* Part 12 of a series *
There’s a new luxury hotel in Makati and it’s quite hard to miss because of its towering presence along Ayala Avenue. Discovery Primea is the latest addition to The Discovery Leisure Company‘s growing roster of fine hotels and resorts including Discovery Suites in Ortigas, Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay, Discovery Shores in Boracay and Club Paradise in Coron, Palawan. Having opened only six months ago (last February), Discovery Primea is already creating a buzz not only for its superior brand of hospitality but also for its gustatory delights.
For my mom-in-law’s birthday weekend celebration, my husband decided to spend our family staycation in Discovery Primea. We stayed there for two nights and were completely satisfied with our accommodations and dining experiences. If only for an entire weekend, we got to live the “suite life” again: eat, swim, eat, go to the mall, eat, sleep, then repeat. I’ll save the full feature on the hotel for later; for now I’ll just take you through my afternoon tea experience there.
Afternoon tea is served at the hotel’s swanky Gilarmi Lounge, named after the building that once stood on that very spot: the Gilarmi Apartments. I met up with my friend Aimee, who has gone on a few afternoon tea dates with me before, and together we indulged in a couple of hours of girltalk (without the kids). Tea service starts at 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. We went there at exactly 3 o’ clock.
There are two choices for the afternoon tea set, the only difference being the selection of tea sandwiches. Aimee and I opted for the Afternoon Tea to Remember (I forget the name of the other option). The set good for two persons costs P750++. From the TWG range of teas, we went for the Silver Moon Tea — a blend of green tea, grand berry and vanilla bouquet. It was light and sweet-scented, perfect for an afternoon of relaxation.
The tea was served right away but the food tray did not arrive until about 45 minutes later. Aimee and I had to follow up a couple of times because we could not start sipping our tea without the finger foods. When our food finally came, our server offered to prepare a new pot of tea for us since the first one had already gone cold. So we let him.
I presume that the food preparation time was excruciatingly long because we were the only ones having tea that time. What I mean is, the place is not yet known for its afternoon tea offering unlike its two neighbors: the Makati Shangri-La and the Peninsula Manila. And so everything had to be made from scratch, I think. Maybe they only started baking scones when we ordered the set, I don’t know. As Aimee and I were already famished, we started eating right away. The scones, though not the best I’ve had in this afternoon tea series, were rather tasty, albeit slightly tough and burnt on their bottoms. At least, they came with clotted cream and jam.
The tea sandwiches were good but nothing really remarkable. What made me happy, as always, were the sweets: fruit tartlets, chocolate eclairs and those very moist lemon sponge cakes. What would afternoon tea be like without them?
Perhaps to make up for our long wait for the food, the staff gave us some freshly-baked madeleines at no extra cost. We appreciated the gesture, and to show just that, Aimee and I wolfed all the madeleines down to the last morsel. See, we’re not difficult to please.
Having tasted several afternoon tea offerings already, I can honestly say that the one from Discovery Primea‘s Gilarmi Lounge is very promising but it still has a lot of room for improvement. I’m positive that in a few more months, everything will be made just right. The hotel’s restaurant Tapenade has some really excellent gastronomic gems, so I have high hopes for the Gilarmi Lounge‘s future in terms of afternoon tea.
“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things.” — Muriel Barbery