Right now is just about the golden age in Singapore for afternoon high teas. English tea sets with a breath-taking waterfront view? Check. Indulgent all-you-can-eat spreads set against a lush backdrop? Check. Local-inspired bites and pastries? Check.
Start the slideshow for the low-down on the 10 best destination-dining spots to hit up for afternoon tea.
Luxed up heritage eats in the landing point of Singapore’s forefathers
What was once the entry point into Singapore, where lamps beckoned boats to the safe shores of our city, is now a luxurious light-filled restaurant at The Fullerton Bay Hotel.
The Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea is meant to evoke the nostalgia of ‘sipping tea and gazing at the horizon for the boat to arrive’, so the menu of eight sweet and eight savoury items pay homage to Singapore’s favourite flavours – Indian, Peranakan, Hainanese and Malay – among others. There is a Caramelised Chilli Bak Kwa Egg Tart, and a hearty Nyonya Chicken Curry With Roti Jala Wrap. Sweet offerings include mini Roti Boy Coffee Buns and a baked tapioca cake in pandan flavour. Apart from these, an array of colonial-fusion tea classics like scones, pandan Swiss roll, sugee financier and bandung macarons are served with a selection of jams and butters.
Pro Tip: The tea you should be sipping is their teh tarik, truth be told, it’s one of the best of its kind we have ever had.
The Clifford Pier. The Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay, tel: 6597-5266. Available Mon to Fri, 3.30-5:30pm, $45 per person; Sat & Sun, 3-5pm, $45 per person.
A celebrity chef’s afternoon tea menu
Here is an afternoon tea that is literally a ‘high’ tea.
Perched atop the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands Hotel, celebrity chef Justin Quek’s Sky on 57 offers a high tea set allows you to sample his signature food specialties while taking in the breathtaking views.
The set begins with a deeply savoury, mushroom cappuccino (with froth and all) and chef’s signature foie gras xiao long bao. The tier then arrives with a selection of gourmet sandwiches, petit fours, mini pastries, tarts and pies. Among these, the popular Gula Java Macaron and the Ivory White Truffle Chocolate are both must-tries. Wash these down with a selection of fine teas and Vittoria coffees
Pro Tip: For an additional $68 (for two) you can pair your high tea set with a glass of champagne each. There are a few brands on offer, and we recommend you opt for the R&L Legras under chef’s own private selection label.
Sky on 57. Level 57, Sands SkyPark, Tower 1, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, tel: 6688-8857. Available Mon-Fri, 2.30-5pm, from $78 for 2 pax; Sat & Sun, 3-5pm, from $78 for 2 pax.
An afternoon tea to tick off your bucket list
A very traditional English afternoon tea is served at the iconic Raffles Hotel. Extremely popular with tourists, this is one high tea experience that should be on any foodie or culture aficionados’ bucket list.
Served in the Tiffin Room restaurant on lobby level, it is the crisp white tablecloths, the silver three-tiered stand of nibbles, the colonial-style silver teapots, the resident harpist and the austere (but attentive) service that all lends itself to the experience.
The menu is quite typical, but everything is well executed – as if you would expect anything less of Raffles Hotel. Classic finger sandwiches of cucumber and cream cheese, and egg with chive mayonnaise are served in the tier, along with hot, crumbly scones in both sweet and savoury flavours like plain, raisins, and bacon cheddar with chives. There are a variety of tea cakes, bread and butter pudding, and even a buffet selection of Asian dim sum like char siew pau and siu mai. Tea (both hot or iced) can be had free-flow, the tiered selections are refillable and the buffet counter offerings are continually replenished.
Pro Tip: This is an afternoon tea worth dressing up for; and it is required of you. Gentlemen should be in collared shirts, long trousers and close-toed shoes. Ladies may wear dresses, skirts, dress shorts or trousers paired with sandals or covered shoes.
Tiffin Room. Level one, Raffles Hotel Singapore, 1 Beach Road, tel: 6412-1816. Available daily, 3-5pm, $62 per person.
A traditional afternoon tea, with a view like none other
The Landing Point’s plush seats invite you to sink in while you enjoy the panoramic views of the Marina Bay waterfront from their floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Their traditional afternoon tea is a fine excuse to while away the hours at this Fullerton Bay Hotel restaurant. The tea set is one of the more popular ones in town, for good reason.
