Monday, June 10, 2013

Writer's Bar Afternoon Tea (Raffles Hotel, Makati City)

All online tea literatures are one in saying that afternoon tea is an English tradition. Lindsey Goodwin of has this to say on afternoon tea:

It was started in the mid-1800s by the Duchess of Bedford. At the time, kerosene lamps were introduced in wealthier homes, and eating a late dinner (around 8 or 9 PM) became fashionable. There were only 2 meals then each day: a mid-morning, breakfast-like meal and an increasingly late dinner-like meal.

The story goes that the Duchess found herself with a "sinking feeling" (likely fatigue from hunger during the long wait between meals) and decided to have some friends over for assorted snacks and tea (a very fashionable drink at the time). The idea of an afternoon tea gathering spread across high society and became a favorite past time of ladies of leisure. Later, it spread beyond the highest echelons of society and became more accessible for some other socio-economic groups.

It looks like we defied the English tradition of having an afternoon tea as a stopgap between lunch and dinner. One order of Writer’s Bar afternoon tea for a little over PHP1000, is already good for 2, yet, given its wide array of choices, it can very well be one's dinner. I never thought that it can be so filling.

started with a basic spread of different kinds of sandwiches

I am partial to smoked salmon

smoked ham and cucumber sandwich (for added crunch)

beef tenderloin buns

The sandwiches stuffed us up but it's not over yet. We still had scones - one pair is of the plain kind while the other pair has dried currant. The scones came with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

After the scones, here's the coup de grace for our sweet fix:

the killer three-tiered dessert tray

lemon tartlets and those topped with fresh berries are to die for

eclair for some more sweets

Writer's Bar makes its own macarons infused with tea 
(it does not get its macarons from Fairmont's Cafe Macaron)
bite-size chocolate cakes are also mouth-watering

It was a nice afternoon for all of us - plainly light and easy. We had fun.

A pianist was even on hand to play live music for us while relaxing.

By the way, I found these tea basics quite interesting:

Steeping tea. This is an aha moment for me. Steeping tea is basically soaking tea in liquid. And it has rules – steeping time, steeping temperature, etc. - which can depend on whether one has teabags or loose-leaf tea and whether it is black tea, white tea, green tea, etc. Over-steeping can make the tea bitter-tasting. But I'd rather leave the details to the experts.

Loose-leaf tea vs. teabags. Elisa Pupco of has this to say:

Loose-leaf tea is tea that is not brewed in a teabag. When one steeps loose-leaf tea, it has room for the tea leaves to absorb water and expand as they infuse. This allows the water to flow through the leaves and extract a wide range of vitamins, minerals, flavors and aromas for the leaves.  Loose-leaf tea is great because it gives a stronger flavor and one has more control over the amount of tea he or she is using. However, more equipment is required, making it more labor intensive. 

Teabags are great because they’re convenient and easy to use, however they will cause the tea to lack its full flavor.  When one steeps tea in a teabag, its infusion is limited by the size of the teabag.  Because the leaves are not free to move around, the full flavor of the tea is limited. 

Hmn, sounds logical. Surely, these snippets of information affirm what works best for me – loose-leaf tea. I feel that teabags are so cafeteria and might not have a good place in an afternoon tea. But ultimately, it is a matter of personal preference.

Lastly, what is a black, white or green tea? The Writer’s Bar a la carte describes it briefly:

Black tea. Undergoes a full fermentation process and has more anti-oxidant power than a serving of broccoli.

White tea. The least processed form of tea made of buds and select leaves which have been dried.

Green tea. Unfermented. The freshly picked leaves are allowed to dry. Contains 1/3 of the caffeine of the black tea and is high in anti-oxidants.

Afternoon tea at the Writer’s Bar is obviously a worthwhile experience – elegant ambiance, select Harney & Sons tea from Australia, wide array of choices of sandwiches, scones to tartlets topped with fresh berries, macarons, eclair and bite-size chocolate cakes, plus a pianist for live music, all contribute to an overall feel-good mantra. We will go back there to chill some more.


  1. Indeed, I've been reading and enjoying your blogs on tea that I am starting to get impressed with this "tea-thing", as well. But coffee is still my first love never dies, though. Haha. Thanks for all your shared articles, Atty. Am learning a lot.

  2. I understood the difference between Loose-leaf tea and teabags when I had a patient who suffered the consequences of using the loose leaf instead of the teabag. She was on slimmimg tea. hehe.

    1. Haha. Must be a case of over-steeping or maybe she had too much? Thanks.

  3. Indeed, I've been reading and enjoying your blogs on tea that I am starting to get impressed with this "tea-thing", as well. But coffee is still my first love never dies, though. Haha. Thanks for all your shared articles, Atty. Am learning a lot.

    1. You're welcome. Now that I am into blogging, I try to make sure that some learning points come with the blog. I owe it to my intelligent readers like you :-)

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  5. Very nice atmosphere! Times have definitely changed. Pinas is really taking relaxation to the next level. So proud of my country! Thank you once again for sharing this article. You definitely are the food/leisure go-to guy!!!

  6. Thanks France. Btw, Mayi's visa application has been approved. Hope to see you in LA. Ikaw lang dadalawin namin sa LA. Kundi rin lang tayo magkita, we'll skip the visit. :-) Regards.

  7. Sorry, but I failed to mention that service is excellent. They always check it out whether you are ok . . .

  8. Sorry, I don't know what happened here. I don't know why there are highlights and all. It seems that the other articles were not adversely affected though.