I’ve got a secret I need to confess. Last month I transgressed. It was just an afternoon fling, I promise. Am I ashamed? No. It was fantastic. In fact, it was so good I’m looking forward to doing it again.
The thing is, I’m a man of simple tastes. Give me a lunchtime plate of khao man kai or a steaming hot bowl of khao soi and life is sabai sabai. Throw in a glass of iced tea and a total bill of around 50 Baht and all is right in my world. But, sometimes, you get an offer that is just too good to refuse. Sometimes you get the opportunity to say pop gun mai to street food and sawatdee to a sophisticated new dining experience. And this is the sexy temptress that teased me away from my usual street food a few weeks’ ago:
Not very Thai, right? More Tea at the Ritz than Som Tam at Somphet Market, you might be thinking. The luxury 5-star Chedi Hotel on the banks of the Ping River in Chiang Mai isn’t my normal hang-out for a midweek afternoon, but when my mother and sister fly to Thailand for their annual winter break it gives me the opportunity to see and do things I wouldn’t necessarily do by myself. And high tea at a luxury hotel very much falls into that category. We weren’t staying at The Chedi, but I was aware they served afternoon tea and thought it was something that my family would enjoy. It proved to be a very popular decision to spend the afternoon there and it was an experience that we all thoroughly enjoyed. If you are visiting Chiang Mai, afternoon tea or drinks on the verandah of this lovely old colonial building (formerly the British Consulate) is something I would highly recommend doing. But what do you get for your money and how much will this taste of the hi-so lifestyle set you back?
The Chedi provides the option of ordering à la carte or selecting from a number of different set teas which are available as a set for one person or a set for two people. After salivating at the scrumptious sounding selections on the menu, our group of three were intending to order a set for two plus a set for one. Fortunately, the lady serving us was very helpful and tactfully suggested that a set for two people would be enough because there was a lot of food on there. How right she was!
A set for two includes two pots of tea or coffee of your choosing, so we just ordered an extra pot from the à la carte menu. Our selection of teas was peppermint, soft peach and Earl Grey. There are exotic options for black tea, fruit tea, herbal tea and green tea from a variety of countries including India, Sri Lanka, China and, of course, Thailand. If tea doesn’t tickle your taste buds, there are also a range of coffees and chocolate drinks on the menu to choose from. For an extra charge, champagne or sparkling rosé are also options.
The delightfully presented food was an array of sweets, scones and savouries with the set including the following:
- Plain and pandanus scones
- Strawberry preserves
- Local passion fruit preserves
- Clotted cream
- Lemon curd
- The Chedi fruit cake
- Chocolate sacher torte
- Chocolate éclairs, vanilla crème
- Valrhona chocolate pot
- Lime meringue
- Pie: duck confit, spring chicken
- Soft roll egg & cucumber
- Spiced chicken sausage roll
- Open sandwich with crab & apple
The total bill for this afternoon feast of exquisite food and premium teas came to 1280 Baht (including service charge of 10%). At an average cost of around 425 Baht per head, we all felt this was outstanding value considering the ambience, the service and the quality.
Location, Booking and Times
The Chedi is located on Charoen Prathet Road on the banks of the Mae Ping River just behind the Night Bazaar. I rang up on the same morning and had no problems booking a table for three on a midweek day, but the hotel does recommend booking in advance. The telephone reservation staff at The Chedi speak English as well as Thai so there should be no problems booking over the phone. Alternatively, your hotel or guest-house in Chiang Mai should be able to make a reservation on your behalf. Afternoon tea is served from 15.00 to 18.00. Dress code is described as ‘resort chic’.
Tel: 053 253 333 or 053 253 385
A wonderful afternoon of self-indulgent luxury on the banks of the Ping River. Highly recommended.
Marks (out of 10): 9