Crumbly scones accompanied by rich clotted cream, jostle for attention alongside a tiered display of finger sandwiches, mini tarts, eclairs, financiers and macarons, among other bite-sized sweet and savoury nibbles. Opt to begin with either a glass of bubbly, or sip on fine tea blends and infusions (several by TWG), which can be had either hot or iced. The drinks are free-flow and the food can be refilled upon request.
Pro Tip: The Landing Point accommodates dietary restrictions and will switch out items for you if you give them advance notice.
The Landing Point. Level one, Fullerton Bay, 80 Collyer Quay, tel: 6597-5277. Available Mon-Fri, 3-5.30pm, from $45 per person; Sat & Sun, 12.30-3pm, 3.30-6pm, from $45 per person.
High tea in a temperature controlled flower dome
It is not everyday that you get to sip on cups of tea and nibble on finger sandwiches inside an air-conditioned garden, with lush flora and fauna for company. Pollen’s Afternoon tea menu is not just an affordable way to sample the expertise of the fine restaurant’s chefs, it is also grants you complimentary entry into Gardens By The Bay’s Flower Dome.
The petit menu of five sweet and five savoury nibbles comes served on Instagram-worthy wooden blocks (excellent for flatlays), and offerings include a braised chicken and avocado butter open sandwich, passionfruit meringue tarts and macarons. They do change these up from time to time, but quality remains consistent.
Tea and coffee is served free-flow, but if you are really looking to treat yourself, a top-up of $38 will grant you unlimited servings of Codorniu Cava.
Pro Tip: There is no need to tire yourself by walking to Pollen (nestled deep within the Gardens), ask for a buggy to have you picked up from the Arrival Hall, and rock up in style!
Pollen Terrace. Level 2, Flower Dome, Gardens By the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, tel: 6604-9988. Available daily, 3-5pm, $38 per person.
A no-holds-barred luxe extravaganza
Aptly named, Tea Lounge at the Regent hotel’s lobby level gives the vibe of an airy tea parlour and their invitingly plush armchairs beckon you to sink in for a spot of tea.
The traditional high tea’s offerings are regularly changed up to keep things interesting for repeat visitors.
Their selection of finger sandwiches come in creative varieties like the Smoked Foie Gras Terrine with Cherry Mousse and Pistachio on Brioche. Also on offer are mini quiches, puffs and pies; pastries like a Creamy Citrus Cream Cheese Eclair and a selection of their signature scones – butter, white chocolate and cranberry – served with clotted cream, strawberry preserves and lemon curd.
The tea itself is a highlight here, with a variety of black, green, fermented and caffeine-free teas and blends by Tealeaves. Come weekends, high tea turns into an all-you-can-eat buffet with sushi, a carving station, dim sum, salads and a live pastry counter dishing out waffles.
Pro Tip: An exclusive offering, the Regent blend tea is a wine-like blend of Indian Darjeeling and China Keemun with golden calendula petals. It’s a heady brew that compliments the richness of the scones perfectly well.
Tea Lounge. Level one, Regent Singapore, A Four Seasons Hotel, 1 Cuscaden Road, tel: 6725-3245. Available Mon to Fri, noon-5pm, $45 per person; Sat & Sun, noon-2.30pm, 3 – 5.30pm, $61 per person.
A heritage-style afternoon tea, by Singapore’s culinary doyenne
If you have out-of-town guests visiting, this is the afternoon tea to treat them to. Food celebrity, Violet Oon’s elegantly upscale restaurant at The National Gallery, serves an afternoon tea set with nibble-sized versions of Peranakan classics and Singapore’s favourite foods.
The three tiered tingkat-inspired stand’s savoury offerings include fluffy steamed paos with spicy-sweet sambal pulled beef, tiny buttery crostinis topped with otak, and dollops of minced shrimp buah keluak and hae bi hiam sandwiches. Sweets are a delectable array of kueh: From traditional items like the kueh dah dah, a pandan-infused crepe with gula melaka laced coconut; to those with modern twists, such as kueh beng kah, served as skewers of tapioca cake in shot glasses pooled with gula melaka and coconut milk.
An additional $7 gets you two portions of their signature dish – the dry laksa. It looks like spaghetti, but ticks all the boxes a good bowl of laksa should: Fresh rice noodles, tofu puffs, bean sprouts, fish cake and a lemak laksa sauce fragrant with chopped up laksa leaves. Afternoon tea is served either with a pot of hand blended tea from The Singapore Tea Company or kopi as you like it
Pro Tip: The restaurant’s walls are adorned with old photographs, recipe cards and letters from Violet Oon’s personal collection. Feel free to walk around and have a look.
