On Sunday, Billy and I celebrated my birthday a day early with afternoon tea at the Empress Lounge! The Mandarin Oriental is a fancy hotel in DC, but the tea atmosphere in the lounge is laid back and family friendly. As usual, we ordered our drinks first. Billy choose the flowering osmanthus (green tea) and the 1330, a whiskey-based cocktail. I decided on the darjeeling second flush (black tea) and sparkling rosé. If you’re thinking that my drink isn’t a sparkling rosé, you’re absolutely right. When they poured my drink at the table, it overflowed and I guess I got distracted and forgot what I ordered because it didn’t occur to me that I got the wrong drink until we were leaving. I guess I am getting old haha!
Next, they brought food. The top tier had citrus scones and spiced strawberry financiers. The second tier had lime-cilantro panda cottas, chocolate-hazelnut piedmont mousses, and raspberry mint macarons. The bottom tier had egg salad gougerès, cold crab sandwiches, heirloom and camembert bites, and smoked ham sandwiches. Everything was delicious, but we both agreed that the savories were better than the sweets. Our favorites were the scones and the egg salad. Apparently, adding sage really takes egg salad up a notch! They also brought out a special birthday cheesecake, which ended up being my favorite out of the sweets.
Good to know: The Mandarin Oriental has afternoon tea available Friday through Sunday. Reservations are required. The lounge is located straight back when you come in the front. Tea service ($38). Discounted valet rate ($12).
Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C.: 1330 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024