Whether you’re entertaining out-of-towners or simply crave an indulgent afternoon with the girls, high tea is always a good idea. Here are some of the top teas to try across Singapore.
The Nostalgic Weekend High Tea Buffet ($48 per person) takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from 2.30 to 5.30pm.
Every weekend, the dramatic 44 metre long bar at Pan Pacific’s Atrium transforms into a splendid spread of English and Peranakan signatures. This afternoon tea buffet is popular with tourists, locals and expats alike, who catch up over drinks and nibbles in the private seating pods that float over a stunning reflection pool.
Thankfully, the items displayed at the buffet line are mini-sized, so you’ll get to sample a wide variety without getting too stuffed. On the Peranakan end, must-tries include the handcrafted Peranakan pork sausages made with Asian spices and herbs, ayam panggang (grilled chicken) skewers and otah quiche, a slightly spicy twist to the Western classic. We also enjoyed the kueh pie tee station, where we got to customise ours with traditional garnishes. For those who aren’t familiar with Nyonya cuisine, kueh pie tee is a crispy, bite-sized cup topped with fried turnip and other fillings like egg and prawn. It’s one of my favourite Asian snacks and I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the version offered here! Chef Nancy Teo heads the Peranakan kitchen, where fresh kueh is handmade, too. We loved the kueh dadar – sweet coconut-stuffed pancake roll – and bite-sized ondeh ondeh, which oozed a generous amount of heavenly, molten gula melaka.
Apart from Peranakan picks, you’ll also find English classics like scones and finger sandwiches. We went for seconds at the dessert line; highlights included the salted caramel éclair, matcha yuzu lychee entremet and Araguani hazelnut royaltine entremet. The assorted chocolate bon bons, which were equally moreish, served as the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of tea. You get to choose two drinks from a decent selection of coffee and teas, but the spotlight is really on the nosh!
Hands down the Pacific lobster laksa, a mainstay on Atrium’s regular menu. I couldn’t stop myself from slurping up the deep and heady broth – this dish itself warrants a second visit!
Look out for Atrium’s refreshed three-tiered weekday afternoon tea set, also available from 2.30 to 5.30pm from Mondays to Fridays. Head to expatliving.sg/wine-dine for our review of Atrium’s new weekday afternoon tea!
– Anthia Chng
Daily from 12 to 2.30pm (first seating) and 3 to 5pm (second seating; until 5.30pm on weekends). It’s $50 per adult on weekdays ($30 per child), and $53 per adult ($33 per child) on weekends and public holidays. For free-flow Perrier Jouët Grand Brut champagne or sustainable wines, it’s $85 on weekdays, and $88 on weekends and public holidays.
Decked out in calm, earthy tones and boasting a classy wooden interior, this cosy spot in town has an elegant yet relaxing vibe, great for a leisurely afternoon with friends or a business meeting. Sink into one of the plush sofas or armchairs and get ready to dig in.
Take your pick from a buffet spread of savoury items and seafood, from cold cuts, cheeses and finger sandwiches to smoked salmon, fresh mussels and oysters. There’s also a hot food station that changes weekly, serving up dishes such as shepherd’s pie and salmon fillet; stop by the oven and pick up warm bites such as the flaky and buttery curry puffs, tasty crab cakes and scones. There’s also a fridge filled with a selection of ice cream and sherbet.
Pair all this with free-flow gourmet TWG tea (from traditional oolong to tangy, fruity flavours), coffee and chocolate drinks from the extensive beverage menu – hot or cold, you name it! I chose a cup of rich hot chocolate, while my mum opted for the tangy Lemon Bush tea. For a special treat, diners can also indulge in the free-flow champagne and wine option.
And, that’s not all – sweet delights arrive on a two-tiered stand, featuring a selection of yummy, bite-sized desserts such as macarons, tropical fruit panna cotta, opera cake, apple cinnamon crumble tart and a good mix of berries. Different items are introduced every couple of weeks, particularly for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Best of all, it’s refillable so you can have a second (or third!) helping of your favourite treat.
I enjoyed the crispy crab cakes (generously packed with tasty crab meat), while my mum sang the praises of the apple crumble tart.
– Lindsay Yap
The regular five-course Capella Tea Experience is served Monday to Thursday at Chef’s Table, and Friday at The Knolls (3-5pm, from $45). A Wellness Tea Time is offered on Friday at Chef’s Table (with a focus on plant-based, gluten- and refined sugar-free food), and an Oriental Dim Sum Afternoon Tea on weekends and public holidays at Cassia.
