We have often enjoyed dinner and the quiet sophistication of Cafe Claire in the Oriental Residence Hotel, so when we heard they started serving afternoon tea we had to check it out. Actually, there are two options for high tea at Cafe Claire: a traditional take on England's classic treat, there is a tea, cakes and savoury set, and putting a modern and decadent spin on proceedings, here they offer the option of Tattinger champagne to add a little extravagance to the experience. Running from 14:30 to 17:30, Cafe Claire is located on tree-lined Wireless Road amid several foreign embassies, five minutes’ walk from Ploenchit BTS Skytrain Station. There is a two tier pricing structure for afternoon tea: a three tiered cake stand with two glasses of Tattinger champagne for 2,100 baht for two people or 1,100 baht for two without the bubbles (prices not including tax or service charge).
The decor and layout of the restaurant is so immersive that any time spent here is a special break from the otherwise hectic experience of Bangkok. Looking every inch a French bistro the interior design is a carefully balanced without ever being gimmicky, with plenty of white wood, large windows and comfy booths. We choose a booth which is bathed in natural light and are promptly served water by waiting staff in faultless white uniforms. Melodic music spans the decades – from 1940s Sinatra, sultry French songstress Édith Piaf, swing jazz and more recent ballads – and, with champagne flute in hand, adds to the whimsical ambiance.
A three-tiered cake stand loaded with finger sandwiches, scones and cakes features two of everything so there’s no fighting over who will have what. Diners also get to choose a pot of tea each from a choice of 14 TWG exclusive blends that can be served either hot or cold. The traditionalist in me opts for English breakfast, while my partner chooses pink flamingo, a blend of green tea and hibiscus pomegranate blossom that tastes great either hot or cold. The savoury plate has a nice range of sandwich selections to suit different palates: from a deliciously simple ham and cheese on white bread, a smoked salmon with cream cheese and chive on whole wheat and, a personal highlight, a pesto and roasted vegetable sandwich. To add a bit of French flair, there are also two mini croissants with tuna filling which are a little lacking in texture but enjoyable nonetheless.
However, the afternoon tea at Cafe Claire will be most enjoyed by those who like it heavy on the sweet side. The bite sized scones are baked to golden perfection and the accompanying condiments of freshly made raspberry preserve, blackcurrant jam and clotted cream (a rare treat in tropical Bangkok) make for a rich experience. After our tea and scones comes the final platter, which is positively loaded with cakes, sweet and desserts: the caramel macaroons are the best we have ever tasted – soft to the bite with a subtle ginger taste, you can’t find better in Bangkok. Other treats consist of an almond cake topped by a raspberry, cute pot of crème caramel, lusciously soft blackcurrant topped cheesecake, fruit tart cup and a chocolate cake which has a lovely, soft crumb and is topped by thick fondant icing and an ostentatious gold leaf. This sweets tray gives the tea set the flourish it deserves and ensures no one will leave hungry.
Afternoon Tea at Cafe Claire
- Opening Hours: Breakfast: 06:00 to 10:30 - Lunch: 11:30 to 14:30 - High Tea: -14:30 to 17:00 - Dinner: 18:00 to 23:00
- Location: 110 Wireless Road (just next to US Embassy), Lumpini, Patumwan Bangkok 10330
- Tel: +66 (0) 2125 9000