During our recent holiday to Yilan (Ilan), we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon indulging in afternoon tea at the Evergreen Hotel in Jiaoxi.
Taiwanese are crazy about afternoon tea. I sometimes find it amusing that they are almost more English than the English — they have really taken to the concept of elaborate and artfully beautiful high tea. So far I have been restrained in staying away from the afternoon cake ritual (I am trying to watch my weight, despite the temptations in Taiwan), but I was on holidays so decided to make an exception. And I so enjoyed it!
The afternoon tea that we ordered was NT$560 for two (plus 10% tax), which included a three-tiered tray of dainty morsels and tea or coffee. There was more than enough for the two of us. The top layer consisted of fruit — watermelon, pineapple and grapes. The middle level was filled with custom-made sandwiches (two Taiwanese-style salad sandwiches, a salmon baguette and a sliced beef open sandwich). The bottom layer was the most decadent, filled with various tartlets, cheesecake slices, cakes, a profiterole and scones. The scones were different from the fresh-baked variety I am used to in Australia: they were denser, but sweeter and I am sure I tasted a hint of lemon. But no whipped cream or jam (probably a good thing given the calories involved, but part of me still thought something was missing).
Although it was school holidays, the restaurant was almost deserted. It was relaxing, sitting listening to piped classical muzak and sipping tea while reading the magazines and gazing out past the water features next to the restaurant.
The Evergreen Hotel is on the Taipei-side of Jiaoxi. We did not stay there to soak in their hot springs, preferring instead the Japanese designed Forest Baths across the road (like the restaurant, there was also hardly one there — who said that Taiwan is always crowded?) But apparently the Evergreen Hotel does a very good package of two hours in a private room plus afternoon tea for NT$1,800. Maybe next time.