Looking for the best high tea in Singapore? There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as sipping on tea and chit-chatting over dainty treats with your best friend. The EL team (lucky us!) had the chance to try some of the best afternoon teas across the island. Read on for our reviews!
Raffles Hotel Singapore
Tea Time: Monday to Thursday, 1pm to 5pm; Friday to Sunday, 12pm to 6pm
Spill the Tea: I’ve always wanted to try the classic high tea at the iconic Raffles Hotel Singapore; the grandiose setting of the restored Grand Lobby is reason enough for a visit! Stepping into the lobby, I’m first struck by the warm welcome and impeccable service, and then the impressive floor-to-ceiling Victorian pillars – a refreshing change from the tall skyscrapers and bustling traffic outside.
Priced at $78 per person, this afternoon tea is notably one of the pricier options on the island. The three-tier display includes a few savoury sandwiches in simple yet satisfying flavours like wholegrain egg mayo, and my mum’s favourite, tuna. The scones, which frankly weren’t the best I’ve had, were served warm with house-made jam and clotted cream, but the real stars of the show were the handcrafted sweets. There’s a neat selection of delicate pastries, including a refreshing raspberry choux, a delightfully crisp chocolate caramel tart, and a creamy apple-ginger parfait. Everything was elegantly presented, well balanced in flavour, and thankfully not overly sweet.
You get to choose your tea from the “Mariage Frères” menu; my pick was the Orange Pekoe Ceylan, a full-bodied black tea from Sri Lanka, which went exceptionally well with the desserts. Mum loved the fruit tea, a fragrant blend of caffeine-free red rooibos with red fruits and vanilla. Take it up a notch by topping up for a premium tea or a glass of bubbly (from $25).
– Anthia Chng
From 1 June to 31 August, enjoy a special Madrid Afternoon Tea Experience ($88 per person) at The Grand Lobby! Featuring a moreish selection of Spanish bites and sweets, the thematic high tea whisks you away to a summer escapade in the beautiful capital city of Spain.
The St. Regis Singapore
Tea Time: Monday to Saturday, 3pm to 5pm; Sunday, 3.30pm to 5.30pm
Spill the Tea: Designed like a French salon with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the pool area, all-day dining room Brasserie Les Saveurs boasts an opulent but not intimidating space, with high-backed velvet-padded chairs and crisp white tablecloths. The service staff was lovely, delivering food and teapots, arranging them all carefully so we could reach everything. Coffee and TWG teas are on offer; the professional staff didn’t baulk when I asked for milk on the side for my Earl Grey, and instead asked if I would like it warmed.
We had scones with lemon curd and jam, plus a tray of savoury sandwiches, mini pies and wraps, followed by a three-tiered platter of pretty little sweet things – macarons, madeleines, chocolate pralines and a couple of creamy sweet works of art. A warm truffle chawanmushi was delivered halfway through the session and it was delicious! We scoffed it all but were unable to finish all the sweet treats, so my advice would be to have a little taste of it first, and then come back later if you still have room. The palate cleanser of rhubarb jelly with strawberries and a little coulis at the end was a highlight. It worked like a digestive so you can fit in that last praline before heading out into the sunshine. The afternoon tea is priced at $48 per person on weekdays and $55 on weekends. Top up $25 for a glass of Barons de Rothschild Brut NV Champagne.
– Danielle Rossetti
Brasserie Les Saveurs
29 Tanglin Road
6506 6888 | marriott.com/hotels/travel/sinxr-the-st-regis-singapore
Tea Time: Monday to Friday, 2pm to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday, 12pm to 2.30pm, 3pm to 5.30pm
Spill the Tea: I loved my afternoon tea experience at the Tea Lounge in Regent Singapore, and that says something. I often find the high teas in Singapore pander to Instagram aesthetics more than to taste, and they’re also a little on the sweet side for me. The afternoon tea ($48 per person on weekdays; $68 on weekends) at Tea Lounge, however, was well balanced between sweet and savoury – as well as looking beautiful! It came in a classic three-tier tray, with a vast array of teas, coffee and even iced chocolate for your beverage of choice.
