As much as brunch will always hold a special place in the hearts of us lazy late risers, afternoon tea comes in at a close second. Typically held in the mid afternoon between 3pm and 5pm, it’s the answer to a plethora of (first world) problems. Woke up so late you missed brunch? Some savoury bites will have you covered. Ravenous after several hours of intense retail therapy, but don’t want to commit to an early dinner? Tuck into scones and mini sandwiches instead. Craving for a mix of sweet and savoury dishes, but can’t decide what to order? Get a three-tiered stand laden with a variety of options, and take your time to choose.
A quintessentially British custom, afternoon tea is believed to have originated in England in 1840, when Anna Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, requested for a tray of tea, cake, bread and butter to be served to her at 4pm — because she was hungry and couldn’t wait till dinner at 8pm. She eventually adopted this as a practice in her household, and even invited friends over for it. Afternoon tea proved to be such a hit that it later caught on among the masses, and became a habit for many. Scones, cakes, pastries and — naturally — lots of freshly brewed tea became staples during this midday indulgence.
Today, afternoon tea has evolved beyond its traditional roots to incorporate other cuisines and, for those seeking something more decadent, a free flow of tipples. From a Peranakan-inspired set, to a mango-inspired feast, here are 5 places to check out in Singapore the next time you’re jonesing for a spot of tea.