Monday, August 21, 2017

Doing it Right: Tea Etiquette at The Writers Bar's Queen Victoria Royal Afternoon Tea

Bring me a cup of tea and the Times...

And so ordered Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India at the height of the British Empire. And to this day, tea remains a daily habit and an integral part of their social fabric, a legacy recreated at the elegant Writers Bar of Raffles Makati. Inspired by the Victorian era, Writers Bar presents the second edition of their Royal Afternoon Tea Series featuring Queen Victoria. I've enjoyed afternoon tea quite a number of times at Writers Bar, but this time I'm doing it right with a little help, make that a lot of help, with a special tea etiquette class at Writers Bar...

The popularity of tea is said to have started with its eventual pairing with sugar, two precious commodities at the time forever changing the course of world history, trade, and the global economy. These two commodities are said to have contributed substantially to the wealth the British East India Company and the British Commonwealth, and building one of history's greatest navies. The long 63-year reign of Queen Victoria marked the rapid expansion of British colonial power and the enduring tradition of afternoon tea. Raffles Makati Hotel's Writers Bar celebrates the tea tradition with the second edition of its Royal Afternoon Tea Series inspired by Queen Victoria from August 1 to November 30, 2017 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily (for more on the previous Royal Afternoon Tea Series at Writers Bar, see my earlier post, Tea with a French Accent: The Royal Afternoon Tea Series Featuring Marie Antoinette at Writers Bar and their previous themed afternoon tea series on my previous posts, Afternoon Tea with a New York Twist at Writers Bar and Breakfast at Tiffany's? Make That Afternoon Tea at Tiffany's. At Writers Bar...).

The Royal Afternoon Tea Series at Writers Bar also features the Wild Strawberry Collection from the iconic tableware maker Wedgwood (R) adding a distinct British vibe to your tea experience with attractive special offers and discounts. Just ask the servers for more details on the exclusive Wedgwood offers. 

Arriving way before 2:00 pm, we were served a refreshing Iced Latte at Writers Bar as we waited for the other guests to arrive. The pianist began his first set as we settled in the plush chairs of Writers Bar. You may also want to check out the Bits and Bobs pop-up store with its selection of fine English goods. 

The elegant and spacious interiors of Writers Bar makes it the perfect spot not just for the usual afternoon tea, but for a proper Royal Afternoon Tea experience. 

Hints of the Royal Afternoon Tea's indulgent bites are featured at the Wedgwood display, with the ornate Flora Cookie, a traditional shortbread biscuit decorated with a Victorian-era inspired vintage floral print pairing well with the equally elegant Wild Strawberry theme of the fine Wedgwood collection. Writers Bar's themed afternoon tea series have always set it apart from the usual afternoon tea offerings, and this edition's Victorian era-inspired afternoon tea promises to be another memorable one at Raffles Makati.

And if you wish to go deeper into the history and culture behind the afternoon tea tradition, why not sign up for a Tea Etiquette Class led by Protocol Specialist Sheila Viesca of Talkshop on September 24 and October 29, 2017 at 3:00 pm. Learn the rules and do afternoon tea the right way in a light yet fun and casual session at Writers Bar.

The familiar three-tiered stands were then served, decked with indulgent tasty bites to start the Royal Afternoon Tea experience at Writers Bar... fine tea is poured on your cup. Add a cube of sugar and stir. Now if you want to do it right, stir from the top to bottom in a straight line, think of the 12 o'clock position and 6 o'clock position on the cup. Stir in a straight line and not the usual circular motion. If you wish to add milk, add it after pouring the tea and never before the tea. Raise the saucer with your left hand and the cup with your right for a sip, and do not stick out your pinky. It's the little rules like these shared by Sheila Viesca that helps you appreciate and enjoy your afternoon tea experience.

Scones (pronounced as "scon" and not "scone") are an essential part of the tea experience. The Writers Bar offers two kinds of scones, the Traditional and Orange Lemon Raisin Scones served with strawberry jam, clotted cream, and lemon curd. At the middle tier, you'll find delicate savory sandwiches while an assortment of tempting sweet creations round out the lower tier.

And there's a proper way to enjoy scones. Never slice a scone with a knife, scones are broken or halved with your hand. A good scone's top will easily break cleanly right in the middle from the bottom half. With the serving spoon, add some clotted cream and jam to the side of your plate. After breaking the scone in half with your hands, go Cornish-style or Devon-style. By adding a dollop of clotted cream with your knife first before topping it with jam, that's Devon-style. Jam before the cream is Cornish-style. After doing so, never bring back the two halves together like a sandwich. If you do, you can forget about being invited back again for afternoon tea. Always use the serving spoons provided too.

For the Victorian-era Royal Afternoon Tea edition at Writers bar, guests can enjoy a variety of special savory sandwiches created by Raffles Makati, including the London Bridge Roll filled with crab and cress shaped like the iconic bridge, the Cheese Tart with vintage cheese, pickled onion, apple, and fresh thyme; the Poached Salmon, a delicately layered tea sandwich with salmon, cucumber, dill, and cheese; the Coronation Chicken with walnuts and pan de mie created in honor of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and the Flora Cookie, an elegant shortbread biscuit topped with an ornate floral print. Scones and tea sandwiches are eaten with the hands, and never with a fork and knife.

For dessert, Raffles Makati offers a lavish selection of delicate sweets, perfect with another round of tea. For cakes, use the fork and not the hands. If you're unsure, always take the lead from the host.

The sinfully tempting selection included the Victoria Sponge Cake created in Queen Victoria's honor with cream and jam, the Lemon Tart with citrus custard in a traditional English pastry, a sweet shortbread biscuit filled with raspberry jam with the Jammie Dodger, the English Toffee with caramel, almonds, and toffee; and the Gin Orange Truffle, a dessert version of the Gin Blossom cocktail made with London Dry Gin. A selection of fine teas and a wide array of tasty bites, the Royal Afternoon Tea Series lets you experience the great British tradition within the elegant interiors of Writers Bar. You can enjoy the Queen Victoria Royal Afternoon Tea at Writers Bar for only P 1,150 for two persons from August 1 to November 30, 2017 daily from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Just remember to keep your pinky down...

Writers Bar is located at the lobby level of Raffles Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati City or call Restaurant Reservations at 795-1840 or email at

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