Tropical High-Tea for Two

I’m early. So I find myself a seat in the Axis Lounge to wait for my tea-time friend to arrive. Little did I know, Gwen was already waiting for me in The Food Store!

The Tropical High-Tea comes with a
selection of premium teas
When I received the invitation from the DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru to experience the Tropical High-Tea Set for Two, Gwen came to mind. 

That was because Gwen and I so enjoyed the Chocolate High-Tea together back in January and it will be fun to share this with her too.

I don’t feel the time ticking by because a friend who spotted me there, came over for a chat and when he left, I glance at my phone and read Gwen’s message, saying she is already here. Ah! It really looks like we are both ready for our high-tea.

Once we are comfortably settled at our table, the wait-staff politely proffer a menu turned to the page that lists a selection of premium teas. Ooooh… what a choice of premium tea flavours! Spoilt for choice, we take a moment to consider which to have. Gwen picks a brew of Peppermint tea while I choose Ginger-Lemongrass.

Chef Firdaus [Right] and Chef Zulhilmi present
a Tropical High-Tea at DoubleTree by Hilton JB
When it is served, I let my pot steep for a while. Later when I pour out a cup, its tantalizing aroma tickles my nose and I make Gwen taste a whiff. We smile in agreement when she comments, “It smells like we’re in a spa!”

Our attention is then riveted to the three-tier stand on which the elegant Tropical High-Tea Set is presented.

I spot the chefs responsible for this presentation, Chef Firdaus and Chef Zulhilmi, and approach them to ask how the tropical theme is met in the various cakes and pastries. 

This info will be helpful when I sample each item and to identify the taste of the various flavours.

“Palm sugar and soursop in panna cotta,” said Chef Firdaus. Not only did my ears perk up but my imagination soared as my mouth watered to the idea of how the sweetness of palm sugar vividly contrasts with the tangy taste of soursop in smooth panna cotta.

I raise my eyebrows when I hear him continue with, “Jackfruit Cheesecake,” because it’s good to hear that the humble local jackfruit has found its way into cheesecake!

The King of Fruits, a popular ingredient in various desserts, also has its place in the Tropical High-Tea. Presented as Vanilla Durian Choux, they are a pair of tiny crème puffs filled with vanilla durian cream!

Our serving of Tropical High-Tea
I think it is better to have a taste of what the chefs are talking about so I re-join Gwen who’s patiently waiting for me to start enjoying our lovely afternoon tea.

She decides to begin with the scones and picks the Coconut Scone made with – get this – coconut cream and desiccated coconut, and savour it generously spread with whipped cream and strawberry jam.

I wait for her to enjoy each mouthful – without making any further conversation with me – and that’s probably how good it tastes!

When she figuratively comes back to earth, Gwen does not have to say much about how good it tastes. All it takes for her to describe its rich taste is just one word. Wreathed in smiles, she simply said, “Mmm…lemak!”

Such an eloquent word which Malaysians understand! While the original English scone has its merits, I must agree that a scone that tastes lemak promises a little exciting edge.

Meanwhile I’m sinking my teeth into the sandwiches. I like how sour dough bread is topped with slices of beetroot and garnished with tiny cubes of feta cheese. As we are munching, my only wish is for a little more feta cheese in it!

While the High-Tea is an elegant meal shared among gentle-women, I must confess that I feel far from gentle when I come face-to-face with the Grilled Chicken with Hibiscus Spread rolled in a tortilla.

There must be some tortilla etiquette for the right way to eat it in a hotel dining room but in order to taste all the ingredients in a mouthful, I discreetly pick it up to take a hearty bite. It’s tasty grilled chicken all right and again, I wish there is a little more of the Hibiscus spread.

Gwen and I, all set for our Tropical High-Tea for Two
Gwen and I agree that all the sandwiches are interesting and the mini ciabatta stuffed with smoked salmon and tomato marmalade, is rather agreeable.

Finally, it’s time for the sweet stuff. The little crème puff, Vanilla Durian Choux, literally needs no introduction because I can smell its pungent pong from afar!

The miniature of Jackfruit Cheesecake is, as its name describes, mini but I still try to eat it in dainty bites to savour its fruity flavour along with fresh crunchy cubes of fruit.

I’ve inevitably saved the best for last – the Palm Sugar or Gula Melaka and soursop in panna cotta – served in a tiny tumbler. Using little teaspoons, Gwen and I take our time to dig deep into the panna cotta to spoon the mixture up for a contrasting yet pleasing tropical taste of palm sugar with soursop.

From July to September, the Tropical High-Tea Set for Two is served daily at the Axis Lounge and The Food Store from 3pm to 6pm, at RM58 nett per set.

DoubleTree by Hilton JB is at No. 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, 80000 Johor Baru. For reservations, please Tel: 607 – 268 6868 or email:;

For more promotion details, visit Facebook DoubleTreeJB.

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