Author Henry James once said: “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

Afternoon tea is a quintessential pastime. The concept of eating small bites with a warm cup of tea has grown into an epidemic food culture around the world since its introduction in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840.

History has it that the Duchess would become hungry at around four o’clock in the afternoon and dinner wouldn’t be served until eight. She began to ask for a tray of tea, bread and butter, as well as cakes; something to fill the in-between hours. This became a habit and she began inviting friends over to join her.

This break for tea quickly became a fashionable social affair. By the late 1800s, the bourgeoisie and upper-class women would put on the most elaborate gowns, gloves and headpieces for the occasion, which would usually be served in the drawing room between four and six o’clock.

Today, afternoon tea can be had outside of royal houses; everywhere from casual cafes to hotels would have a version. In London alone, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, as well as legendary hotels Claridges, Ritz and Savoy are iconic spots to enjoy the best afternoon tea in the world.

Closer to home, KL is no stranger to some truly exquisite sets. Some offer a classic selection of scones, butter cakes and dainty sandwiches, while others take on a more modern interpretation with canapés, tartlets and macarons. Of course, these always come with a pot of tea (or champagne) from the best purveyors in town.

Whether you’re looking for a cosy corner to hang out with your friends, accompanied by tea and cakes, or need some liquid courage in the middle of the afternoon to perk you up, here are some of KL’s best spots for the perfect afternoon tea.