AFTERNOON TEA?

The first time I asked my boyfriend to tea, I think he thought I was kidding. Afternoon tea? But why? I think he could only see bougie old ladies or kids in his head. Little did he know that afternoon tea is for everybody these days! It’s become a normal way to celebrate various occasions or simply as an alternative to the Sunday brunch. On Oahu we are lucky enough to have a plethora of tea options for both locals and visitors alike. Places like The Veranda at the Moana Surfrider or Halekulani have remained consistent in drawing in crowds. MW Restaurant had a legit following when they did their monthly tea. Afternoon tea in Hawaii is not just about tea anymore – it’s about the food.

Here’s a look at three afternoon tea services I’ve visited recently!

VINTAGE CAVE CAFE

Vintage Cave Afternoon Tea in Hawaii
Vintage Cave Afternoon Tea

Vintage Cave Cafe at Ala Moana Center has had some excellent foodie deals since opening, now including their $18 afternoon tea. Served from 11-3:00pm daily [11am & 1pm seatings Saturdays], this is by far the most affordable tea service I’ve encountered. The vibe screams old school tea; the European decor can’t help but make you forget you’re at the mall.

Vintage Cave Afternoon Tea in Hawaii
Avocado & tomato sandwich, chilled creamy corn soup, quiche bolognese, mini croissant with egg salad

There’s an excellent tea selection along with a coffee option. You choose 1 sandwich but the rest is selected for you. The sandwich was smaller than I expected but the savory bites as a whole were quite tasty. The chilled corn soup was refreshing & an unexpected item from your typical tea tray. I’m a big fan of the mascarpone cream & blueberry jam served with your scone. Scones are such an important part of tea that are easily forgotten. Overall, I liked the simplicity of this tea and the price alone made it worthwhile.

Vintage Cave Cafe
Located at Ala Moana Center
www.vintagecave.com

MARIPOSA

Mariposa Afternoon Tea in Hawaii
Mariposa Afternoon Tea

Mariposa recently began offering an afternoon tea service from 2-4pm daily. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance. Priced at $35, it’s quite reasonable for the atmosphere and the amount of food you receive. I’m always partial to a tea that runs heavy on the savory; I personally feel sweets sometimes over take the show. The savory ‘bites’ were huge for tea portions and I left genuinely full with my desserts in a to go box. The curried chicken sandwich stood out the most to me for being both flavorful and tasty.

Popover at Mariposa Afternoon Tea in Hawaii
Popover with strawberry butter

But wait! This tea had a bunch of bonuses. Bonus #1 was when they offered us the option of a chilled drink [punch, lemonade, iced tea] instead of hot tea. It’s been a hot summer and we were glad to switch it up. Out of nowhere and to our surprise came bonus #2: their famous popovers! Not on the menu, you get a popover and strawberry butter to start your tea service. I may or may not have yelped for joy. The final bonus is happy hour overlaps with afternoon tea 3-4pm, and you’re welcome to order from that menu additionally. It’s a great way to get the best of both worlds.

Mariposa
Located in Neiman Marcus
Ala Moana Center
Website

THE KAHALA RESORT

Champagne Afternoon Tea in Hawaii
Champagne and tea at The Kahala Hotel

The Veranda at The Kahala Hotel is a pretty well known afternoon tea and the priciest, ranging $50-$80. I checked out their Royal Tea Service which includes a glass of champagne for $60. We were seated outdoors with a lovely view of the ocean and hotel. This to me felt the most proper of all the teas. The tea cup & plates are Royal Albert, made of English bone china; the same ones used by the Royal family.

Scones at The Kahala Afternoon Tea in Hawaii
Berry scones with clotted cream and pineapple coconut preserve

This tea starts with two different berry scones accompanied by clotted cream & pineapple coconut preserves, giving it a tropical twist. I was stoked to see some real scones finally. This was followed by four savory and four sweet bites. There was a nice variety of flavors amongst these bites to appease various palettes. I found this to be the fanciest when it came to food but I didn’t feel the flavor fully lived up to the visual.

The Kahala Hotel Afternoon Tea in Hawaii
The Kahala Hotel afternoon tea

The Kahala Hotel
5000 Kahala Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
www.kahalaresort.com

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m stoked to see more wallet friendly teas. It’s a great example of expensive doesn’t always mean better. I’m also glad to see the food being upgraded from what you’d expect; little twists on classics. Whether you want to get fancy with the girls and splurge or just throw your pinky in the air on a budget, I think these three teas give you some solid options to make your belly happy too.