The Galle Face Hotel now offers an 'Afternoon Tea', though note that they're just starting out and haven't even advertised. Set out just across The Verandah, this is good if you want to sit by the sea and have a meal at one of the oldest hotels in Asia. Tea time's from 4.00 – 6.00 pm, with around 25 varieties of food brought to you. It costs Rs. 1864 nett.
Soon as you're seated, you're first served a tall, cylindrical glass of iced-coffee. This is pretty much your average iced coffee made with what definitely tastes like Milkmaid (which isn't a bad thing) and it was quite okay. Not overpoweringly sweet, but a weird choice to be presented at first nonetheless, especially because this's like, high tea. Or afternoon tea. You get the idea. I'm a huge fan of coffee though, so no complaints — I just found it curious.
Next, comes the fingerfood. Presented on three tiers, this is predominantly sweet-based, with a few sandwiches, smoked salmon canapes, and the like.
The first and second tiers were sweets, but they weren't extraordianary to be honest. The macaroons and scones were soft and fluffy, with the macaroons softly breaking apart and leaving a sticky mess everywhere as only they can. The flavours came out quite strongly though (chocolate and raspberry) and was slightly overpowering.
The second tier had your usual selection of fingerfoods including lovecakes and madelines, and more interesting things like watapallam pasties and chocolate tartletts.
The tartletts (dark little thing right at the back) are worth mentioning here because of how much drippy, gooey, chocolate was packed into that little thing. There are no pictures because it was a very messy process (it was basically a whole load of chocolate ganache in a little tart-cup), but it was absolutely delish. And, it had crispy caramel at the bottom, and that was completely unexpected and gave you even more of a sugar rush.
The third tier had an interesting selection of items including Rice Paper Spring Roll and a small Kohila bun.
The Rice Paper Spring Roll had little bits of pineapple in it which added a pleasant tang to the whole thing, and the smoked salmon canape was perfectly done with quite a huge slice of salmon rolled on top.
I preferred their savoury plate though. This came separately and had crab cake on a sugar cane (yes!) and a really crispy prawn masala vadai which really hit the spot. It totally balanced out all the sweetness from the first two tiers, and we could have used more of them.
Also note the vegetable rotti and dimsums. Which were okay.
We were also given a serving of Pandan pancakes — which were basically normal pol pani pancakes except the batter had pandan mixed in it, so it was green. The texture was a bit dense, but it was quite good overall, with the pol pani not being too sweet.
At the end of the meal, we were asked if we'd like tea or coffee. My friend went for a black tea and I picked coffee, both which were brewed well and came nice and hot.
Service and Ambience
The staff are friendly, professional, and very helpful. The stewards managed the table beautifully and didn't make us feel rushed or anything. It was like clockwork, a well-oiled one at that.
GFH meanwhile looks great, and has a pretty great ambience in terms of preserving old-school Colonial grace.
Even during the peak of tea, it was very quiet with old aunties and tourists chatting quietly and nibbling on their little sandwiches. It's a bit out of place for a loud, large group, and more for a quiet meal and some peace.
Service and ambience is great, but at 1,864 per person, the quality of the desserts could be stepped up a bit. The savouries are pretty good though, as was their tea and coffee.