It is possible to have an all chocolate meal and still be classy! The Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Hilton KL uses Benns Ethicoa chocolate from ethically sourced cocoa farmers, many of whom are Malaysian. This limited-time set celebrates the deliciousness of chocolate by weaving all varieties of it into the sweets and even working it into the savouries! Even the biggest chocoholic can’t complain that this is not enough chocolate.
Afternoon tea at The Hilton Kuala Lumpur takes place in The Lounge, which is on the lobby level. A grand, dangling chandelier that looks like a mushroom is the centrepiece of the Hilton lobby. There are bars and cafes on three sides of this lobby, but The Lounge is the one directly opposite the main doors in the sunken area past the escalators. The toilets are down the corridor next to the Oro Cafe. Further down this same hall is a covered walkway that leads to KL Sentral and Nu Sentral Mall.
Whereas the main lobby is very black, The Lounge is more muted in its colour scheme with splashes of orange here and there. The floor to ceiling windows along one wall are accentuated by the enormously high ceilings. The Hilton boasts “a scenic view of the Lake Gardens” from these windows, but it’s mostly of the police station and the highway. A small speck of the lake can be seen waaay off in the distance but it is obscured by trees.
Guests enjoying high tea at The Hilton KL might be treated to some classy background music while they nibble on tiny sandwiches. There is a beautiful black lacquer grand piano in The Lounge where the hotel pianist will play tranquil melodies, and The Hilton website also mentions a three-piece jazz band that performs occasionally. This likely only happens on the weekends. We came on a Friday afternoon and there was no music whatsoever during the four hours we were there.
The service at The Lounge was pretty rubbish for The Hilton’s stature. It seemed like The Lounge did not have any dedicated staff working it. Instead, waitresses from the Oro Cafe were responsible for Lounge guests. They were running over to deliver menus to Lounge patrons that had been sitting there idly for a long time, and nobody was tending to The Lounge’s podium.
After ten minutes, someone eventually came by with menus. I said that I had an afternoon tea reservation. Instead of checking the reservation book, the waitress replied “oh okay” and proceeded to ignore us. Finally, while she was inputting items into the computer, I got fed up and told her bluntly that I had a reservation for right now. Only then did she point us to our reserved table.
After that snag, the service improved slightly. The server returned after an appropriate amount of time to take our order and was knowledgeable about the tea set that we wanted. It was a quiet afternoon and we chose a table by the window away from most of the other patrons, so the server was rarely in our section. Once she had delivered our food, the server never checked on us. At times we wanted to refill our teapots and had to take them over to the Oro Cafe ourselves to get refills.
Afternoon Tea Price at The Lounge, Hilton KL
RM118 nett per pax, or RM236 for two persons.
This is the standard price for themed afternoon tea sets at The Hilton KL. The price of regular high tea sets will be cheaper, around RM98 per pax.
Unlike other hotels where one “afternoon tea set” is meant for two people, The Hilton KL marks their sets as for one person only. A couple getting high tea together at The Hilton will need to order two sets to get a decent amount of food.
Afternoon Tea Menu at The Lounge, Hilton KL
We came for the special Chocolate High Tea promotion at The Hilton KL. The Lounge usually does special tea sets like this throughout the year. If there is a themed set currently ongoing, the “regular” high tea set will usually not be available. There was a display version of the exact set on the table next to the stairs down to The Lounge. Anyone unsure if they want to splurge can check out the display and see if it looks tempting.
The Chocolate High Tea set at The Lounge was a limited-time promotion, but The Hilton has run a similar set in the past. They also tend to reuse pastries or elements for future sets. The chocolate high tea set that I will talk about in this post will be long over by the time you read this, but parts of it are probably included in the high tea set that is currently on offer at The Hilton.
Food Served During Afternoon High Tea at The Hilton KL
The Lounge’s afternoon tea arrangement is a wide, circular, three-tiered tray for this particular set. Scones were on the top level, savouries were on the bottom, with sweets sandwiched in the middle. I have seen other tea sets at The Hilton that are a more traditional three-tiered plate stand, as well as a birdcage shaped one.
A big advantage of The Hilton KL’s high tea is that you are guaranteed to get your share of all the items. Since the sets are done per person, you and your afternoon tea companion will get to have every item all to yourself without needing to share. I think it’s incredibly dumb when other high tea sets only give you one of something, and you’re expected to cut this already tiny food down the middle and share it.
The tea served at The Hilton Lounge is Dilmah Tea. It’s a shame that it’s not a more upscale brand – Dilmah is on the shelves at most supermarkets. However, it is loose leaf tea that The Hilton uses, not cheap bagged tea. The options were English breakfast, green tea, roselle, chamomile or Japanese sencha. Each one-person set comes with a pot of tea, so a twosome ordering two sets can choose two different pots of tea. You can get unlimited water refills on your pot of tea, but the hotel will not refresh the tea leaves.
You can alternatively get one, nonrefillable cup of coffee with each set if tea isn’t your thing. Glasses of filtered water are free and will be refilled if you can get a server to notice you.
Each person gets two scones in a set (one plain and one chocolate chip for the chocolate promotion), so there were four scones on our tray. It was a relief to feel that they were fresh and still a bit warm from the oven. They were not too soft and nicely dense. The scones had an excellent texture when cutting and biting into them. There was just a hint of that dryness that you want in a scone.
