Last Updated: June 8, 2020
Being a Brit myself, sitting down for afternoon tea has long been one of our national past times so I was delighted to find that it’s becoming just as popular right here in Singapore. It’s the perfect way to catch up with girlfriends or to spoil loved ones on a special occasion.
Quite frankly, there is nothing more sophisticated than taking two hours out of the day to sip tea from a bone china cup whilst nibbling on crustless sandwiches. Ah, the tai tai life.
For me, afternoon tea must be served at the table (no buffets allowed) and scones with clotted cream and jam must feature — that’s the true English way of having tea. With that in mind, I went in search of the best afternoon high teas that Singapore has to offer and my current favourite spots to indulge in this most glorious of afternoon rituals.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a trip to the peace and tranquillity that is Capella. Nestled amongst luscious vegetation on Sentosa, you will feel instantly zen upon arriving here. This is a beautiful venue for a sophisticated yet casual afternoon tea. The staff here are welcoming and made us feel right at home instantly. Service is efficient and discreet.
Our three-tiered serving platter was packed with delicate bites, all of which were perfectly formed and a real treat to eat. The sweets, in particular, were flawless and picture perfect. Though it’s not only the food that stands out here, the tea list is extensive and features solely Gryphon brews. Your pot really will runneth over, our waitress kept us topped up regularly.
Beautiful venue, delicious tea, elegant savouries and sweets – this is a perfect afternoon tea suitable for any occasion.
Expected damage: S$39.90++ per pax
The Knolls at Capella: 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098297 | Tel: +65 6591 5046 | Website
Afternoon tea hours: 3pm – 5pm (Mon to Sun) (tea is served at Cassia on Sat, Sun & public holidays)
For the stylish and uber chic, afternoon tea at Anti:dote will be right up your street. The interior is modern and sumptuous, think velvet sofas, interesting light installations and clean lines.
Tea begins on a high note with truffle scrambled egg served in its shell, accompanied by two ‘soldiers’ to dip. This is followed by the arrival of a treat-laden jewellery box – certainly a contender for the coolest presentation award — each draw will reveal yet more delights for you to nibble on whilst you sip your Earl Grey tea.
Every savoury bite, scone and sweet treat is perfectly put together and tastes sublime. This is the ideal venue for a girlie afternoon, but don’t let the fun stop there — why not hang around for a cocktail at the bar as day turns into night? Just be sure to make reservations ahead of time as they don’t accept walk-ins.
Expected damage: S$45++ per pax (adults), S$15++ per pax (kids)
Anti:Dote: 80 Bras Basah Rd, Fairmont, #01-00, Singapore 189560 | Tel: + 65 6431 5315 | Website
Afternoon tea hours: 3pm – 5pm (Mon to Thurs), 12pm – 2pm & 3pm – 5pm (Fri to Sun)
Whilst the venue might be a little uninspiring, this tea makes our afternoon tea list for several very good reasons. Firstly, it’s great value. Working out at S$19++ per person, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything of the same quality elsewhere.
Secondly, Lime sticks to British tradition and serves sandwiches sans crust — for the tea aficionados, you’ll appreciate just how important that is.
Thirdly, not only were we served scones that were regular-sized, but they also came out warm. The joy of spreading clotted cream on a scone fresh out the oven should never be underestimated.
This is the perfect spot for a low key afternoon tea with friends, at this price there’s really no point waiting for a special occasion to indulge.
Expected damage: $52++ per set (serves 2 people)
Lime at PARKROYAL on Pickering: 3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore 058289 | Tel: +65 6809 8899 | Website
Afternoon Tea hours: 3pm – 6pm (Daily)
Tea at the Mandarin Oriental is an elegant affair, the interior is classy and stylish whilst a live pianist adds to the air of sophistication. If you are trying to impress your mother-in-law, or your own mother for that matter, you can’t go far wrong with tea at MO Bar.
Over the course of two hours, we ate our way through a five-course tea, beginning with two savoury courses, the obligatory scone, pastries and pies, then a charming tier of beautiful sweet treats. To celebrate SG50, the team here switched up the menu to reflect local flavours, and continue to switch the menu on a monthly basis to showcase different cuisines and themes.
Fear not, more traditional tea items were not forgotten, scones were served accompanied by a tangy lemon butter, sweet raspberry jam and clotted cream. Whilst some of our savoury items were a little lacking in flavour, the atmosphere and excellent service made up for it.
Expected damage: S$42 per pax or S$80 for two
Axis Bar at The Mandarin Oriental: 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square, Singapore 039797 | Tel: +65 6885 3500 | Website
Afternoon tea hours: 3pm – 5pm (Daily)
Set in the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, Pollen has created a unique environment that is a beautiful setting for afternoon tea. The ambience here is spot on — intimate with a buzz.
