rupert Rowley, visiting from Britain. There were several programs – lunches, teas, dinners and demos – scheduled during the five-day festival. What we tried out was afternoon tea on the opening day, prepared by Rupert Rowley himself. Incidentally, as explained by the Chef, we happened to be the first guests to try the spread, which was served for two. Since the menu was extensive, I shall attach an image of the card here rather than list out all the items. The array included a selection of ‘Sandwiches’, ‘Savoury Treats’ and sweet treats ‘On the Stand’.

The menu…
…and what it stood for

We started off with the sandwiches. I’d say my favourite was the Cheese and Chutney, for its interesting combination of creaminess and spicy sweetness. This was closely followed by the Smoked Salmon Horseradish, whose contents managed to uplift what might easily have been a sober brown-bread experience. And I mean this in a good way, for I rarely fancy brown-bread by itself unless toasted. Next, of course, we went for the savouries. As much as I don’t usually opt for lamb, the Lamb and Mushroom Pie tasted wonderful. With a pastry that was just right in thickness, the curry flavour of the filling transcended the usual taste of lamb pie to a level that I enjoyed very much and finished up completely. However, I believe it’s the Panko Crumbed Fried Prawn that was my top pick from this platter for its beautiful subtle crispness and equally subtle savoury flavour. It was perfect, and well-complemented by the accompanying dip.

Savoury Treats

On to the sweet selection and I enjoyed the Bakewell Tart very much. But the top spot for me was a tie between the Fruit Scones with Jam and Chantilly Cream, and the Chocolate Tart. Yes, scones are such a simple thing. But sometimes simple can be wonderful, and although by themselves the scones, jam and cream might have seemed somewhat ordinary, there was something very warm and comforting about them when combined. Which was quite wonderful. The chocolate tart was, on the other hand, a bold delight. Rich with a thick ganache atop a chocolate disc and a lighter base, it was delicious. Yes, it was all chocolate, but somehow it managed not to scream of it. It had a lovely balance in both texture and taste and was very satisfying – without overdoing it – to this chocolate lover.

On the Stand – tarts and muffins
On the stand – scones, jam and Chantilly cream

Needless to say, the whole affair was rather filling, and I was glad at not having been able to grab more than a slice of pizza for lunch that afternoon. It was also rather nice to have had a chat with the chef who created this menu himself, as he came out to have a chat with us – the first to try the menu – and oblige for photographs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an opportunity to try out the other events at the festival, but I do hope to enjoy more such events in the future.


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