Down to a Tea

Down to a Tea


The sumptuous, multi-course Afternoon Teas at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore redefine this timeless English institution.
The iconic Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is synonymous with old-school grace, traditions, refined luxury  and impeccable manners — “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen!” And the acclaimed Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, magnificently towering over Singapore’s newly-developed Marina Bay, is no exception.  Although it appears an ultra-modern Asian design amongst the equally glittering Singapore skyline, within this 32-storey hotel – one of this city-state’s foremost accommodation options– lies more of the same classy heritage,  understated elegance and top-notch bespoke service.

Thus the setting could not be more suited to that epitome of refined traditions – English-style Afternoon Tea.  Among the Ritz-Carlton’s premier array of dining venues, head to the Chihuly Lounge, an elegant extension of the open-plan ground-floor Lobby.  A genteel drawing room ambience emanates, with a sea  of tables with starchy white tablecloths and fine upholstered chairs, plump sofas and sink-in armchairs, even a resident pianist melodically tinkering on the grand piano. With its stunning curved glass ceiling (which, along with floor-to-wall windows, floods the lounge daylight) and potted plants, it almost evokes a Victorian-era conservatory air.  But there’s a distinctly contemporary Asian buzz about the place too.

Named after famed American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, the Chihuly Lounge’s walls are resplendent in yellow and orange hand-blown glass pieces; viewed as a complete composition, the stunning glass sculptures, entitled “Sunrise,”resemble a burst of flames.  A part of the Chihuly’s  “Anemone Walls” ground-floor installations, it is one of 4,200 pieces of artwork and sculptures displayed throughout the Ritz-Carlton – one of South-east Asia’s finest, most extensive collections of modern and contemporary art.

The Chihuly Lounge also provides “relaxing pauses” of specialty coffees, bar bites and cocktails, shaken and stirred, by an award-winning mixologist. But it is most renowned for splendid Afternoon Tea Sets, fabulously indulgent treats for couples, BFFs, mums and daughters, or anybody looking for an excuse to celebrate life. Eight-course weekday Afternoon Tea set menus redefine the art of tea (and any afternoon tea you’ve experienced prior), such as the “Bernadaud Tea” (SGD48++) and the “Bernadaud Royal Tea” (SGD57++) – the latter inclusive of a flute of Moët & Chandon Champagne.

However, if your waistline – and wallet – can take it, opt for the aptly-named, “Ultimate Bernadaud Afternoon Tea” (SGD168++), which offers up two deluxe additions: En K de Caviar (15g) by Kaviari Caviar Baeri from France and a flute of the finest Dom Pérignon Champagne (all menus are available from 2:30 to 5pm, Monday to Friday, priced per person).

After being greeted and seated in this most discerning culinary theatre, our “Ultimate” afternoon proceeded with a Tea Mocktail which contrasted a snack of crunchy Singaporean crackers dipped in chili sambal. This was swiftly followed by a gracious tea ceremony by equally gracious waiting staff. This being  the Ritz-Carlton, teas high-class German Ronnefeldt (since 1823) is what’s on offer, with 25 blends of loose-leaf tea selections including flavoured green,  herbal and fruit infusions and beauty varieties (freshly-brewed or decaffeinated coffee is an alternative).

I opt for a vibrant passion fruit with wild cherry tea, before moving on to ‘Equilibrium,’ a calming tea infused with eight magical herbs such as roibosh, chamomile, anise and ginseng. Somewhere around this time, although a blur as courses are now coming thick and fast, our Dom Pérignon Champagne and treacle-black mound of premier Caviar is served, which, needless to say, is leisurely savoured.



A rather unexpected Salmon Coulibiac with Sauce Gribiche, presented on the carving station trolley, is swiftly followed by the classic, three-tier cake stand – albeit here, Oriental-style – displaying a scrumptious selection of freshly baked scones with Devon-style clotted cream, strawberry tartlets and pistachio macaroons, as well as dainty, bite-sized sandwiches, which include Parma ham on olive baguette and cucumber, avocado and cream cheese on wholemeal bread fingers.

Time for a “relaxing pause:” at the Chihuly Lounge, it’s not only ingredients that are premium but also  what you eat off of. Inspiring the afternoon tea name and exclusive to the Ritz-Carlton Millenia, the set utilizes ‘Feuille d’or’ Bernardaud porcelain imported from France, including white china tea pots kept warm over tea-light candles.

Berries with “Bora-Bora vanilla cream” followed by a tangy passion fruit sorbet provide our taste buds with a tingling refresher, before a grande finale onslaught of more temptations from Executive Pastry Chef Terence Pang – a sweet selection of hand-made pralines and home-made tea cakes and cookies wheeled-out on the cake trolley.  Phew. This really is the ‘ultimate’ afternoon tea – and I should know, being English.  But allow me to impart some advice: be sure to wear loose fitting attire (although still adhering to the Ritz-Carlton “smart casual” dress code), don’t plan any meals — or, for that matter, anything — for the rest of the day as you’re highly liable  to succumb to a post-tea siesta.

If you’ve acquired a taste for all this, perhaps sample the “Bernadaud Weekend Afternoon Tea Buffet” (SGD56++) almost a beloved Singapore institution on Saturday and Sunday. Although essentially a self-serve buffet, this lavish tea-time is treated as somewhat of a grand affair, with patrons dressing-up for the occasion. “Taste of a Mediterranean Summer,“ the theme running through to September, presents a yummy selection of whimsical desserts inspired by the Mediterranean’s sun-drenched, rocky beaches, such as Olive macron starfish and Rose almond sun-hat cakes. Reservations are understandably essential and remember, all diets begin….. another day.