Amidst the hype for Anne-Sophie Pic’s new restaurant La Dame de Pic and Singapore’s second Burger & Lobster, we have more good news to share about the much-anticipated refurbished Raffles Hotel. As the hotel inches towards its reopening at the start of August, one of the refreshed offerings here is the perennial favourite Raffles Afternoon Tea experience led by Executive Pastry Chef Tai Chien Lin.
Priced from S$68++ per person, we imagine it’s like the extravagant tea parties that were once held in the hotel: loaded with beautiful finger sandwiches, freshly-baked scones, and a curation of exquisite teas and bubbly.
It’s the kind of dainty thing you take someone you want to impress — perhaps a second date (it’s a bit too glam for a first, we reckon) or your fancy in-laws. The restored Grand Lobby, where the tea is hosted, features a number of exquisite handwoven Persian carpets and heritage oriental furnishings with decades of history. The white Victorian columns that you might remember from before the restoration are now more pristine than ever, capturing the sunlight that filters through the lobby’s skylight.
The tea comes first, and we pick from a curated selection of the world’s most exclusive leaves from Mariage Frères. The grand Vert Provence green tea, delightfully floral with ripe red and black berries, is very pleasant. As is the full-bodied black tea (Orange Pekoe Ceylan) with its sustained, yet mild taste. You can also pick from the Jardin Premier Collection, which includes the grand cru black tea Gold Himalaya that’s grown above 1,000 meters.
Served to us on a stunning silver three-tiered stand that’s more elegant than opulent, start from bottom with the little sandwiches: crab and mayonnaise, classic mashed egg, and more interestingly, a squid ink sandwich with smoked salmon. You can’t go wrong with them, and while they are very good, we’re more fascinated by the pretty pastries and cakes on the second tier.
There’s an excellent Chocolate Peanut Bar, a crunchy chocolate-coated hazelnut tart with a pseudo-peanut on top — it’s actually a delicate peanut cream, and we’re told it’s inspired by the iconic Long Bar where guests would toss peanut shells on the floor. It’s apparently still a thing, if you feel like littering legally. Then, the classic French Pistachio Religieuse is two pieces of choux puff stuffed with rich and indulgent pistachio cream.
More sweet treats include fresh Raisin Scones with clotted cream and rose petal jam, and the Coconut Mango Passion Fruit Verrine, an intricate dessert layering coconut panna cotta, mango jelly, and a passionfruit ravioli that bursts. Dig all the way down, because how else would you eat verrine? If you fancy a bubbly glass of champagne — the Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve goes for S$20 per glass — you will get to enjoy additional treats from the dessert trolley that wheels up to your feet.
The Raffles Afternoon Tea is priced from S$68++ per person, available daily from 12pm to 6pm at Grand Lobby, Raffles Singapore, 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673, p. +65 6337 1886.