There’s so much to love about afternoon tea. It’s the perfect midday respite from a hectic afternoon, where one can unwind and catch up with friends while tucking into dainty scones and cakes. And if you’re enjoying a long, lazy afternoon tea on a weekday — instead of being cooped up at work in the office — it simply feels all the more decadent.
So it may be surprising that few know about the origins of afternoon tea. The quintessentially English custom is believed to have been started by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who was said to suffer from ‘hunger spells’ between lunch and dinner. Tea, cake, and bread with butter became her remedies on late afternoons, and she savoured them in the comfort of her boudoir. Her friends were soon invited to partake in her daily teatime ritual, and this quickly evolved into an aristocratic social event.
Today, afternoon tea has become popular everywhere, including in Singapore, where teatime is celebrated every day in some of the city’s best restaurants. Read on for our picks of Singapore’s finest weekday afternoon tea spots.
(Main and featured image: The Lobby Lounge)
Here’s a good reason to break out your fanciest red ensembles — guests fully clad in the auspicious hue will get to enjoy a complimentary glass of red wine at The Rose Veranda’s latest high tea experience. The three-course set comprises appetisers, a main course, and a tiered display of desserts accompanied by two beverages from the restaurant’s extensive list of tea and coffee. The food menu changes weekly, rotating over three different repertoires.
Highlights include appetisers such as parmesan buns bedecked with turkey ham and sweet balsamic onion jam, and fluffy rose-tinted brioche buns stuffed with tuna, red pepper mousse and caviar; mains like fork-tender sous vide octopus on a bed of arugula purée; and sweet treats spanning tangy raspberry lime tarts, strawberry shortcake, and crumbly raspberry and vanilla scones. Wash these down with the hotel’s exclusive The Rose Veranda Signature Tea (a delicate soursop-infused brew of Nuwara Eliya and Dimbula tea from Ceylon) or the Shangri-La Tea, a fruity blend of vanilla and pomegranate.
Available Thursday to Monday, 1pm to 5pm
Inspired by the Geisha, meaning“a woman of the arts” in Japanese, chef and food artist Janice Wong invites guests to experience a taste of Japan every weekend until March 31 2021 at 2am:dessertbar through dainty Japanese-inspired sweet treats and savoury bites. These include assorted sushi, Kakigori Kinkan vanilla cream, chocolate soba cha monaka, and even a grilled dango glazed with passionfruit white miso that guests are invited to grill themselves in a set-up perfectly sized for the table.
This daycation is perfect for that midweek escape, or just to change up your work-from-home environment for a day. Available from Mondays to Thursdays, the package includes eight-hour use of a contemporary Deluxe Room, between 7am to 5pm, English Afternoon High Tea for up to two persons, and complimentary usage of swimming pool and fitness centre.
Available till March 31, 2021 from 7am to 5pm.
The Classic Afternoon Tea: Tropical Paradise features the bright flavours and colours of tropical fruits with highlights like coconut lime mousse with mango passion fruit compote, as well as prawn with potato and pickled mango tart. To cater to those with a plant-based diet, the Vegan Afternoon Tea (pictured) comprises treats like the raspberry Belgium slice, meat-free barbecue bun and Japanese-style gyoza with ginger and citron shoyu.
Available daily till April 30, 2021.
It’s afternoon tea by way of New York here at the Raffles Hotel — meaning you can select a classic New York cocktail (the Manhattan), rather than Champagne (although bubbles are available), to go with its Big Apple-inspired array of finger food including Reuben sandwiches, lobster rolls and cheesecake. Don’t worry, there are home-baked scones, which are soft, served warm and accompanied by strawberry jam and lashings of clotted cream.
Available Monday to Friday 1pm to 5pm; Saturday to Sunday 12pm to 6pm.
Understandably, buffets will not be available at Tea Lounge at Regent Singapore during this period of phased openings, but diners will be spoilt for choice nonetheless as the restaurant’s Summer Garden afternoon tea features a three-tiered set and desserts served to your table on weekdays. Think dainty sandwiches, desserts like yuzu posset with almond shortbread, and Regent’s signature scones — which taste divine when accompanied with the finest teas. There’s also good reason to come back for more: your second afternoon tea will be at 50% off (use promo code RSTL2ND when you make a reservation via the hotel’s website).
Available from Monday to Friday, 2.30pm to 5.30pm
Weekday afternoon tea at The Ritz London may be an institution that dates back to 1906, but it still is relevant as ever in present-day Singapore. Set in the elegant Chihuly Lounge, teatime at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore comes in the form of an eight-course weekday afternoon tea set that delights with a tea ceremony to kick off the afternoon, and a gilded tea set stand.
Treats include bite-sized beef pastrami with mustard mayonnaise, smoked salmon with cream cheese on pumpernickel bread, chocolate and orange scones, and an assortment of desserts including speculoos cake, and chocolate sable cookies with hazelnut praline.
Available daily from 12pm to 5pm
Atrium at Pan Pacific Singapore’s English afternoon tea is presented in an eye-catching tea stand that resembles the eatery’s floating pod seats. Diners can look forward to savoury highlights such as Jamon Iberico ham sandwiches, red pepper quiche with cream cheese, and wagyu beef teriyaki with Shishito peppers on Pani Puri (fried dough balls) shells.
These are followed by tempting confections like a cherry-shaped dessert of cherry confit and mousse, passion mango choux with passionfruit chocolate, and no-bake cheesecake with Muscat grapes from France. Cap these off with refreshing cold brew infusions such as Earl Grey tea infused with orange, cinnamon and ginger, or a spiced nitro cold brew coffee.
Available from daily, 2.30pm to 5.30pm
Take a seat in the gilded lobby of Atlas: An Art Deco-inspired bar which pays homage to the glamour of the Golden Age. While it may be home to the world’s biggest collection of gin, its offerings go beyond the booze — it’s home to one of Singapore’s most decadent weekday afternoon tea experiences. Choose between the Atlas or Prestige sets; the key difference lies in the exclusivity of its tea blends. Both are served on rose gold tiered stands, with dainty delights like savoury crushed peas and parmesan sable, lobster crostini, and 5J Iberico Jamon on toast, which encompasses premium hams spread on a bed of crushed tomatoes, and brown butter scones paired with mascarpone and raspberry jam. The menu has also seen an update with new additions such as the truffled egg and watercress brioche and the passionfruit cheesecake.
Available from Mondays to Saturdays, 3pm to 5pm