Singaporeans love their food, so it’s not unusual to see residents here supping on something at all hours of the day. While breakfast and brunch are pretty much institutions here, afternoon tea – a quintessentially British tradition – is also gaining popularity for its opportunity to offer a sophisticated tête-à-tête among good friends and couples in delightful environs.
Restaurants in Singapore have caught onto the trend and have responded with great aplomb. Chefs here are now adding their own creative flair and interpretation to their offerings, with some even injecting some local flavour into the mix, making high tea here a uniquely Singapore experience.
So if you’re looking at pressing pause and spending quality time with a good cup of tea and some sumptuous tea-time treats, below are some of the best places to go.
1. A heartier afternoon tea for meat lovers at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Singapore
Afternoon tea often brings to mind an element of daintiness, with most of the offerings being lighter bites. Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, however, offers a generously portioned afternoon tea selection that’s inspired by their regular menu. Here, steakhouse classics are transformed into format-appropriate dishes like the aged beef crostini and the beef and mustard toast. There’s also other options like the katsu chicken sandwich and the shrimp and avocado brioche. Once you’ve made your way through the savouries, you can look forward to American-style sweets like the New York cheesecake, pecan pie and Key lime pie. You’ll also get to choose two teas from a selection that includes intriguing flavours like Mojito Bliss and Rose Lychee Martini.
2. Nonya-inspired tea at The Lobby Lounge (InterContinental Singapore)
This multi-tiered showcase of handcrafted Nonya treats has been put together by The Lobby Lounge‘s Executive Pastry Chef Desmond Lee to celebrate Peranakan flavours. Standout treats include savoury sandwiches like the jumbo lump crabmeat with grape jelly and crispy mantou, otah and prawn quiche along with sweets like beancurd with brown sugar syrup and a unique bubur hitam cheesecake. The set comes with Tahitian vanilla buttermilk scones and unlimited servings of ice cream upon request. It also includes a serving of fine loose-leaf tea or coffee.
3. Tea with a side of glam at ATLAS
For a touch of indulgence in a charming old world setting, ATLAS is your choice. Your afternoon tea set comes in a tiered rose-gold tray accompanied by a selection of fine teas. Each European-style treat is hand-made to order and befitting of the occasion: think lobster crostinis, corn crème fraîche tarts and 5J Iberico Jamon on toast. There is also a medley of delicate sweet treats like its signature madeleines and banana cream pie. You can elevate your experience with a glass of bubbly, if you have something to toast to (or not!). There are also vegetarian and gluten-free options so everyone’s covered.
4. High tea with freshly pressed coffee and a view at Skai
Located on the 70th floor of the iconic Swissôtel The Stamford, Skai serves panoramic views of the city skyline alongside a premium high tea set that showcases Bacha Coffee. Tuck into savouries such a lobster with apple tzatziki and Oscietre caviar; foie gras with raspberry and pistachio; and turkey with a spinach pesto. Follow this up by enjoying sweet treats such as the Okinawa brown sugar macarons and the Earl Grey raspberry cream puff. Another highlight here is the Bacha Coffee selection which comes served in a Parisian press.
5. Heritage-inspired treats at L’Espresso (Goodwood Park Hotel)
If you’re a big fan of Singapore food and flavours, L’Espresso offers the best of both worlds with a repertoire of classic snacks and local-inspired delights. A new retro-style stall has been set up at the outdoor poolside terrace, where you can help yourself to sumptuous hawker delights such as Nonya laksa and moreish curry chicken served in nostalgic rooster-printed tableware and crockery. Also not to be missed are dishes such as crispy carrot cake with XO sauce and fusion sandwiches such as chicken “bak kwa” with cheddar cheese and otak-otak and egg sandwich. Desserts include a rich and creamy chendol panna cotta as well as a roving trolley featuring three types of pastry pops. Pair your food with a bevy of beverages, including classic and unique blend of TWG teas, iced lemon tea and hot chocolate.
6. A celebration of English flavours at Tea Lounge (Conrad Singapore Orchard)
The afternoon tea culture of Edinburgh takes centre stage at Tea Lounge. At this veritable feast you can expect a decadent selection of scones, classic savouries and tempting sweets that are mainstays at traditional English afternoon tea sessions. The experience comes complete with a choice of two coffees, teas or iced chocolate.
7. French-inspired delights from Tablescape (Grand Park City Hall)
Tablescape‘s tea set is a dainty presentation of fine treats, reminiscent of hors d’oeuvres at a classy restaurant in Paris. The creamy foie gras, nectarine and pistachio tartlet is a nice blend of sweet and savoury, while the buttery sable breton is topped with bresaola, crème fraiche and gherkins for a bit of texture. Move onto the velvet cheese mousse, an airy cloud before indulging in a rich and fragrant almond torte and finishing with a chocolate hazelnut eclair. Regulars will be pleased with the availability of its house-baked scones as well as sesame brioche paired with flavoured house-churned butters. A selection of coffee and Clipper 1872 teas accompany your meal.
8. Treats served in drawers at Anti:dote (Fairmont Singapore)
Anti:dote‘s Insta-worthy tea set has earned itself quite a reputation, thanks to the venue’s innovative way of presenting its pastries and small bites in an elegant chest of drawers. Its theme changes monthly. From 3 March to 2 April, the afternoon tea follows the theme of “Season of Impressionists”. This sunflower-inspired selection is created by executive pastry chef Yong Ming Choong and senior sous chef Jacky Lai and inspired by the works of iconic Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh. Highlights of the selection include artfully plated dishes like the smoked salmon sandwich with blueberry crème fraiche. It comes served on a yellow-tinged saffron brioche with the unconventional addition of blueberry crème fraiche for an element of sourness and a splash of colour. Heartier items include a bulgogi sandwich that’s elevated by the addition of a velvety parmesan mash and a sous vide lobster topped with lemon confit and tucked between sunflower seed bread.
9. A taste of Singapore at Arteastiq
For a truly Singaporean experience enjoyed in plush, elegant surroundings, the National Treasure set at Arteastiq‘s Mandarin Gallery and Jewel Changi Airport outlets hits the spot. The set offers elevated local favourites that will thrill both young and old, such as kueh pie tee (pastry tart shell) with crab stick; otah fries with green chilli sauce; satay chicken with rice cake and peanut sauce; rainbow kueh lapis (layered cake) with kaya banana pancake with custard wrapped in pandan leaves and gula Melaka (palm sugar) custard with red bean. Munch on them as you sip on two cups of specialty teas of your choice.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.