Festive Afternoon Tea at Shangri-La Colombo

Price                   : LKR 4,900++ (per person)

Availability         : Christmas season 2022

Shangri-La Colombo’s social media pages have been alit with their seasonal specials which include an eye-catching Festive Afternoon Tea ‘platter’, tastefully laid out on a customised trunk box with extendable compartments. We were keen to give it a shot.

As per the menu provided, we were to find the following items on the box:

Savouries

. Truffled chicken pâté on butter brioche and fig chutney

. Ham and cheese croissant

. Cheese terrine profiterole with apricot chutney

. Smoked chicken roulade with cranberry

. Wild mushroom vol au vent with Hollandaise

. Bear battered fish in lemon cream

Scones

. Raisin scones with lemon curd and jam

Sweets

. Snowman chestnut macarons

. Mini chocolate yule log

. Traditional mince pie

. Mulled wine trifle short

. Gingerbread man cookie

The last two sweets were absent, and in their place was a Christmas tree number – an inverted mini-ice cream cone filled with cream and covered in hardened frosting. I noticed later on that the images on their social media, too, have the four sweets that we received, despite the printed menu indicating five items. There was, however, no mention of this reduction and replacement when we were presented with the platters.

There was one item that stood out among the savouries, and that was the mushroom vol au vent. It was satisfyingly delicious. But the rest of the items fell short of the standard that we are used to receiving from Sapphyr Lounge. While the ham and cheese filling of the croissant was good, the croissant itself was soft and lacked the crisp flakiness that one would expect of a croissant. The butter brioche was rather tiny and, quite frankly, had too little pâté for us to enjoy the taste of it. The brioche itself was also a bit dry. The topping of the cheese terrine (half) profiterole, which was also quite small, was alright, but the chicken roulade could have used more seasoning and definitely relied heavily on the pickle-y cranberry to elevate it. The skewered fish was a bit plain but okay and was also helped along by the mustard-like lemon cream that had been drizzled on it. As a whole, the savoury part of the festive platter did not feel substantial enough, and left us wanting more. It was a far cry from the more wholesome and flavourful savouries that we are used to enjoying with Sapphyr Lounge’s standard high tea platters.

The raisin scones were pretty good – a nice texture that was just right and not too sweet – although we seem to have been served one less scone (five pieces for three people rather than the six that it should have been). I quite liked the lemon curd which was silky and neither too sweet, nor too tart. But the jam, which was actually somewhat runny, was not as good as what I recall it to have been in the past.

Moving on to the sweeter stuff, the mince pie was a decent balance of sweet and tart while the cute and sizeable macaron tasted as good as it looked with a nice bite on the shells and a soft, creamy core. The Christmas tree cone wasn’t too bad either – and looked pretty good. But the mini yule log definitely trumped everything else. It was absolutely divine in terms of both taste as well as texture. Light but luscious with a soft sponge roll and a beautiful blend of chocolate and cream. A good finish to what was otherwise a mediocre high tea experience.

It was interesting to learn that Shangri-La no longer offers bottomless tea (limited to one serving) with their high tea platter – it is, after all, afternoon tea. Other beverage options included hot/iced coffee, latte or cappuccino.

Overall, Shangri-La’s Festive Afternoon Tea did not impress as expected, more so considering the price involved. Here’s hoping that it goes back to being a more impressive affair in the new year!

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