National Kitchen by Violet Oon. #02-01 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, tel: 9834-9935. Available daily, 3-5pm, $56 per set (for 2 pax).
An affordable high-tea in the lush Dempsey cluster
This affordable high tea ($30) is one of the best deals in town for an all-you-can-eat spread. More than 30 items are laid out in three-sections, buffet style on Thursdays and Fridays, for your pickings. If you have ever dined at House at Dempsey, you are assured of the quality of the food.
The items change every week, but expect to be full to the brim with hearty eats like sandwiches a la minute, mini burgers and sandwiches; there is usually an array of comfortingly hearty eats like curry chicken with papadums and mango chutney, and minced beef spice tarts with yogurt. House means business with their desserts, so expect artfully decorated platters laden with mini cupcakes, brownies, cakes, tarts, pies etc. Highlights include a sweet-savoury Coriander Butter Shortbread and a Berries Bundt Cake. The meal can be accompanied with tea (coffee needs to be ordered a la carte)
Pro Tip: Try the unique Curry Leaf Brownie, which they make by incorporating chopped up fried curry leaves into the brownie mix and flavoured with sugar, sea salt and chilli flakes.
House at Dempsey. Level 1, 8D Dempsey Road, tel: 6475-7787. Available Thu to Fri, 3-5.30pm, $30 per person.
Tea that is a grand affair
Done up in plush hues with its splendid wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking tropical gardens and a sparkling pool, Brasserie Le Saveurs at the St. Regis Singapore is a special occasion restaurant, and their Grand Astor Afternoon Tea is a fitting treat for any.
First off, their buffet selection of scones is reason enough to visit, and so is the waffles and crepes station that whips these up a la minute. But don’t fill up on the scones alone (although it is hard not to if the truffle scone is on offer). Focus first on the silver tiered stand laden with treats like the duck and foie gras profiteroles, and creme caramel with orange compote. Once you are done devouring everything on it, head back to the buffet for more: Puffs, pastries, mini quiche, sushi and an extensive selection of bite-sized confections. A selection of fine teas is available, among which the St. Regis blend – with notes of white chocolate, nuts, white rose and jasmine – makes for a delightful cuppa to pair your meal with.
Pro Tip: Brasserie Le Saveur’s has a special table within an alcove; as well as a semi-private room that is perfect for a special date, or an intimate gathering of girlfriends. It allows for quiet conversation while still being close enough to the buffet counter. Minimum spend to dine in the alcove is $300.
Brasserie Le Saveurs. Level 1, the St Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road, tel: 6506-6860. Available Mon to Fri, 3pm to 5pm, $49 per person; Sat, 3-5pm, $53 per person; Sun, 4-6pm, $53 per person.
A tea-centric afternoon indulgence
It is a fitting choice that one of the best spots for afternoon tea is at Singapore fine tea brand, TWG’s tea salon and boutiques.
The TWG Tea Garden and TWG on the Bridge at Marina Bay Sands are our preferred spots to indulge in this ritual at. The gilded gold interiors, and opulent surrounds help set the mood for an afternoon tea experience, and at no other establishment is tea more the focus than it is at TWG.
You could have a petit set (the 1837 at $19) of two freshly baked scones or muffins served with TWG Tea jelly and whipped cream or a TWG Tea pâtisserie from the trolley. A heartier meal can be had, one that includes finger sandwiches, a Croque Monsieur and TWG tea macarons ($32-$39).
At TWG several of the sweet and savoury dishes include tea in some form; for instance, the Croque Monsier is sprinkled with the ground leaves of the 1837 Black Tea. All the sets come with a choice of hot or iced tea from their extensive selection. How will you ever choose? The variety ranges from loose leaf teas, tea blends, to infusions, and more. As the tea ‘sommeliers’ for a recommendation, and you will not be disappointed
Pro Tip: A cup of tea at TWG is an education in itself. Want to know more about the tea you opter for? Download the TWG Tea Mobile App and browse their selection, read more about the various teas on offer, and shop online.
TWG Tea Garden. #B2-65, Marina Bay Sands, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, tel: 6565-1837. Available daily, 2-6pm.