Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lanai~Afternoon Tea

High Tea at the Koele Lodge was one of my favorite memories from a family vacation we took to Lanai when I was little. Back then, it was a informal occasion for guests including tea, sandwiches, scones and cookies served buffet style. Oh, and it was free before too. On our honeymoon, Lauren and I decided to have tea on our last day there. We saw some people eating
delicious looking hamburgers a little while earlier, but decided to forgo a late lunch since we would be having tea. Perhaps I was just upset because I was really hungry, or because the lunch places were already closed and I kept thinking about that hamburger with avocado and bacon, but I did not have a good time. I'm always going to give my honest opinion, but to be fair here's a link to some people who did have a good time.

There were several noticeable differences in the High Tea. First off, it was now served in the Great Hall (Translation: Hotel Lobby) . Secondly, it cost $19, which is more than free. However, this still seemed reasonable to us for the whole "experience." Thirdly, the food was very elegant and dainty (Translation: limited, small, and smaller)
As you can see, the whole setup was rather fancy. I did think it was pretty cool that there were candles under the teapots. Unnecessary, but innovative. It's only a really good idea if you plan to sit and drink tea for several hours. Otherwise, it's not that vital to drinking hot tea. I think that if you did actually sit there for 3 hours or so, and the candle lasted that long, then your teapot would evaporate dry before you were done, even if you didn't drink anything. The teapots (like everything else) were small.....they're only slightly bigger than the cups themselves.
The tea service is started by picking your tea. There are all kinds of teas, and everyone gets their own teapot. Just as a side note, much of the same tea is served for free every morning in the complimentary coffee/tea station. The tea was actually pretty good, but it was no better than the one I had for free in the morning.
On to the food. For clarification, please remember that even though in the picture, the food fills up the plates, it's because all of the plates were really small. The food was also very small.
Starting with the top tier. Sandwiches. There were 3 varieties of sandwiches for our gastronomic pleasure. First (bottom), the cucumber sandwich. Tasty in my opinion. Lauren didn't like it and I ate hers. It was a paper thin slice of cucumber (so thin that there was no crunch in the cucumber) in bread with mayonnaise on it and probably some salt and pepper. Secondly (middle) there was the cheese cracker. It was cheddar cheese with apple pieces mixed in mayonnaise on a toasted (stale) piece of bread with garnishes. I like cheese, so I thought it was tasty. Again, Lauren was less than impressed, and I finished hers. Lastly, there was the smoked salmon sandwich. Nothing special here, just cream cheese, smoked salmon and bread. All in all, the sandwiches tasted good in my opinion, but were nothing special, and I was disappointed by how small they were. All of the sandwiches (Lauren's and mine) could have been made out of 1-1.5 slices of white bread. Each person gets less than 3/4 of a slice of bread.
The second tier looked more promising. Cookies, a lemon/white chocolate dessert, and chocolate. Both chocolates were pretty mediocre (Lauren and I didn't finish either). The shortbread cookies were rather good.
Lastly, the scones. What High Tea would be complete without scones? These scones weren't that great. They were very heavy, with very little taste. They were served with lemon curd, berry jam and Devonshire cream. The lemon curd and jam were very good, but it didn't make up for the rest of the Tea. Lauren licked those bowls clean (not literally), without using her scones.
This is probably the most negative blog I've written to date, and I hope the last for a while. The experience was just not up to par with what I expected.

How Much Would I Pay?

Mike: $10 because it was fancy. And only if there wasn't a Burger King around the corner.
Lauren: $14, because Tea is expensive in general. My advice is to go to Tea at 1024 instead.


K and S said...

I liked the high tea at the Kahala, it was more expensive than this one, but I think we got more food.

genkitummy said...

hey kat! i've heard great things about the kahala tea. i have to check it out. there's another hotel in waikiki that is supposed to have a good high tea too.

K and S said...

I think you may be thinking of Surfrider. I want to check that one out the next time I'm home :)

Keane said...

After a little research, I learned that "high tea" actually originated as a late afternoon meal to replace "afternoon tea" (or low tea) as well as dinner. This type of "high tea" would be served with heavier foods more befitting of the meals it was replacing. American "high tea" is generally served earlier and more closely resembles "low tea" (so named because it was served at the lower lounge tables instead of the higher dining room tables). "Low tea" was a less formal meal to spell the appetite between breakfast and dinner (they didn't eat lunch in the UK in the old days). I guess that sorta explains the measly portions!

Mike said...

I was reading the blog, and I realized I was being too harsh. For people who enjoy going to tea, I would definitely recommend it. I think it's just not my sort of thing. Also, I was disappointed because Lauren and I had decided that it would be our lunch. As Lauren says "a fed Mike is a happy Mike."

Mike said...

That quote originated on a day which involved Lauren and I skipping lunch for a shopping trip that lasted till around 8pm. It ended with me pouting and the shopping being paused to get a gyro. Lauren (like many females) will take 80% off jeans over food any day. Me....I'd take the food everytime.