5 best Singapore high teas
High tea is one of the few practices of the colonial era that has stuck with little controversy, and it comes as no coincidence that the practice has flourished in food-crazy Singaporean.
Naturally, the concept of afternoon high tea has taken on various shapes of its own: traditional, vintage and even one with a touch of surrealism.
Here are five different yet highly enjoyable high teas that deserve a high five.
High tea fit for a French queen, this 26-seater salon de thé would fit right into French high society with its dusty pastel-colored palate, European furniture and intricately made-and-molded sweets and pastries.
Local golden boy and World Gourmet Summit Pastry Chef of the Year three times over, Pang Kok Keong, drew inspiration for this self-owned café from the last queen of France, Marie Antoinette’s extravagant tastes -- she who allegedly quipped “let them eat cake.”
While afternoon tea sets are not on offer, yet, tea-goers can build their own from the 18 cakes (including the Antoinette -– a sleek round milk-chocolate mousse cake enrobed in a dark chocolate and Earl Grey tea crémeux, S$9), 12 flavors of macaroons, traditional French pastries and breads and 24 blends of teas. Savory items are also served, but in main-course portions.
Be prepared to wait in line as reservations are not taken here.
Daily 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. #02-33/34 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road; +65 6836 9527; www.antoinette.com.sg
This is a vintage buffet high tea where the cutlery’s mismatched and the plates slightly chipped.
Piled onto the London- and grandma’s-cabinet-sourced vintage plates are artisan breads, ginger butter chicken sandwiches, truffles mushroom pizza and sweets like a parsnip cupcake, cherry ripe, and Jaffa swirls. While the selection’s hardly vintage, it’s all made right here, and you can go back for as many helpings as you please.
This session’s got another element to it too: retail vendors set up shop next to the buffet. Pick up items like the formaldehyde-, toluene-, and DBP-free nail polishes from New York’s StrangeBeautiful brand while drinking your choice of three teas –- homemade ginger, herbal and classic blend. Tea selections rotate regularly.
Thursday-Friday 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m.; S$22+ per person. 8D Dempsey Road; +65 6475 7787; www.dempseyhouse.com
Pop! Goes the tea at Ritz-Carlton, Millenia, Singapore
If Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol took high tea, they probably took it here.
Chocolate stars, chocolate music bars and a cheesecake overlaid with a clock face reminiscent of Dalí’s iconic work, “The Persistence of Memory,” the art of high tea is taken and executed almost literally here.
Executive pastry chef Terence Pang interprets and serves up a palette of colors, pop art motifs and 1950s style for a contemporary art-slanted afternoon sipper.
More than 30 blends of loose-leaf fine teas from Frankfurt-founded tea company, Ronnefeldt, accompany the modern offerings. The extravagant artistic precision doesn’t stop there: teas are served on Bernardaud porcelain.
Savory-toothed tea-goers will be satisfied too: from salmon with caper mayonnaise and pickled onions in beetroot focaccia finger sandwiches to roasted Wagyu beef ball with cornichons and tomato mustard.
Pity this weekend afternoon tea is only available until November 20.
Saturday-Sunday 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m.; Adult S$46, child S$23. Chihuly Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia, 7 Raffles Ave.; +65 6434 5288; www.ritzcarlton.com
If you fancy high tea by the sea, The Knolls, wedged into the sloping hillside of the Capella hotel-resort compound and overlooking the South China sea, is the spot to go.
Take in the breeze and one (or more) of four triple-tiered tea sets; “Queens -- The Rose Garden,” “Neo-Classic -- The Modern Colonial,” “Peranakan -- The Nonya” and “Japanese -- The Way of Tea.”
The buttery scones served with addictive clotted cream of the Queens set is a winning choice, as is the intense but well-rounded green tea and raspberry profiteroles of the Japanese set.
Some 30 Gryphon tea blends are up for sampling, and brews. The St. Tropez –white tea with yuzu, rose and ylang-ylang is a safe, delicate bet for those who like it more soothing, but do ask for recommendations.
Daily. S$38-S$44 per set (substantial enough for two). 1 The Knolls, Capella Singapore; +65 6591 5046; www.capellahotels.com
Tradition rules at the Rose Veranda where high tea is a relaxing, traditional, and often day-long affair.
The ladies who lunch are known to decamp here regularly on the overstuffed brown leather-backed armchairs, nibbling on sandwiches, warm scones and sliced smoked salmon served on Wedgwood china, while catching up on who wore what to which ball.
The menu’s also got a touch of the local with chicken wings, Nonya mee siam and popiah.
It’s the idyllic atmosphere you’re here for -- the Rose Veranda overlooks the hotel’s waterfalls and koi pond -- so don’t let the 128 blends of TWG teas get you in a frenzy.
Ask for advice from the knowledgeable staff, or if in doubt, the Shangri-La blend is a full-bodied mélange of Java, Ceylon and Indian teas dotted with the aromas of pineapple, kiwi and plum.
Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m; weekend and public holidays first sitting 11.30 a.m.-2.30 p.m., second sitting 3 p.m.-6 p.m.; adult S$38++ - S$50++, child S$24++- S$28++. The Rose Veranda, Mezzanine Level, Tower Wing, 22 Orange Grove Road; +65 6213 4486; www.shangri-la.com