TEA culture is very much a communal Malaysian experience.
Whether it is a casual teh tarik session with friends at your favourite mamak restaurant, yum cha with family at a dim sum place or high-tea at a swanky hotel, tea is a must-have at any social gathering.
Increasingly, not only is tea an accompaniment to our meals, it can be used in cooking because of its health benefits and aromatic flavours.
Celebrating all things tea, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur is inviting diners to experience its specially-crafted tea infusion menus until May 31.
Lemon Garden, Lobby Lounge, Shang Palace and Arthur’s Bar & Grill will each feature dishes incorporating the different varieties of tea such as the Shangri-La Signature Blend, Darjeeling, Tie Guan Yin, Bi Luo green tea, Osmanthus tea, peppermint, jasmine and Signature Blend.
The quintessential way to experience the variety of teas is over afternoon tea at the Lobby Lounge.
The petite servings of tea-infused pastries and finger sandwiches, served on a tiered tray, were pleasantly satisfying.
I particularly enjoyed the savoury options which included Beef Salami Finger Bi Luo Green Tea Sandwich, Smoked Salmon and Truffle Egg Bagel with Lapsang Souchong Tea Cream, as well as a Tuna and Darjeeling Mayo Sandwich.
In the salami sandwich, the tea is infused into the bread giving it a subtle floral taste.
It pairs well with a green tea butter spread, Emmental cheese and sliced cucumbers.
With the other treats, the tea infusion is not too strong to the point that it overwhelms the other ingredients.
Just a hint of floral or smokiness from the tea boosts the otherwise traditional flavours.
Rounding out the tea trays are choux filled with a velvety peppermint tea cream, milk chocolate and peppermint tea praline, Mille Feuille of candied winter melon, sweet potato and jasmine tea pastry cream, fresh fruit tartlets with almond frangipane and English breakfast tea cream as well as chocolate and Arabian Night tea eclairs.
A must-have is the Warm British Raisin Scones served with clotted cream, jasmine tea, lemon curd and raspberry jam.
The best part of the experience was getting to choose from the 28 selections of tea to pair with the sandwiches and pastries.
The afternoon tea is available at the Lobby Lounge from 3pm to 6pm daily. It is priced at RM128 nett per set.
Over at Shang Palace, several tea-infused dishes are available alongside the restaurant’s all-time favourites.
This includes Smoked Roasted Chicken with Tie Guan Yin for RM78 nett (half portion) and RM156 nett (whole), Smoked Omega Rich Garoupa Bi Luo Green Tea (priced from RM38 nett per 100g) and Stir-fried Prawn with Bi Luo Green Tea (from RM98 nett).
The slight saltiness of the chicken is tempered by the bitterness of the tea, while the meat itself is tender.
With the prawns, the flavour of the tea is more subtle, while celery and fried tea leaves give crunch and texture to the dish.
These dishes are available for lunch and dinner from Tuesdays to Sundays.
At Lemon Garden, guests can try the Shangri-La Blend Tea-infused dishes in the buffet spread starting from the Western theatre with flavourful Beef Bacon Sandwich served with English breakfast tea mayonnaise.
The salad section has appetising dishes such as nourishing Bi Luo Green Tea and Green Leaves Salad, and Shepherd Salad with Bi Luo Vinegar.
At the Chinese section, a selection of Fresh Red Snapper Fingers in rich Darjeeling tea butter and basil tartar sauce as well as assorted vegetable tempura with jasmine tea dipping sauce are tasty finds.
Peking duck wrapped in Osmanthus pancake with plum and Osmanthus tea sauce is a treat too.
Arthur’s Bar & Grill is presenting dishes of Seasonal Tea marinated Red Quinoa Salad (RM38), Bi Luo Green Tea marinated Seared Scallop and Smoked Salmon with green tea sauce, mashed potatoes and grilled seasonal vegetables (RM88 nett) and Arabian Nights Tea BBQ Short Beef Ribs with shiitake mushroom and mashed potatoes with beef jus (RM118 nett).
LOBBY LOUNGE, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 11, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2074 3900). Business hours: 3pm to 6pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.