I chose the regular five-course afternoon tea, which isn’t a tiered high tea nor a buffet feast, but rather a “Tea Experience”. The food is presented in a sequence of savoury and sweet courses, brought to the table, with the purpose of guests enjoying each little crafted combination, presented artfully in fine detail yet with an explosion of flavor. A wide selection of teas is on offer, too, and can be selected from a box of fragrant samples (including, among others, Morgentau, Oolong, Verveine, Masala Chai, Darjeeling and Breakfast Tea). A charming touch is the miniature capsule of tea leaves that guests are sent home with, as a reminder of the experience.
My favourite was the foie gras sandwich with candied walnut, served in a little finger-sized bun. The winter melon topped with salmon mousse, yuzu pearls and salmon roe was a light addition of complementary flavors. And the croque monsieur took on an original twist combining chicken satay and cheese in a crisply toasted mini sandwich.
Make the most of this venue by sitting outside where you can enjoy the terraced setting, with views over the scalloped swimming pools, tall trees and out to sea. Absorb the tranquillity and savour each course slowly.
– Lara Sage
Monday to Saturday from 3.30 to 5.30pm. Inspired by the sea voyage that the British took to the East Indies for trade and commerce in the 18th century, artefact decorated Colony has a gorgeous British colonial atmosphere with nostalgic vibes, making it the perfect place for afternoon tea.
The afternoon tea includes a flute of Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne or Prosecco that can be enjoyed while your beautiful five-tier ceramic tiffin box is prepared. The box makes the tea extra special! Each layer has something wonderful to try, including miniature lobster rolls, yam puffs with baby abalone, beef vol-au-vent, butter chicken timbale with a tiny cheese naan, and xiaolongbao. All are served with a pot of Colony’s custom Sumatran tea blend – a mix of black and white tea leaves – which can be infused with flavoured syrups; the lavender syrup was just gorgeous. Dessert is buffet-style, allowing you to drool over the warm scones with jam and clotted cream, mini chocolate pralines and banana fritters, plus a wonderful selection of cakes, ice creams and candies. The verdict? It’s a very different tea experience in an amazing setting, and brilliant value for $49.
My absolute favourite was the creamy timbale butter chicken with cheese naan.
– Jacqui Young
Every day (except Tuesday) from 3 to 5pm.
This elegant yet laidback restaurant enjoys natural sunlight in the cool comfort of the Flower Dome – you can get there by hopping on the complimentary buggy at the Gardens entrance. Afternoon tea is priced at $38 (add $5 for free-flow coffee and tea), or you can indulge with a white peach Bellini ($50) or free-flow Prosecco ($78 for two hours). Take your pick from the organic tea selection – everything from earl grey to blueberry merlot to chamomile citron – or have an espresso, macchiato, you name it.
Filled with minced beef, caramelised onions and cumin, the croquettes were crisp and tasty, while the flavourful beetroot hummus paired well with squid ink crackers. A rather unique addition was the almond and grape gazpacho – offering a mix of sweet, sour and peppery tastes. We also enjoyed the egg and watercress sandwiches, chicken and mushroom tart, and multigrain smoked salmon pinwheel sandwiches. There were delightful sweet items on offer, too, from deliciously tangy mandarin choux to a chocolate marshmallow tart, and peanut and currant financier. Light and not overpowering, the earl grey lemon cake was lovely, as was the macaron of the day – chocolate! Crisp and crumbly on the outside but soft and buttery on the inside, the generous slices of scones went wonderfully with the cranberry jam and cream.
The beetroot hummus and unique squid ink crackers .
– Lindsay Yap
Brasserie Les Saveurs
The Caroline Astor Afternoon Tea takes place from Monday to Friday ($49 per person) and Saturday ($53 per person) from 3 to 5pm, and Sunday ($53 per person) from 4 to 6pm. It’s $24 per child on weekdays, and $29 per child on weekends.
Set in the lounge of the luxurious St. Regis, Brasserie Les Saveurs is the place to go if you have someone to impress. There’s no lack of grandeur here; from the high ceilings to the gold chandeliers and plush red sofas, each tasteful detail adds a regal touch to the space. Topping it all off is a live pianist, who plays non-stop during two hours of feasting.
Tea lovers will enjoy the premium range offered by TWG Tea. Our pick? The St. Regis Singapore Tea Blend, a green and black blend with notes of white chocolate, nuts, white rose and jasmine blossoms. This went especially well with the spread of desserts! But if you prefer something boozy, there are options like champagne cocktails, too.
