More than afternoon tea, tarts and tai-tais
Cafe-hopping is getting old. Sorry to burst your brunch bubble, but there’s only so many things you can do with bread and eggs, and though cafes continue to sprout up (enough for us to compile a list of 20 every month) many are sadly short-lived.
Friends may cafe-hop together, but best friends get fat together. And how better than to have five meals a day, sipping on tea, and enjoying a smörgåsbord of petite savouries and sweets? Forget rushing from one cafe to another – here are 5 afternoon teas in town to check out with your BFF that’ll make you wish it’s always tea-time!
1. Anti:dote at Fairmont Singapore
For the picture-perfect BFFs
Have #foodporn photo ops, will travel. And for the most photogenic par-tea in Singapore, I daresay Anti:dote’s High Tea Set ($48++) is your best bet. Case in point: it’s served not on mainstream dessert tiers, but a custom-made JEWELLERY BOX! Cakery + creativity indeed.
Anti:dote Organic Egg, Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe and Caviar
Kudos to Anti:dote for keeping things fresh, brewing up brand new afternoon tea sets, with two unique themes: The Anti:dote Tea and The Oriental Tea. Both feature the same sandwiches and sweets, but different starters – while the Anti:dote Organic Egg from the former is more popular, I much preferred their selection of Hong Kong dim sum from the oriental themed set, especially the innocuous orh kueh (yam cake) which was flavourful, yet light.
They say big things come in small packages, and here it rings true – the five finger sandwiches and assorted sweets are a delight to savour, and will give your palate a field day.
Presenting the redeemer of every over cloying macaron I’ve ever had. Their Black Sesame Macaron was a real game-changer, nothing like the overly cloying, artificial tasting macarons I’ve had. Best enjoyed with a cup of their Pink Flamingo tea.
Pink Flamingo Tea
Homemade Raspberry Jam, Devonshire Clotted Cream, Homemade Lemon Curd
Another surprising standout came not in a tart casing, but in the form of their sunshiney yellow Lemon Curd, which we polished off with a single scone.
If you’re running low on tummy space, stick to the succulent Boston Maine Lobster, Pickled Cucumber, Dill Brioche from the sandwich drawer, Chocolate Praline and alcohol-infused Green Apple Tartlet from the top.
Green Apple Tartlet (alcohol-infused!)
For the especially hangry BFFs, your stomach may not be full but I guarantee your camera memory will be. Because with a high tea as pretty as this, how could you resist?
Address: Level 1 Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189560
Tea Time: Mon to Thurs 3pm to 5pm | Fri to Sun, Eve of and on PH 12pm to 2pm (first seating); 3pm to 5pm (second seating)
Find out more here.
2. L’Espresso at Goodwood Park
For the wannabe tai-tai BFFs
The tai-tai life won’t choose all of us, so the occasional afternoon tea is perfect to console ourselves. L’Espresso’s high tea checks all the boxes – dainty desserts, ‘prettified’ open-faced finger sandwiches, and tea, of course!
But here’s the frosting on the cake: it’s a buffet. *cue Tupperware boxes* (Just kidding, please don’t).
Known as the “place for elegant teatime pursuits” since the 1970s, their sumptuous all-you-can-eat English afternoon tea buffet is one even the Queen would approve of. Here, fancy is the word – think dishes like Tomato Tart with Thyme Crumbled Feta and Smoked Salmon with Beetroot Mousse & Caviar open-faced sandwiches, and a cold-cut selection to boot.
But the undisputed main event is their Scones – the one scone to rule them all. Paired with Devonshire clotted cream, this is my idea of heaven.
You had better have a second stomach for dessert. Their sore throat-inducing Chocolate Station features a Chocolate Fountain, a Chocolate Crunchy Hazelnut Dome, luscious Chocolate Mousse, and assorted pralines and truffles. Pure unadulterated chocolate-y joy.
Just slinking into their plush sofa seats is enough to make you and your BFF feel like a million bucks, at slightly less than a million calories. Oh well, we’ll fake it till we make it anyhow – keep those pinkies up!
Address: 22 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228221
Tea Time: Mon to Thurs 2pm to 5.30pm | Fri to Sun, Eve of and on PH 12pm to 2.30pm; 3pm to 5.30pm
Price: Mon to Thurs $45/adult, $22.50/child | Fri to Sun, Eve of and on PH $48/adult, $24/child
Find out more here.
3. The Clifford Pier
For the old soul BFFs
Some days you feel like living in the lap of luxury. Others you feel like hitting the streets and chowing down some good ol’ local street food. Well, why choose?
