If there is such a thing as the best city on earth, it’s probably Hamburg. But what about their afternoon tea? Or high tea as the Germans mistakenly call it… Let’s start by reviewing the High tea at the Kempinski Hotel Atlantic, once of Hamburg’s most iconic establishments.
The Hotel Atlantic Setting ★★★★★
My favourite James Bond movie is “Tomorrow never dies”, and yes it happens to be the hotel in which this particular movie was filmed. Needless to say I was looking forward to seeing the hotel with my own eyes and I was not disappointed. Located on the Alster (the lake in the middle of Hamburg), it offers a stunning view of the city and a convenient access to the centre of Hamburg (HH).
The setting is probably the best aspect of this high tea, the hotel atlantic lobby is beautifully decorated and weather permitting (which in Hamburg is random to say the least), it is possible to sit on the terrace and enjoy the relaxing flow of the fountain.
The Tea & Beverages ★★★★★
There is a rather generous loose leaf tea selection (Assam, Earl Grey, Bio English Breakfast…) as well as the usual fruity infusions. I highly recommend the “White Fu” tea, one of the best white teas I’ve had, both fruity and refreshing.
The tea comes in nice small pot along with an hourglass and a recipient to place the leaves container on, to stop the infusion once the desired brew has been reached. That extra attention to detail earns the tea selection its full mark, as too many places do not provide either of these simple yet essential tools.
Last but not least, the High tea comes with a glass of “Alfred Gratien” Champagne, which I found to be quite tasty even though I’m a profane for anything that is alcohol related.
The Savouries ★★★☆☆
The sandwiches were tasty but also very ordinary : Pork, Salmon and Cucumber. The Pork and Salmon sandwiches were good but the Cucumber sandwich was very plain, it lacked that little extra that can add some flavour to an otherwise neutral taste.
The Scones ★★★★☆
Three different scones: Plain, Fruit and Nuts. All three were delicious and the triple variety is unusual enough to be noted. Comes with strawberry jam, marmalade and clotted cream for the delight of all palates.
The Sweets ★★☆☆☆
Two stars may be a bit cruel but let me say this : There are no pastries and cakes included with the High tea. Sure you get a few biscuits and some strawberries but that hardly qualifies as appropriate for an afternoon tea in a five star hotel.
If you want to have some of the cakes or pastries with your High tea, you will have to order them separately.
The only upside is that the “Chocolate & Apricot cake” I decided to try only cost me 5€ extra, but for those of us with a sweet tooth that’s a bit hard to swallow (no pun intended). The aforementioned cake was as delicious as it looked good, and I’m pretty sure all the other cakes are equally tasty.
The Service ★★★★★
Hannah and the rest of the team were friendly, efficient and always smiling despite me being a relatively “high maintenance” tea drinker. When I first arrived and hadn’t looked at the card I asked for the Gentlemen to “surprise me” with a tea and he brought me a teapot of “White Fu”, arguably the best tea I had in a while. Mission accomplished I’d say!
Later in the afternoon I asked if I could finish having the tea on the terrace, the staff relocated all the food and kept asking me if I wanted more tea. I was allowed to stay after 6pm but was warned that any tea I’d order afterwards would be extra, fair enough.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★☆
A good High tea in a great hotel in a great city. If you fancy a break near the Alster, the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg is a must-see.
Too bad the high tea does not come with proper pastries and cakes, which are all extras.
+: Beautiful hotel, ideal location
+: Gorgeous terrace
+: Among the best tea selections in HH
+: Delicious Scones & Biscuits
+: Great service, friendly and efficient
-: Plain savouries
-: Pastries & cakes are extra