Being a former British settlement you expect a few echoes of the British empire to linger here in Penang. One faint echo that shows no signs of dying out is the rather refined practice of afternoon tea or high tea. We recently decided to go a bit fancy and attended one of the cafes and hotels that provide afternoon tea each day.
Macalister Mansion, or rather its cafe "Living Room", is situated in a refurbished mansion. It now contains a boutique hotel, a restaurant and a bar as well as the cafe. Afternoon tea is available every day between 3 and 6pm.
We booked the Macalister Mansion high tea online a few days in advance. It was not so busy that booking was really necessary but better safe than sorry.
For the two of us the cost of afternoon tea was, I think, 78 ringgit. We should have written that down. We were actually not planning on writing a review you see but then we enjoyed it so much that we changed our minds. The price covered a pot of tea chosen from a large tea menu and a platter of food for two people.
Sangria was available. 10 ringgit for a glass, 25 for a jug. If you are going to get sangria get a glass each. We splashed out and got a jug rather than two glasses only to discover that the jug, despite being two and a half times the price of a glass, actually only contains one and a half glasses. It was less of a jug and more of a slightly larger glass masquerading as a jug served with two empty glasses to keep it company. The sangria itself was however pretty tasty.
Outside is a handy paved area just in case you have a young child who won't sit quietly through a long meal. There are plenty of tables and chairs for sitting on (I suppose) although all we used them for was to give Zoe something to drag around.
There is a swimming pool for hotel guests and a poolside bar which appeared to be unattended, by both guests and staff.
The platter of food was very pleasant, both to look at and to eat. There were a range of options, both savoury and sweet. There was also enough there to be reasonably satisfying, although it is hard to ever be satisfied when there are yummy cakes around.
If you are heading to Macalister Mansion by taxi you may have better luck referring to it as MM, sounds like "emmm emmm". We had some trouble finding it but when we finally did arrive at the correct spot our taxi driver remarked "oh, MM! You should have said!"
Our afternoon at Macalister Mansion was very pleasant. There are half a dozen other venues around Penang providing a similar afternoon tea so we may have to make this part of our regular routine. We are happy to contribute to the tradition of afternoon tea in Penang and who doesn't need more tea, scones and dainty little cakes in their life?