Lime Lounge sets the stage for a refreshingly different kind of tea service.

Dress for casual elegance; hats encouraged. It’s teatime at Stage Restaurant’s Lime Lounge…

Mad hatters, be warned; Stage’s Afternoon Low Tea with a Twist of Lime warps aristocratic social hour into a contemporary—and deliciously amusing—occasion.

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Staged in Honolulu Design Center’s voguish Lime Lounge, the affair is anything but lowbrow; discerning between ‘high’ and ‘low’ tea lean not on social rank, but rather the height of the table and service hour. Low tea stems from the British tradition of afternoon tea served on low coffee or parlor tables, while high tea was presented on standard dining tables as an evening meal.

Borrowing methods from the English import, executive chef Ron de Guzman, pastry chef Cainan Sabey and tea aficionado Michele Henry of Tea at 1024, teamed with Thomas Sorensen of HDC to conceptualize an authentic tea experience with a modern culinary twist.

Having made a grand entrance to the après-lunch scene in May, Low Tea’s centerpiece is the drink itself. Henry surveyed the globe to uncover the highest-quality, rare blends with social conscious. Its standouts, White Passion and Blue Lady, were selected from Henry’s private tasting in Rome’s Babington Tea Room. White Passion is a high-grade white Kenyan brew that beautifully marries peach, pear and exotic fruit essences with dried Pai Mu Tan leaves plucked from Narcissus, a varietal bush. Enriched with rhubarb, strawberries, figs, and tart cherries, Blue Lady is a graceful and feminine Chinese green.

Pair these luscious pekoes with scones, bite-sized sweets, chic sammies and delectable petit fours for a tea with fervor. For $38.95 ($54.95 for Royal Tea with one glass of Taittinger), indulge in three assiettes of finger sandwiches and desserts, accompanied by live music.

Tearoom fare is arranged in shimmering porcelain towers and served with exquisite tangerine bone china. Henry cites the whimsical orange teacups and pots as Sorensen’s request, to match the locale. The heavenly black truffle egg salad and refreshing cucumber “namasu” with dill cream are saporous leads. Airy clotted cream rests like a dreamy cloud between miniature branberry and blueberry scones. Other topline condiments: lilikoi-yuzu curd and strawberry jam. Finish teatime with fragrant honey lavender crème brûlée, dainty cookie butter macaroons or rich Chocolate Decadence cake for optimum satisfaction.

According to Henry, “The ‘Stage’ was finally set: fine china tea cups, silver-plated tea strainers, tiny teaspoons, all the proper accoutrements … the makings of a socially exquisite Low Tea experience.”

If in pursuit of leisure or a twist on passé power lunches, convene around oblong tables, lime sofas and love seats for Low Tea, Wednesdays beginning at 2:30 p.m. Seating is limited so reservations are highly recommended. Gluten-free tiers of canapés and savories are available with advance notice.

1250 Kapi‘olani Blvd., 237-5429 or www.stagerestauranthawaii.com