Take a Bite: Stage set for low tea

Apr. 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

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Delectable petit fours await at the soon-to-debut Afternoon Low Tea at Stage restaurant.Nadine Kam photos

Tea at 1024′s Michele Henry has partnered with Stage executive chef Ron de Guzman and pastry chef Canin Sabey to create Afternoon Low Tea every Wednesday at Stage restaurant’s Lime Lounge, on the second floor of the Honolulu Design Center.

The first seats for the elegant afternoon tea service will begin May 14 (the official start day, May 7, is already booked).

Michele said that when HDC owner Thomas Sorensen suggested starting the tea service, she was excited by the possibility of creating “the quintessential tea service, with the best of whatever I want.”

His only condition? That the china be orange, to match the design center’s exterior!

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Tea lover Michele Henry with Stage executive chef Ron de Guzman, right, and pastry chef Canin Sabey.

The search took about a year, but Michele found her Shelley bone china service in the birthplace of low and high tea, terms that confuse the heck out of Americans.

Everyone here refers to afternoon tea as high tea but it’s actually low tea. In England, where the ritual originated, low tea was served at 4 p.m. to tide people over until supper at about 8 p.m. Sometimes, in place of dinner, people enjoyed high tea, an evening tea with heavier fare, served at about 6 p.m. The “low” in low tea referred to parlor coffee tables where the casual afternoon teas took place, vs. high teas that took place at regular dinner tables. This particular tea will be served at low tables across the bar near the entrance to Stage.

The tea can accommodate 30 people. Advance reservations and a deposit is required for parties of 10 or more. Details are not yet finalized, but the cost will be approximately $34.95 per person, or $54.95 per person for Tattinger champagne service, with one glass per person; additional glasses will be available for about $14.95 or $15.95.

The service will feature tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, yuzu lilikoi curd, strawberry preserves, marmalade and vanilla bean-honey butter lightened with cream. Petit fours include chocolate decadence cake, Greek yogurt panna cotta, macerated strawberry-elderflower tartlette, mixed berry coulis, vanilla bean and cookie butter macarons, and honey lavender creme brulee.

And the big plus is that there are alternative options for the gluten-free set. Instead of sandwiches, those who are gluten-intolerant will enjoy an assortment of vegetable and savory canapes, and their own platter of desserts. (The chocolate decadence cake is also gluten-free.)

And fans of Tea at 1024 need not worry. Michele will continue the downtown tea room she started before tea—high or low—became cool.

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Guests will have a choice of ETP-rated (ethical trade partnership) White Passion or Blue Lady teas. White Passion is a pai mu tan enriched with pear, peach and other fruit. Blue Lady is a Chinese green tea enriched with rhubarb, strawberries, figs and cherries.

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A platter of gluten-free selections.

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Tea sandwich selections include crab with bacon and avocado, black truffle egg salad, Madras curry chicken, smoked salmon with dill cream cheese, prosciutto and brie paté choux, and cucumber namasu with dill cream.
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Seatings for Afternoon Low Tea will begin May 14 at Stage Restaurant, 1250 Kapiolani Boulevard. Call 237-5429.

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