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.
Pan Pacific Singapore’s Atrium lounge has launched two new afternoon tea sets, one of which focuses on Peranakan delights such as Kueh Pie Tee, Ayam Panggang (grilled chicken) skewers, and Nyonya curry. These tantalising treats are presented in a traditional three-tier tiffin carrier. If you’re craving for traditionally British offerings such as scones and finger sandwiches, the lounge also serves an English afternoon tea. Both sets are available daily from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.
Set in an airy indoor promenade filled with glass windows that let in abundant sunlight, The Landing Point at The Fullerton Bay Hotel is the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon tea. There is also an alfresco seating area, for patrons wanting to enjoy their meal by the marina. Guests can look forward to munching on a variety of dainty finger sandwiches, scones, tarts and pastries, which are served on a three-tier stand and paired with a free flow of coffee and tea. The afternoon tea is available from 3.00pm to 5.30pm on weekdays, and 12.30pm to 3.00pm and 3.30pm to 6.00pm on weekends.
The Landing Point, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049326
D9 Cakery at Hilton Singapore has introduced a brand new Endless Saturday High Tea featuring a range of sweet and savoury offerings. Highlights include freshly baked scones, à la minute Swiss raclette cheese, a live teppanyaki ice cream station, and a six-metre showcase of desserts such as the hotel’s popular cheesecakes. These are accompanied by TWG tea, and — if you so desire — a free flow of sparkling wine, selected beers, and white and red wines. The afternoon tea is available on Saturdays from 12pm to 2.30pm, and 3pm to 5pm.
D9 Cakery, Lobby Level, Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road, Singapore 238883, +65 6730 3392
While other afternoon tea spots tend to focus on a certain cuisine, Axis Bar and Lounge breaks away from the norm with a new mango-themed tea time set. Its offerings include mini baguettes stuffed with crab and mango, mango yogurt scones, and pineapple and mango jelly, as well as a three-tiered stand of desserts such as mango palm sugar soufflé rolls. This is available for the whole month of May from 3pm to 5pm every day, and 12.30pm to 2.30pm on weekends and public holidays.
Axis Bar and Lounge, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square, Singapore 039797, +65 6885 3500
Situated within the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, Pollen offers stunning views of the scenery and Marina Bay waterfront. For afternoon tea, it serves up a range of savoury items spanning cured salmon tart with beetroot yoghurt, braised chicken and avocado sourdough sandwiches, and short ribs on rosemary cheese cookies. Those with a sweet tooth will relish treats such as fruit scones, and chocolate and macadamia brownies. The afternoon tea is available every day except Tuesday, from 3pm to 5pm.
Pollen, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-09, Singapore 018953, +65 6604 9988