It’s a well-established fact among the local hipster community that truffle-drenched, salted egg-infused cafe grub is now way too mainstream – to be truly hip, we need simpler, nostalgic food from Singapore of the yesteryear. The Clifford Pier proves that you’re never too cool for old-school, covering all the essentials of a self-respecting afternoon tea but with a local spin that anyone from Generations X – Z will appreciate.
Sample Singaporean-fied finger sandwiches Kurobuta Pork Kong Bak Bao and Chilli Crab Mantou, or treat your sweet tooth to their Pandan Swiss Roll and Bandung Macarons.
Even the staple English scone can’t escape the flavours of the Little Red Dot: have ‘em with a side of pineapple jam, roselle (hibiscus) jam, or kaya! Like an atas Ya Kun only.
Drinks-wise, it’s yet another nod to our local delights with Kopi, Teh Tarik and Bandung. Not forgetting everyone’s favourite Milo Dinosaur, making a comeback as the Milo Godzilla ($8/glass), buried in a can’s-worth of Milo powder and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or have some TWG teas, if you wanna act yi ge. (translation: play posh)
Safe to say the traditional English afternoon tea has met its Singaporean match. It’s a win-win for me either way!
Address: 80 Collyer Quay The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore 049326
Tea Time: Daily 3.30pm to 5.30pm
Price: $38/adult, $19/child
Find out more here.
For the BFFs on a budget
The phrase ‘afternoon tea’ alone could make my wallet cry. Having five meals a day seems a luxury exclusive to those born with a silver spoon in their mouths – that is, until Kaiserhaus (German for ‘imperial family’), promising to make all your Downton Abbey BFF fantasies a reality without breaking the bank.
I plead guilty to knowing next to nothing about the cuisine of Habsburg, but with a slice of Austria tucked away right above the Capitol Theatre our excuses are now invalid. Fashioned after the tea rooms of old Europe, their chi-chi ambience, complete with lots of velvet and leather, becomes the perfect setting to nibble on some traditional Austrian nosh.
Tantalise your tastebuds with their selection of sweets including Kipferl, Nussschnecke (Nut Swirl), organic rye bread Sandwiches and a homemade cake of your choice. You must try their Zaunerstollen (specialty nougat), first because it’s the only place in Singapore where you’ll find it, but more importantly the wafer-hazelnut-chocolate mix is Hall Of Fame worthy.
No afternoon tea will be complete without cakes and sweets – chocolate junkies will rue the day they leave without a taste of their indulgent Raspberry Chocolate Cake, or the classy Sissi’s Cake: whisky-infused creme atop a cacao sponge base. Throw in a slice of their innocuous, yet oh-so-sinful Viennese Apple Strudel – a delightful apple pastry even doctors can’t keep away from.
Forget being fit for a King, their high tea is enough to bring even the most ravenous pair of BFFs to the brink of a food coma. To make the most of your moolah, you know where to go.
Address: #02-06 and #03-06 Capitol Theatre 17 Stamford Road, Singapore 178907
Tea Time: Daily 10.30am to 6pm
Find out more here.
5. KPO Cafe Bar
For the drink-drank-drunk BFFs
High tea, sans tea. And at 5pm? Paradoxical, yes, but with Strongbow ciders, jelly shots, half-priced drinks and sinful pub grub – I’d forgive KPO for calling it a High Tea Set in a heartbeat if I were you.
Only available on Wednesdays from 5pm to 1am, their high tea set serves 4-6 pax, so make it a double date unless you’re feeling particularly ravenous. This may be the best post-shopping pub grub deal in town.
Strongbow Gold and Berries Jelly Shot Source
It’s high tea’s grown-up, more rabak cousin – feast on mini sliders, truffle fries, fruit tartlets, sio bak (crispy roast pork belly) and more. Wash all of this down with their super cute shots and your choice of Strongbow cider. Or knock back a couple of martinis with your gal pals at just $8 a pop – just make sure your designated driver stays sober!
KPO’s High Tea is a deal so good it’ll have guys wearing pink, stilettos and wigs just to get in on all the hump day action. Brb, making reservations.
Address: 1 Killiney Rd Killiney Post Office, Singapore 239518
Tea Time: Wednesday, 5pm to 1am
Price: $88 nett (50% off for ladies)
Find out more here.
Time for afternoon tea for two!
We’re way past the era when high teas are reserved for the elite or expats – why shouldn’t we all be able to lounge around, sip tea, and nibble on crustless sandwiches? Bid your overpriced cappuccinos goodbye – with lavish buffets and delish three-tiered stands at your disposal, this is definitely one afternoon tea worth skipping lunch and dinner for.
Besides, a little par-tea never hurt nobody!
This post is brought to you by Fairmont Singapore.
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