Knowing that the honeycomb comes direct from its rooftop garden gives The 3H fAternoon Tea at the Four Seasons Hotel that much more appeal. On a recent family visit to check out our favorite ritual, we discovered the non-traditional approach a refreshing take.
The hotel launched the offering in March for Women’s History Month, and the tea proved so popular that management decided to make it a longstanding offering. Spoiler alert: this is not your typical British tea time. This is a fusion experience – black Japanese stoneware tea cups and dark ceramic containers make up the dishware instead of fragile china and saucers festooned with floral patterns. This absolutely shifts the mindset.
Located near the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto on weekends, the tea is a casual affair. The area features a long and high presentation table with glass cups holding loose leaf teas listed on the menu. You can sniff the various teas and also get a whiff of the dried strawberries, oranges, and limes that may be later be used to concoct your brew.
Our family of five sat down in front of a low round table surrounded by plush, plum-hued couch seating. The individual place settings consisted of a pink napkin swirled into a rosette atop a rectangular white plate with knife, fork, and spoon. On the menu, tea selections include the 3H teas such as Harmony, Happiness, and Health which are exotic blends created for you by your tea host. Harmony features green rooibos, organic fennel, and hibiscus, rose petal, and more. For tamer sippers, there are the classic loose leaf teas such as green tea, black tea, and chamomile.Food items are all made in-house, all artfully curated with patterns and vivid colors.
When our tea server carried the modern, silver tiered tray to our table, we all oohed and aahed over the dashing presentation. Savories include a filling lobster roll, smoked salmon on toast, a delicate open-faced avocado toast with Iberico ham, and a dried tomato crostini. Unusual sweet treats also share space on the tiered silver tray: a mini matcha tiramisu, a pair of Earl Grey macarons, a tiny raspberry almond cake with a sliver of edible gold leaf, and a one-bite scone. Marking Japanese flair is the matcha tiramisu presented in a clear glass with alternating green and cream shades. The tiny scone comes with Devonshire cream and yuzu jam which hits another Japanese note.
You take home an extra tea bag and a branch of rosemary and lavender you can later burn at home to “improve mood, increase concentration, and relieve your stress.” The edibles were satisfying, filling the need for something crunchy on the toast end of things, and something fresh, delicate, and savory when it came to the seafaring lobster roll (my favorite) and smoked salmon nibble. Do note that this tea does not come with traditional cucumber or egg salad finger sandwiches, nor does it arrive with a full-sized scone which would have been nice. And while this afternoon runs you $60, you can add a glass of prosecco for another $23, champagne for $45 or a scented candle for $50.
BOTTOM LINE: If you are a loose-leaf thrill seeker yearning for something different, come to the Four Seasons for a weekend pick-me-up. It’s a relaxing time you can spend with your friends or loved ones, and you don’t have to dress up. Plus, you can try your new tea combination for health, harmony, happiness, or all of the above.
When You Go:
Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley
2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto