The Peninsula Afternoon Tea (The Lobby)

Open Hours: 2:00pm-6:00pm

Phone Number: 2327 2888

Price Range: 290rmb + 15% service fee (for one person), 520rmb + 15% (for two people)

Dress Code: Smart casual

English Address: 32 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu near Beijing Dong Lu

Chinese Address: 中山一路32号,近北京

Metro: Line 2 Nanjing Dong Lu


If the world of high tea were a monarchy, The Peninsula would undoubtedly be hailed the queen. With its expensive marble floors, gilded ivory columns, live music provided by a string quartet and grand chandeliers suspended from its high ceilings, The Lobby is the epitome of tasteful opulence and luxury. My first taste of this authentic British teatime experience was at the original Hong Kong Peninsula back from a few years ago, which set my standards quite high. The Peninsula not only exudes of elegance and prestige, but it also holds a rich history dating back to the 1930s. I was fascinated to find out that in 1941, after the defeat of the Battle of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong governor surrendered to the Japanese army and was confined in the hotel for two months before being exiled to Shanghai. The landmark was then reserved only for the highest Japanese officials before the British were able to regain control again. In the recent years, the hotel chain has been expanded to cities like Manila, New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. 

The Lobby menu is mainly comprised of two tea sets, individual a la carte orders and a selection of drinks. A la carte options include black forest cake (98rmb), tea scones (98rmb), tea pastries (98rmb), The Peninsula Lobster Cobb (198), ice cream sundae (98rmb), French style cheesecake (98rmb) and The Peninsula Club (138). Drinks include a selection of classic teas (70rmb), coffees (65rmb) and Peninsula’s signature hot chocolate (80rmb). The usual crowd of tea-goers will opt for the classic Heritage Afternoon Tea – I usually do too, but their seasonal French Afternoon Tea set caught my eye and so we thought it was worth a try. 

The bottom plate of this set contains of French onion tartelette, Foie gras with canned peach jelly finger sandwiches, egg salad with radish and cucumber finger sandwiches and tuna with olives and green bean finger sandwiches. The French onion tartelette has a nice flaky crust with an egg based filling making it my favorite from this tier. 

The second tier holds traditional Peninsula scones, rose scones, lemon cookies, orange flavored madeleines and strawberry éclairs. Their scones are by far my favorite in Shanghai with the right amount of moistness, butter and crumble. 

The top tier consists of black current macarons, apricot with cheese flavored cake, caramel tarts, opera coffee cake and pistachio tarts. 

I was disappointed with the macarons because the shells were hard and the filling was too sweet. My favorite from this tier was the pistachio tart and the mildly sweet coffee cake.

The set comes with homemade lemon curd, clotted cream and strawberry jam. I just cannot get enough of their lemon curd on my scones.

Along with our set we also ordered a café latte (70rmb) and a pot of mango tea. The mango flavoring was very subtle, good for people who don’t like artificial sweeteners. 

Delicate live melodies drift through the Lobby as we enjoy our tea and conversation. 

Overall, the highlight of this affair is the high quality finger food (best I’ve seen in Shanghai thus far), the amicable service and the classy ambiance.