The English tradition of high tea has become a much-loved afternoon ritual across Singapore. The EL team sat down to a leisurely cuppa, along with tartlets, sandwiches, scones and much more to bring you our thoughts on some of the best afternoon high teas at top hotels on Orchard Road and beyond – from the strawberry-inspired to the floral-themed!
The best high teas in Singapore
High tea at Lobby Lounge, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel
Tea time: Mondays to Thursdays, 3pm to 5.30pm; Fridays to Sundays, 2pm to 3.30pm and 4pm to 5.30pm
Price: From $48 per person including free-flow TWG teas and coffee
Spill the tea: A leisurely Tropical Summer Afternoon Tea in Singapore? Don’t mind if we do! With a classic three-tier stand and English scones, the high tea all seemed rather traditional at Lobby Lounge on Orchard Road – that is, until the caviar (yup, you read that right) turned up on its own mini tray of ice! It’s a big hit with just the tiniest dollop on blinis with egg, potato salad or sour cream. It pairs perfectly with a flute of champagne (included as part of the weekend afternoon tea).
Lobster croquette and mini quiches led the way for delicious savouries, while the sweet stuff included a crunchy maple pecan danish, passionfruit éclair and key lime meringue tart. These were beautifully decorated with white chocolate butterflies and flowers – as enjoyable to look at as to nibble on!
Add a huge choice of TWG tea (my favourite) and a good cappuccino, and it was an enjoyable afternoon spent in style with friends having high tea on Orchard Road.
– Jacqui Young
Lobby Bar, Sheraton Towers Singapore
Tea time: Daily, 2pm to 5pm
Price: From $58 per person
Spill the tea: There’s a new high tea in town: the Botanical Afternoon Tea in the lobby of Sheraton Towers hotel in Singapore. Beautifully created with real flowers and hints of local flavours like pandan and curry leaf, it’s not often that you love everything on the menu at an afternoon tea.
We politely declined the Moscato at first – it was a weekday, after all – but then promptly changed our minds. And we’re so glad we did. It was perfectly chilled and bubbly, and slipped down very easily, thank you very much!
We started with the savouries, which were just incredible – from the Black Forest ham sandwiches to the tempeh with edamame whirls, and little crab meat cups with curry leaf garlic aioli. There’s always room for just a little bit more!
Next, we tried the buttermilk scones – one an original raisin version, and another with pandan and coconut – loaded with a dollop of clotted cream and home-made Roselle jam.
After a pause for cups of TWG tea and coffee, we tackled the sweets – not that we needed much persuasion! The chilli padi caraibe had no hint of spice among the chocolate crunch until a little kick just at the end of the mouthful! The beautifully made chocolates, with different textures and flavours, were another hit.
The décor is average, but there’s a huge waterfall towards the rear of the lobby, and the food and staff were exceptional and more than compensated. It’s also a fair price for a lovely couple of hours of chit-chat and delicious high tea pickings with a friend at this hotel near Orchard Road.
– Rebecca Bisset
High tea at Alley on 25, Andaz Singapore
Tea time: Daily, 3pm to 5pm
Price: From $42 per person
Spill the tea: Strawberry is the star of the show at the Alley Tea-Scape Strawberry Edition. Until 30 June, this 25th-storey restaurant in Singapore is putting on an indulgent afternoon tea spread with Australian strawberries at the heart of its artisanal creations.
One of my favourite morsels was the Strawberry Yuzu Eclair. This elevated rendition of the classic saw airy choux pastry generously filled with yuzu cream and topped with strawberries. There’s also a divine Strawberry Shortcake that reveals layers of velvety vanilla Chantilly cream and buttery shortbread, and a Sakura Strawberry Lollipop, with a sweet, floral flavour. Another showstopper is the Hokkaido Milk Panna Cotta with Strawberry Cloud. The milk provides a rich and creamy texture, while the “cloud” balances things with a fruity tone.
Alongside freshly brewed coffee and a selection of teas (TWG teas, in this case), no teatime is complete without scones with jam and clotted cream. At Alley on 25, the classic afternoon tea dish is updated with ground pistachios and strawberry crisps. Freshly baked and served warm, the scones were soft and buttery on the inside with a flaky exterior.
For savouries, we enjoyed the Gravlax Bagel served with cured salmon and herbed cream cheese, alongside creamy Chicken Vol-au-vent, grilled with herbs and combined with bacon, bell peppers, and cream cheese. We also tried the Brie Sandwich, a vegan dish featuring granny smith apple and hot honey mustard.
– Deepa Chevi
High tea at D9 Cakery, Voco Orchard Singapore
Tea time: Mondays to Saturdays, 2pm to 5pm; Sundays, 3pm to 5pm
Price: From $44 per person
Spill the tea: Cameras at the ready! This is possibly the prettiest afternoon tea I’ve seen in Singapore. Award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Edwin Leow incorporates flowers, fruit, spices and floral and citrus flavours into the dainty edibles. The hotel’s high tea menu is a nod to Orchard Road’s heritage of fruit orchards, pepper farms and nutmeg plantations.
Served within the stylish Opus Bar & Grill on Orchard Road, the high tea’s sweet treats are presented in a golden three-tiered bird cage, while the savoury bites, each sprinkled with flower petals, are served on a separate wooden slate.
We tucked into the signature rose and lychee macaron, madeleines infused with lemon and lavender and sprinkled with dried lavender, foie gras mousse in a cacao tart topped with black truffle, and cherry and hibiscus flower gelee.
