BenCab Afternoon Tea : When Art Meets Tea at The Peninsula Manila

Here I am again, reliving my love for quiet afternoon tea breaks at one of my favorite hotels in Manila. If you've been reading my blog for sometime now, you'd be pretty much aware of how often I'd spend my Saturday afternoons in the Lion City with my girl friends as we would enjoy a good variety of savory and sweet finger treats. From tea sandwiches to canapes, from fruity tarts to sinful mini donuts, afternoon tea time was my favorite weekend activity and I'm so glad to be able to do it again at The Peninsula Manila, no less.

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Of course, it was also because we wanted to continue celebrating Paul's birthday as I just felt like a one day celebration is not enough for this amazing guy. I've also been planning to take my twins to The Peninsula Manila as I remember spending a lot of time with the family when I was a kid then. It was at The Pen where I had the best tasting Strawberry Sorbet and I was so thrilled to find out that they still have that. I have yet to try this and see if it's still the same. Aside from this, the Lobby Lounge is one of the most iconic establishments of the hotel. This is the best place to enjoy a cup of tea,  coffee (or perhaps a glass of bubbly) or perhaps a huge bowl of ice cream while enjoying the music being played by the hotel quartet. Christmas time is made even more magical as they would also have choirs performing on some nights.

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The hotel is also where I would go to for the yearly MaARTe Fair. It's one of those events that Paul and I agreed not to miss as this is where you can find the best local brands and products that is not easily found in malls. The hotel clearly is a strong advocate for local art and so beginning last weekend until mid October, you can enjoy the beautiful art pieces of our very own national artist, BenCab as displayed at The Peninsula Manila. From the huge mural that hangs behind the reception and concierge desks to the giant framed art works all around the hotel's ground floor, what makes it extra impressive is that these paintings were transformed into tapestry art and were digitally printed on carpet. Yes, on carpet! The details are so precise that you'd think it was the actual painting of the National Artist. Amazing!

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My favorite piece is entitled Mother and Child. Isn't it a beauty?

Anyway, apart from the digital tapestries displayed all around the lobby, you can also enjoy a special Bencab Art Afternoon Tea Menu (Php. 1,590 / Php. 2,190 with champagne) which comes with the traditional 3-tier afternoon tea tower and your choice of drink (coffee or tea). It comes with a guidebook explaining the different BenCab tapestries on display at The Lobby. After admiring all the artworks, sit back and enjoy a good conversation over your favorite painting over the yummiest savory and sweet creations. This reminds me so much of my days in college where I had Art Appreciation as one of my subjects and my final exam was at the Metropolitan Museum where I had to choose my favorite artwork and explain this in detail to my professor. Not wanting to sound like a geek but I really did enjoyed that class a lot. Perhaps, I should go visit one of the local museums again soon. Which one would you recommend? Tell me below!

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Anyway, going back, the afternoon tea set comes with the following:

Tier 1 (Sweet): 
Davao chocolate truffle cake
Mango panna cotta
Coconut Pandan Eclair
Calamansi Meringue Tartlet
Sans Rival Macaron

Trust The Peninsula Manila to have the best tasting desserts in town. In this tier, I can't even pinpoint which one I love the most as I gotta say... I love them all! I'm amazed at how the pastry chef (hats off to you Sir!) managed to transform traditional European dessert into one with very localized flavors. I love how it shows the best of our local ingredients -- the sweet of our mangoes, the bold flavors of Davao's chocolates, the amazing combination of coconut and pandan, the just-right tartness of the calamansi and how Sans Rival, apparently, goes so well as a macaron filling. Yum yum yum!!

Tier 2 (Savories): 
Curried prawns and apple salad with citrus aioli in shortbread
Smoked turkey ham mini sandwich with cheddar cheese, tomato on wheat bread
Cured salmon with dill cream cheese, golden trout roe on spanish bread
Grilled herbed squash with sweet caramelized onions on brioche roll

Among the 4 savory treats, I loved the cured salmon sandwich the most followed by the curried prawns. Yes, I know, I love seafood!

Tier 3 (Baked specials):
Mushroom Quiche
Peninsula Raisin Scones with Lemon Curd, Baguio Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream.

As soon as the afternoon tea set was served to us, I knew right away which one Paul will try first. Indeed, it's the famous Peninsula Raisin Scones with a generous serving of Baguio Strawberry Jam. Did you know that BenCab resides in Baguio and he actually has his own museum there so it's just fitting that the afternoon tea set has an item that represents his home base. I love the mushroom quiche too!

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Each tier has more BenCab masterpieces printed on edible paper and attached to a white chocolate frame. I love all the attention to detail given in creating this afternoon tea set and it was indeed an interesting afternoon spent with the loves of my life. Even my twins enjoyed their plate of freshly made hand-cut fries too! Meanwhile, I was happy to also enjoy my glass of bubbly!

The BenCab Art Afternoon Tea set will be served daily from September 25, 2019 to October 15, 2019 only. The afternoon tea service is from 2:30pm to 5:30pm so be sure not to miss this!

Visit The Peninsula Manila at Ayala corner Makati Avenue, 1226 Makati City. Call +63 (2) 8872888 for reservations. 

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