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 is pretty much an institution 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.
The eateries 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. Botanical-inspired tea at The Lobby Lounge (InterContinental Singapore)
Tea is best savoured in a garden, but if you can’t enjoy a hot cuppa surrounded by lush surrounds, the next best alternative is this multi-tiered showcase of botanical-inspired creations that have been crafted with herbs and floral flavours. Standout treats include the smoked salmon sandwich with rose jam and herb cream cheese topped with Egyptian Star flower; dried fig and English scones served with peach osmanthus jam, strawberry jam and clotted cream; and the vanilla genoise, mousse de shiso and lychee coulis that’s adorned with an Instagrammable four leaf clover. The set comes with replenishable scones and unlimited servings of ice cream upon request. The set includes two glasses of non-alcoholic Copenhagen Sparkling Tea BLA and fine loose-leaf tea or coffee.
2. All about the Minions at 2am: dessertbar
The beloved, blue overalls-clad creatures from the Despicable Me franchise are the stars of this endearing high tea set by acclaimed pastry chef Janice Wong. Available only from 22 June to 31 July, adults and kids alike will be thrilled by the nods to the adorable characters. Sample treats include Kevin’s Popcorn Caramel Bon Bon; Stuart’s Lemon Tart; Vanilla Custard Mochi; Banana White Bean Snow Skin Mooncakes; Gru’s Bao and Banana Passionfruit Cake. Wash it all down with a frothy, blue-tinged Soda Vanilla Pop. Unleash your own creativity with flavoured paints and edible crayons. The venue will also be transformed into a Minions paradise, with plushies and life-sized inflatables for Insta-worthy moments.
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 prestige teas. Each European-style treat is hand-made to order and befitting of the occasion: think lobster crostini, goat cheese tart, 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. Japan-inspired tea with a view at Skai
Located on the 70th floor of the iconic Swissôtel The Stamford, this elegant venue serves panoramic views of the city skyline alongside a premium Japanese-influenced tea set. Tuck into savouries such a crab crème fraîche with pickled apple and ikura (salmon roe); foie gras with shiso and plum jam in a beet bun; and a shiitake choux. Follow this up by enjoying sweet treats such as yuzu butter tea cake and matcha chocolate fudge praline. You also get to indulge in fresh bakes from the oven, such as sunflower shortbread and citrus vanilla madeleines and wash them down with your selection of teas curated by TWG connoisseurs.
5. Locally-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. 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.
7. 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 – currently it’s an array of delectable European-style delights such as crab meat with caviar herb roll; black cod with edamame tart; and salmon gravlax with beetroot cream cheese and trout roe. Sweets include a Nespresso cocoa macaron and raspberry confit pot with rose tea creme. More than 30 types of loose tea leaves are available with your set, and for $10 more, you can add an amuse bouche.
8. An experience inspired by Japan at Mo Bar (Mandarin Oriental)
Similar to Skai, this unique and limited set pays homage to “the land of the rising sun” with treats infused with Japanese flavours and ingredients. Think smoked salmon with Hokkaido milk bread; breaded prawn with shiso puff pastry; and soy ginger glazed chicken tortilla for savouries. To satisfy your sweet tooth, enjoy a hojicha roll and baked cheesecake with yuzu chiboust. The set comes with rare teas sourced from Asia’s tea-growing regions, and you can also pay a fee to add a cocktail, mocktail or glass of champagne.
9. A taste of Singapore at Arteastiq
For a truly Singaporean experience enjoyed in plush, elegant surroundings, the National Treasures set at both its 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.
10. Spring Garden-theme at Tea Lounge (Regent)
Light and bright summery flavours inspired by gorgeous florals and zesty fruit is the theme of choice for the afternoon tea at Tea Lounge. Don’t miss the weekend sessions that are a veritable feast. On top of small munchies such as a mimosa sandwich with Avruga caviar, hay-smoked foie gras mousse with caramelised hazelnuts housed in a cocoa shell, seasonal quiches and scones, you also get individually plated main courses such as a lobster laksa, ocean king prawn congee with dried scallop and goji berries, and a salmon confit that’s marinated with yuzu ponzu sauce and topped with tobiko. Still not stuffed? Desserts are a fruity and refreshing delight as well, ranging from an apricot cheesecake to a roasted almond caramel vanilla tea cake and raspberry white chocolate macarons. Your experience comes with a selection of Gryphon Tea or Illy Coffee or you can top up for prosecco or champagne.
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.