You can expect the traditional classics such as scones and macarons from the choice of sweets, whilst the savoury options tend to channel a more Mediterranean vibe. Think parma ham and mozzarella. There is a choice of tea or coffee to drink, though we couldn’t resist adding a drop of cava into the mix for an additional S$12.
If you’re looking for something that’s a little different to the usual hotel style afternoon tea’s, Pollen is really worth a visit.
Expected damage: S$38++ per pax or S$50++ with a glass of Codorniu Cava
Pollen: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Gardens By The Bay, Flower Dome, #01-09, Singapore 018953 | Tel: +65 6604 9988 | Website
Afternoon tea hours: 3pm – 5pm (Mon to Sun), Closed on Tues
The Straits Afternoon Tea at Crossroads Bar offers an assortment of Nyonya savouries such as the petite Braised Pork Belly in Steam Leaf Bun, Otak Otak on Toast and Sambal Ayam Panggang Sandwich entices, along with Pandan Chiffon Cake, Kueh Lapis and a selection of homemade Nyonya Kueh.
An English Afternoon Tea is also available and features Homemade Buttermilk Raisin & Plain Scones With Jam And Cornish Clotted Cream, an assortment of sandwiches such as Smoked Salmon & Dill, Ham & Mustard, and French pastries, macaroons and tarts.
Expected damage: S$38++ per pax
Afternoon tea hours: 3pm – 5.30pm (Daily)
For those with a smaller appetite who struggle to polish off a full-on afternoon tea, why not try this stripped back version of events? Featuring a selection of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and a choice of two heavenly cupcakes it’s an ideal way to enjoy the tea tradition without over-indulging. In my view, these are all the best bits anyway.
Coming in at S$19++ per person this is perhaps also a more budget-friendly way to treat yourself and after a hard day’s shopping, this is a delightful way to recharge. The tea is also exclusively Gryphon and two pots are included in the set price.
The Marmalade Pantry is ideal for an impromptu outing when only an afternoon tea will do.
Expected damage: S$38 per set (serves 2)
The Marmalade Pantry: 8 Sinaran Drive, Oasia Hotel Novena, #01-02/04, Singapore 307470 | Tel: +65 6734 2700 | Website
Afternoon tea hours: 3pm – 6pm (Daily)
This is a no fuss with all the frills affair, crustless sandwiches, Earl Grey, classic British sweet treats — mini Victoria sponge anyone? — and savoury delights that are executed with flair. All of this and it’s presented on the most beautiful crockery, what more could you possibly ask for? Oh yes, a beautiful setting, Flutes delivers on that front too.
For a birthday treat with all of your friends, this would be the perfect afternoon tea experience.
Expected damage: S$50++ per pax (minimum booking of 10 people)
Flutes: 93 Stamford Road, National Museum of Singapore, #01-02, Singapore 178897 | Tel: +65 6338 8770 | Website
Afternoon tea hours: From 3pm (Daily)
For afternoon tea with a twist, the Singapore Heritage tea at Clifford Pier combines the best features of a classic tea with local flavours and inspiration. Located within The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, this elegant dining room is a modern, cool space in which to unwind and relax.
We love how authentic Singaporean flavours, such as chilli crab and kaya, had been incorporated into this tea set and sat beautifully alongside the more traditional scones and macarons. The triple-tiered display also makes for an impressive arrival at the table.
Another tea that would be suitable for any occasion, and provides a welcome twist on a classic.
Expected damage: S$38 per pax
Clifford Pier: 80 Collyer Quay, The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, Singapore 049326 | Tel: +65 6333 8388 | Website
Afternoon tea hours: 3.30pm – 5.30pm (Mon to Fri), 3pm – 5pm (Sat & Sun and public holidays)
I know I said no buffets so this is slightly cheating, however, afternoon tea at 10 Scotts was so much fun I had to include it (granted, it’s a semi-buffet affair).
If you’ve been trying to get your husband, boyfriend or, come to think of it, any man to join you for an afternoon tea to no avail, 10 Scotts might just be the place to tempt them with. This feast is not for the meagre and you’ll need a man-sized appetite to do it justice.
Starting with a set containing hearty servings of scones, macarons and four savoury options, you are then invited to make your way to the buffet section to indulge in an array of cheese and cold cuts plus numerous cakes and sweet items. Be sure to save room for the ‘main’ course — flambéed steak, no less.
Whilst this is on the pricier end of the scale you certainly get your monies worth, and the food quality is high. To truly indulge yourself I recommend going all out with the champagne option, the free flow is generous and make for an extra special treat.
Expected damage: S$43 per pax or S$75 including free flow champagne (Mon to Fri), S$53 per pax or S$85 with free flow champagne (Sat & Sun)
10 Scotts: 10 Scotts Road, The Grand Hyatt, Singapore 228211 | Tel: +65 6732 1234 | Website
Afternoon tea hours: 12pm – 2.30pm & 3pm – 5pm (Mon to Fri), 3pm – 5.30pm (Sat & Sun)