Taste-wise, the food was classic in nature (signature scones were included) but with just the right amount of a twist. It’s far from boring, and indeed very tasty. They also offer gluten-free and vegetarian variations to the main afternoon tea menu, which is great. I tried out the vegetarian option, which included quiches in flavours like sundried tomato with asparagus, finger sandwiches and delicious desserts. My personal favourite was the black truffle egg mimosa with cucumber sandwich.
I hadn’t been to the hotel for years and was impressed by the elegance of the space. This place is great for anyone who loves the idea of a more classic English afternoon tea. It’s perfect for a special treat; you feel instantly relaxed and a bit glamorous. And, if you fancy a glass of something, there are alcoholic options like prosecco ($13 per glass, $48 for free-flow) and champagne ($20 per glass, $78 for free-flow). I might explore this on my next visit!
– Michaela Bisset
When you’re making a reservation on the hotel’s website, quote RSTL2ND for 50 percent off your second weekday afternoon tea set, and RSTL58 to enjoy the weekend high tea at a special price of $58. This offer is not valid on public holidays and other blackout dates.
Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
Tea Time: Thursdays to Mondays, 1pm to 5pm
Spill the Tea: If you’re looking for a central yet quiet spot for intimate conversations and laidback meet-ups, The Rose Veranda is a worthy consideration. Tall ceilings, bold red chandeliers and full glass windows set the stage for a luxurious afternoon tea session at the spacious and grand dining room.
The Red High Tea experience ($78 for two people) is served over three courses: four savoury bites, followed by your choice of main, and then ending with a round of desserts. The dishes rotate weekly, so if you’re a frequent afternoon tea goer, you’ll love the variety offered here. We utterly enjoyed the veggie-friendly snack of house-made bagel with hummus, grapes and chipotle sun-dried tomato, and the sweet-savoury starter of pan-roasted foie gras on toast with caramelised figs and onion compote. Among the mains, one excellent (and filling!) pick was the braised short ribs with truffle hollandaise and buttered broccolini.
We were wowed by the extensive tea menu, which features more than 30 premium tea selections, including my personal favourite: The Shangri-La Tea (top up $5). A robust blend of high elevation teas from Ceylon with vanilla notes, this full-bodied tea went amazingly well with the three-tiered display of desserts. The macarons were sadly too sweet for our liking, but the yummy strawberry tart and warm raspberry scones made up for it.
Top tip: dress up in full red and you’ll be treated to a complimentary glass of red wine!
– Anthia Chng
Pan Pacific Singapore
Tea Time: Monday to Thursday, 2.30pm to 5.30pm; Friday to Sunday, 12.30pm to 3pm, 3.15pm to 5.45pm
Spill the Tea: The Atrium has added a unique touch to its high tea serving stand – it’s modelled after the restaurant’s iconic private pods, which create an intimate ambience for a relaxing high tea experience. Currently on offer is a Japan-inspired afternoon tea ($44 per person), with all the savouries and sweets infused with ingredients associated with Japanese cuisine.
We took our time with the smoked trout, nori and wasabi mayonnaise sandwich, and the Japanese egg sandwich and milk butter roll – both were fluffy and flavourful. My particular favourite was the sudachi tart with its tangy sudachi curd. My companion’s pick was the matcha azuki monaka, which balanced the flavours of matcha and red bean mousse in a rice wafer shell. The citrus raspberry matcha entremet, moist chocolate cake and quintessential English tea staples of scones (one plain and one blueberry) also scored points from us.
Tea includes two beverages from a list of TWG teas, freshly brewed Lavazza coffee and hot or cold matcha green tea latte. There is soy milk as a non-dairy option, too.
– Patricea Chow
Don’t miss the hotel’s exclusive staycation package, “A Taste of Japan”, which includes a welcome kit of sakura mochi and red bean pastries, a specially curated set lunch or dinner for two at Keyaki, two complimentary tickets to Gardens by the Bay, $50 spa credit, and an in-room breakfast bento!
Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Tea Time: 3pm to 5pm daily
Spill the Tea: This beautiful afternoon tea is hosted in one of Asia’s 50 best bars. The chic ambience of MO BAR makes it a relaxing experience; with its luxe, comfy seating that overlooks the stunning Marina Bay area, it’s a wonderfully chilled way to spend an afternoon.