The scones were accompanied by The Hilton’s signature hibiscus jam and a bowl of fluffy chocolate cream. The hibiscus jam was thick and chunky, with a taste that was mildly floral and not too sweet. The chocolate cream had a light chocolate touch to it without tasting fake. It was more than enough for the number of scones. We ended up smearing some of this cream onto some of the sweets, and still had some leftover!
There were only three savouries, which made us skeptical what with the chocolate overload of everything else. Mark thought the bread on these sandwiches was exceptional, but I didn’t see the fuss.
The sharpness of the cheese was the standout in the Emmental and Slow Roasted Chicken on a Chocolate Croissant. I feel like this would have been a bit better with some sort of sauce, though.
The Grilled Vegetables on a Kaiser were neutral yet tasty. It was a nice palate cleanser to balance out all the chocolate and strong flavours of everything else.
The smoked salmon roll with dill cream cheese and cucumber is the classic afternoon tea sandwich. This was the best of the savouries, in my opinion. The smoked salmon was fresh and the single caper bud didn’t overwhelm the bite, even though I hate capers. The menu never mentions what kind of bun it is on, but I have to imagine it’s some sort of chocolate bun.
Even though all three of these savouries are supposed to have a chocolate element, I did not taste any chocolate whatsoever in these. The chocolate pesto on the grilled vegetable kaiser I was especially keen to taste. Pesto is normally a very strong flavour, but somehow the subdued zucchini was the dominant taste in that sandwich.
Sharing the coveted top tier with the scones is the Chocolate Croissant with Almond Roche Glaze. This is not as messy as it looks, but you will get a bit of chocolate on your fingers. The croissant pastry was flaky and the sweet almond roche melts in your mouth. We were both surprised to find a chocolate filling in the centre of this! It was a bit runny and quite sweet, like dulce de leche. This was one of my top three sweets of the set.
The Deconstructed Chocolate Brownie is a dark, gooey brownie stuffed into a jar. Decorating the top was a piped star of milk chocolate icing and some berries. We had to eat this slowly and break it up with bites of something else because it was just so dense and rich.
The Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Macaroon was also in my top 3. Sandwiched in the middle of the fluffy macaroon was oozy salted caramel chocolate. I kept the chocolate medallion on top of the macaroon and its bitterness added to the melody of flavours of the sweet and salty caramel.
The Chocolate Cheese Tart looks like the most boring thing on the sweets tier, but should not be underestimated. Mark thought this looked dry, but it ended up being one of his favourite items. Thick chocolate cream is piped into a buttery tart and finished with crispy pearls. The chocolate is slightly muted, so this is one of the less sweet items.
The Chocolate Madeline is soft and spongy like a cake, with a little icing drizzle. The dark chocolate makes this also not too sweet. I dipped this into the chocolate cream which made it much better. This is a good light item to follow one of the more decadent sweets.
The White Chocolate and Highland Strawberry Profiterole is the odd man out. The vibrant colour and pink decoration stand out in a swath of dark brown. The candied red crust is lightly sweet and doesn’t crumble as much as it looks like it would. Melty, white chocolate hides inside the chewy profiterole dough. Although this strawberry sweet is kind of an imposter among all this chocolate, I quite enjoyed this.
The Dark Chocolate Bar is elevated from “just a chocolate bar” with little gold flecks pressed on top. Still, this was simply a Benns Ethicoa Panchor chocolate bar laid out on the tray. This chocolate is all-natural, vegan and gluten-free. I would never buy this expensive ass chocolate normally, so it was nice to be able to taste it. The texture was amazingly smooth and at a nicely bitter 64%, was the perfect end to the high tea set.
I do believe that the afternoon tea at The Hilton KL is overpriced and I won’t be returning. The main reason we chose this place was because of their promotion, which was something unique and different. If it weren’t for the Chocolate High Tea, we would have easily passed over this option.
None of the food in the set was bad. For sure, many of them were downright delectable. However, their presentation wasn’t particularly stunning. In other afternoon tea sets, some items look too pretty to eat. I didn’t get that sense with anything in this chocolate set. The ingredients used in this high tea set also aren’t very luxe. Much like how foie gras and creme fraiche scream opulence, no ingredient on the afternoon tea menu wowed us. It seems like the special Benns Ethicoa chocolate in the sweets was supposed to be impressive enough.
The venue itself is a nice spot, but the view is kind of a joke. Claiming that it has a scenic view of the Lake Gardens is a reach. It is only one storey up from the ground with the constant flow of cars on the highway being the most interesting thing to look at. All the photos of The Lounge on The Hilton website are at dusk to showcase the awesome imposing windows but not the depressing view beyond them. Do you really want to watch a traffic jam while you’ve got a mouth full of jam?
The Lounge being right in the lobby with such an open concept is not ideal. You’ll have to hope that the bustle of guests checking in (or taking photos on the marble stairs like I am above) isn’t too distracting. Not to mention any commotion from the other two eateries that are right next door with no proper walls separating them. There are other afternoon tea spots in KL with much better ambience than The Hilton KL, with panoramic city views or lush gardens to heighten the experience.
The high tea set price at The Lounge Hilton would have been reasonable if it was a little cheaper. As it stands at RM236 for two, I don’t think it’s worth it for the quality of food, the venue and the service we received. I have yet to try them, but I’m certain there are better high tea spots in KL whose price is comparable but come with better value and views.