Have A Cuppa With Tim Oulton's Objet d'art

The designer curates antique rarities for Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong's legendary tea sessions


Have A Cuppa With Tim Oulton's Objet d'art
By Appointment July 10th, 2018

Furniture purveyor Timothy Oulton has a penchant for all things vintage. Call him a treasure hunter, or hoarder by his own admission, Oulton loves to get his hands on rarified antiques. He collects, and also sells his prized possessions at Rare by Oulton antique boutiques around the world.

A favourite setting of the English gentleman is the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, in the city which he calls home.

Timothy Oulton is an astute collector of Louis Vuitton Trunks. Pictured is a 1880s luggage in the brand’s iconic Damier Canvas, which was initially designed to prevent other manufacturers from imitating their trunks. All Photos Courtesy of Rare by Oulton

In its sixties heydays, the flagship property attracted the in-crowd, tea-­sipping socialites and Macanese casino magnates. Considered a modern-day marvel in 1963, the 27-storey hotel opened to much fanfare as the city’s tallest building.  The South China Morning Post marvelled over the “space-age” elevators that catapulted guests to the top floor in just 21 seconds.

Today, the ICC Hong Kong holds the honour of the metropolitan’s tallest building with 118 floors, while avant-garde designed hotels are peppered throughout the cosmopolitan city.

But the city’s inhabitants and tourists still flock to the grand dame for its legendary afternoon tea. This timeless ritual presents the perfect opportunity for Oulton to work with his choice hotel.


 A Regency Period tortoiseshell Tea Caddy ( HKD 55,000) adorned with silver stringing lines combine with the white ivory forms a colour contrast to the mottled tortoiseshell. 

“Tim always wanted to find a way to partner with them,” says Lucas Vitale, Rare by Oulton’s Managing Director. They first showcased “Rare’s artifacts for a typical English Afternoon Tea” in Mandarin Oriental in February this year.

“Now we are taking the collaboration to the next level, collaborating this time with his main brand, Timothy Oulton. Rare will also be present in the second collaboration,” adds Vitale.

A Victorian-era red cast iron warning sign features a curved design because it was meant to be placed on a telegraph pole. 

The pop-up experience will be an intimate affair, seating up to 16 guests in modern feather-filled Chesterfield sofa, a classic from Oulton’s eponymous furniture brand. They will be served a three-tier afternoon tea set, surrounded by an eclectic range of antique rarities curated by founder Oulton. 

Slated to be displayed are items such as a1930s silver-plated Dunhill Pipe Lighter, a Victorian-era red cast iron warning sign, and a 1880s Louis Vuitton Trunk in Damier Canvas.

An 1896 Silver and Crystal Glass Hip Flask (HKD 38,000) of unusual design. The bayonet cap over a moulded glass body, with each side, concealed with a silver drinking cup lined in gilt interior.

The food and drinks also deserve mention. Mandarin’s Executive Pastry Chef Yves Matthey specially created a menu of delicious masterpieces. Think decadent delights like Sherry Trifle, Chocolate Layer Cake, and Raspberry Éclair. Savoury snacks will be served too, Salmon and Haddock Fish Cake, and sandwiches filled with Devon Brown Crab with Pickled Cucumber.

 A Ferrari 500 F2-Type Car Model with Engine (HKD 135,000). The highly-sought after model features an aluminum-bodied racer complete with a Super Tiger 20 volt gas-powered engine and Champion spark plug circa 1950’s.

But no afternoon tea at the Mandarin would be complete without its classic —scones smothered with clotted cream and the Mandarin’s famed rose petal jam.

A British Afternoon Tea with Timothy Oulton runs from July 13 till August 21 and is available all week between 2:30 pm and 5 pm.  For more information and reservations, please call +852 2825 4000 or email mohkg-restaurants@mohg.com.

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