The food selection is updated frequently, so you can look forward to new surprises each time you visit. The high tea starters are a great mix of palate refreshers; think tandoori chicken rice paper roll with yoghurt raita, and potato with citrus mayo and chicken floss. These were both my absolute favourites, and they’re served ahead of the main tea stand.
Consisting of a wagyu pastrami sandwich, black truffle egg mimosa (very yummy), and Maine lobster in a mini brioche, the mains were served on a cute stand with a pair of gold chopsticks. Desserts were a lovely mix of a yuzu tart, earl grey chocolate mousse, cheesecake with vanilla crème fraîche, and a pistachio choux. Scones (chocolate and vanilla) were served with clotted cream, paired with orange and raspberry jam. The high tea ended with chocolate pralines, along with a mini dessert cocktail from their regular cocktail menu.
MO BAR has a great selection of teas ranging from its own Mandarin Oriental Singapore Exclusive blend to flavours from all over the world. There’s also an exclusive tea selection available for an additional $10. The afternoon tea costs $48 per person or $88 for two. Top up $17 per person for one cocktail or mocktail, or $20 per person for a glass of champagne.
– Jacqui Young
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Teatime: Midday to 5pm daily
Spill the Tea: While we can’t travel easily right now, the afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton’s Republic bar does transport you to another time. During the quiet COVID-19 period, the hotel has refurbished its East Wing with a 1960s concept – and the F&B pays tribute to the past too.
Republic is named after the independence of Singapore in 1965 and replaces the old Chihuly Lounge. Its new afternoon tea menu presents flavours, ingredients and sensations that remain authentic to a vintage dining platter but come with a modern twist. No gelatin-encased fruit here; my husband and I instead tucked into the likes of smoked salmon, herb mousse and squid ink brioche, vanilla rice pudding and mango lemongrass verrine.
I’m British, so my highlights included the scones, along with the Queen’s Scones Tea Mocktail featuring strawberry jam, citrus and cucumber. I would have liked more savoury options on the platter, but cheese, charcuterie and further chocolate treats are available as add-ons, should your waistband allow it.
The 60s theme continues with a selection of bespoke cocktails from the à la carte menu, available at a top-up of $25 each. We sipped on a Miniskirt – a Pimms-based number paying homage to retro fashion – and a Satisfaction, a warm stout-and-coffee infusion in honour of The Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit. Coffee, tea and non-alcoholic beverages are also on offer and enjoyed to a classy soundtrack of Simon & Garfunkel and Fleetwood Mac in Singapore’s most (unconfirmed!) comfy sofas.
Adding to the vibe was superb service from friendly staff who made our afternoon tea set in a less “pandemicky” period feel like the perfect escape. Can we stay here eating cakes until it all goes away …?
Prices start from $58 per person, or $77/$84 with a glass of Champagne Barons de Rothschild Réserve Ritz Brut NV or Rosé NV respectively.
– Jo Upcraft
Sofitel Singapore City Centre
Tea Time: 2pm to 5pm daily
Spill the Tea: 1864 is the perfect place for afternoon tea if you find yourself in the CBD and want to catch up with a friend or colleague over some gourmet treats in stylish surroundings. The lounge has a modern, laidback vibe. Cute, oversized teddy bears adorn each sofa, bringing a smile to everyone’s face, from corporate guests conducting business meetings over tea, to groups of girlfriends, and families on staycation treating their children to a special “grown-up” high tea.
Priced at $88 for two on weekdays and $98 on weekends, the afternoon tea allows you to choose from a selection of 13 blends of Grand Cru coffee by Nespresso or TWG teas. If you feel indulgent (like we did), you can add some sparkle with a glass of Duval-Leroy Champagne. There is a cocktail and mocktail option too, but we found the selection rather limited.
The food comes in a colourful two-tiered box, a presentation that resembles one of those exquisitely designed mooncake boxes. Included were a variety of bite-sized savouries like mini croissants with truffle eggs and smoked salmon tartare, with an equal number of sweet treats. I was much more drawn to the sweet temptations, especially the dark chocolate tart with hazelnut chantilly and the fried banana mochi, both of which were divine. The scones, served with cream and house-made marmalade, were a bit tiny for our liking.
The high tea at 1864 may not be one to wow guests with, but it certainly makes for a pleasant afternoon away. It was a lovely break from the desk!
– Karin Galley
This article first appeared in the June 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!