The real highlight of the Caroline Astor Afternoon Tea is the quintessential three-tiered silver stand, elegantly presented and featuring a mix of one bite sweets like homemade chocolate praline and savouries like mille-feuille with smoked salmon and dill cream. If you’re still peckish, head to the buffet line for a varied selection of cheese, pastries and made to-order crepes and waffles. The impressive dessert section featured sinful sweets like tropical fruit tart, bread pudding and chocolate fondue.
It’s a toss-up between the cheese tart – crisp, buttery pastry with a light, lemony cheese filling – and the pandan scones – a fragrant local play on the classic teatime treat.
If it’s possible, request a window seat, which overlooks the hotel pool. The abundance of natural light makes photo-taking a breeze!
– Anthia Chng
The Clifford Pier
The Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea is offered Monday to Friday from 3.30 to 5.30pm, and on weekends and public holidays from 3 to 5pm; it’s $48 per adult and $24 per child (6 to 11 years). Add $30 for free-flow house wine, or $10 or $18 for a glass of wine or Chandon sparkling wine respectively.
Nothing is more fitting than having a local heritage afternoon tea at The Clifford Pier, once a landing point for immigrants and sea passengers. It’s so beautifully transformed, with its original structure and arched trusses still intact, that you would think you’d travelled back to colonial times – and the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows and natural light make for some great Insta-worthy shots, no matter where you sit! A threetiered stand includes an array of (refillable) sweet and savoury delights inspired by Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan dishes. One of the top savoury highlights was the chilli crab bao, undeniably a Singapore icon. My boyfriend and I loved everything in the set; he especially enjoyed the Kurobota pork kong bak bao and wagyu beef rendang croquettes, while I wolfed down the kueh pie tee and a Nonya chicken curry and roti jala wrap. And, being tea lovers, we were pleased to discover that the menu offers quite a large selection of international flavoured teas.
We loved the kueh pie tee and soft-centred coconut chocolate cake.
– Liana Talib
House of AnLi – The Bistrot
Daily from 2 to 5pm.
A friend once complained she hadn’t a single suitable place to take her “traditionally British” mum for afternoon tea, as tea with sushi buffets and chocolate fountains weren’t her mum’s cup of tea, so to speak. Apparently, a pot of good tea with just a few nibbles isn’t as easy to find as one might think.
Or is it? House of AnLi, the beautiful European interior décor store/bistro serves afternoon tea for two ($48) with gourmet French tea by Mariage Frères and a two-tiered platter of savoury bites and homemade mignardises in portions sure to keep your dinner plans in place. My five-year-old daughter was enjoying the first “big girl” tea of her young life, and together we sipped freshly squeezed green apple juice alongside Blanc and Rose tea (white tea mixed with Oriental rose petals) as we sampled delectable lemon curd tarts, cocoadusted morsels of dark chocolate and smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese “bruschetta”. For a twist, jam and cream are served with waffles rather than scones, and caramelised mini-canelés replace little squares of cake.
The restaurant is awash in blue and white, and we clinked glasses and mingled – as ladies do – as we imagined ourselves languishing away in a seaside Belgian café. Champagne is available by the glass for $18 (or $98 for free-flow for two), a treat that even the most buttoned-up of mums will surely enjoy.
Lemon curd tart for me; waffles and gingerbread cookies for the petite fille.
This tea is perfect for a special treat with young kids – it’s not too much or too little, and what is served is of excellent quality.
– Monica Pitrelli
Monday to Saturday from 3 to 5pm (reservations must be made two days in advance!).
Afternoon tea at Atlas is a visual treat, not least for the sprawling elegance of the restaurant’s 1920s-inspired interiors. You can choose to pair your set, which comes in a beautiful rose gold two-tiered tray, with either the Atlas Selection ($52) or Prestige Selection ($56), two curated lists that offer an extensive collection of teas from around the world. Or, opt for a glass of champers instead ($18 to $65 a glass), specially selected by head sommelier Mason Ng. I tried the Tropical Straits tea, which contained subtly fruity hints of papaya and pineapple.
The afternoon tea set offers a balanced arrangement of both savoury and sweet delights, including truffle ravioli with gorgonzola cheese, croque monsieur and crab croquette. Cakes on offer include more traditional madeleines, caneles and French-style scones served with whipped mascarpone cream and homemade jam, alongside more experimental treats like the “apple tree”, a green apple rolled into a Christmas tree shape, stuffed with fresh mint and decorated with pineapple and strawberry gel. Very refreshing!
The salted caramel bon bon (55 percent dark chocolate) and the crab croquette.
Arrive as on time as possible for your session so you can really take in the interiors and ambience, especially if it’s your first time!
– Susannah Jaffer
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