Our favourites? The sudachi meringue tart with toasted meringue, and a citrus sphere made of orangeinfused Bavarian, orange coulis, zesty curd and almond sable. Special mention, too, to the decadent replica of Mavis, the hotel mascot, made from ivory chocolate mousse, and an Opus pot-plant creation that looked almost too good to eat!
Loose leaf classics by TWG are available, but we opted for the flower blooming teas. The tea is bundled into a bouquet and, when steeped in hot water, it starts to bloom. It was mesmerising to watch the Enchanted Beauty tea reveal an amaranth flower within the glass teapot.
We continued taking photos and chit-chatting long after our table was cleared.
– Patricea Chow
Atrium Lounge, Pan Pacific Singapore
Tea time: Daily, 1pm to 3pm and 4pm to 6pm
Price: From $68 per person including a pot of TWG tea or a cup of Lavazza coffee; add $20 for a glass of Taittinger Brut Réserve champagne
Spill the tea: Fresh from a recent refurbishment of the hotel, the iconic pods at the Atrium Lounge now sport new upholstery, cushions, carpet flooring and marble-topped tables, and provide the same private and intimate ambience for afternoon tea. The tasty treats are still served in stands modelled after the pods.
“Panache of Singapore” is the refreshed afternoon tea menu. It includes classic items infused with Singaporean flavours, like chilli crab brioche – a spin on a beloved Singaporean dish. There’s also pandan coconut scones accompanied with kaya jam, a strawberry and coconut chocolate sphere filled with mascarpone, and a black sesame chiffon cake with pink grapefruit curd.
Also on the menu are more classic tea bites such a cucumber roll with dill cream, ham and cheese sandwich with onion bacon jam, classic scones with house-made berry compote and rich vanilla double cream, raspberry éclair, and an assortment of pralines and chocolates.
Although there are nine types of coffee, we both decided to have tea on our visit. It’s afternoon tea, after all! Of the 14 TWG teas available, we chose the Miraculous Mandarin and Eternal Summer blends to match the sunny temps of Singapore. They were the perfect refreshing complement to the bites.
We couldn’t pick a favourite item from the menu – all the flavours and textures paired well together. Our excuse is that the chilled glass of champagne made the food taste delightful. The service was also attentive without being intrusive, which made for a lovely afternoon break.
– Patricea Chow
7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square
6826 8240 | panpacific.com/en/hotels-and-resorts/pp-marina/dining/atrium-lounge.html
High tea at The Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La Singapore
Tea time: Daily, 3pm to 5pm
Price: From $88 for two
Spill the tea: The Shangri-La Singapore has been the setting of many special moments for me over the years, including my first baby shower at The Rose Veranda 14 years ago! It was lovely to return to this hotel near Orchard Road. This time, it was The Lobby Lounge, for high tea with its signature vertical garden wall, soaring ceilings and sumptuous furnishings. My girlfriend and I were seated next to floor-to-ceiling glass windows with a view of the pool and lush garden – a refined yet relaxed spot for a tête-à-tête.
I selected a pot of the signature Shangri-La tea. This Ceylon tea blend was the perfect complement to the indulgent fare with notes of pomegranate and caramel.
For me, the delight was in the detail. A gold-rimmed three-tier stand featured an arrangement of dainty cakes and treats, with white fine bone china and colourful hand-painted Peranakan tableware making for a beautiful table setting.
We started with the lower tier of more savoury bites. These included a seafood otah mousseline and tobiko tartlet and a delicious Spanish tuna with hae bee hiam tea sandwich. The top tier consisted of a rainbow macaron, red velvet roulade, gula melaka cake, and sea salt caramel financier with gold leaf. A highlight was the extensive local fare on offer; ondeh ondeh was a firm favourite, with its sweet shredded coconut exterior and tangy gula melaka liquid centre. I’ve also made a mental note to introduce the children to kueh rainbow lapis!
After the lovely staff topped up my teapot with hot water, I dived into the vanilla raisin scone with jam and clotted cream to finish. Bliss!
– Georgina Hockley
Portman’s Bar, Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, Singapore
Tea time: First seating from 1pm to 3pm and second seating from 3.30pm to 5.30pm
Price: Portman’s Bar Wellness-themed Afternoon Tea is priced from $58 per person. You can complete your indulgence with two-hour free flow of either Taittinger Champagne from $68 or Prosecco from $38.
Spill the tea: If you enjoy indulging in a healthier afternoon tea with a sustainable twist, this wellness-themed afternoon tea in Singapore features ingredients from the hotel’s very own urban farm.
The large atrium showcases one of the most impressive indoor gardens that I have seen in Singapore. The lush greenery and hotel lobby’s stylish design are the perfect backdrop for an elegant celebration.
The tea set arrives in a decorative suitcase reminiscent of a picnic basket. I tend to prefer the savoury bites and loved the way they came adorned with herbs and edible flowers. Highlights included the smoked chicken focaccia and the Impossible meat puff pastry roll. My personal favourite, though, was the prawn tartlet which combined flavours of mango, pomelo and prawn in one delicious bite.
The sweet items included a mouth-watering peanut coconut praline cake with a soft lemongrass jello centre. After chatting the afternoon away, we didn’t want the experience to end and were delighted when we were offered more treats from the Sweet Wagon – a rolling trolley with macaroons and pralines. A pleasant excuse to stay on for just a little bit longer!
All throughout the afternoon, we enjoyed a lovely free-flow selection of tea blends from TWG. In line with the hotel’s nature theme, we sipped on flowery tea blends, such as the Bain de Roses and Eternal Summer.
– Karin Galley
6 Raffles Boulevard, Level Four, 039594
This article first appeared in the June 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
Looking for a tipple instead? Here are some of the hottest new bars in Singapore.