I have become a fan of afternoon tea lately.
I go to one about once a week.
The Courtyard was actually the latest tea that I went to. The week before that, I was at The Regent's Tea Lounge.
It was rather incidental that we ended up at the Tea Lounge. I had always wanted to try the afternoon tea at the Axis Bar & Lounge at Mandarin Oriental Hotel. There seemed to be glowing reviews about its afternoon tea no matter where you look, so without doing a double take, I booked one for my mother, elder sister and myself on a Thursday afternoon at 3pm.
Horror of horrors!
This was the menu I saw:
Hainanese chicken roulade with chili and ginger?
Fried carrot cake???
What's worse was the second tier:
Spiced sardine sandwich? Laksa salmon corn wrap (do they even pair well?)?? Roti John???
I am no fan of durian but I could always stomach it if the rest were delectable.
I told the waiter that I was sorry but we wouldn't want those on the menu.
The view from the Axis Bar & Lounge was awesome but no thanks!
My sister's stomach was growling due to an absence of breakfast and lunch. My mother's face was lined with a tinge of disappointment. I was not going to give up without a fight. So right there and then, just outside the place we said no to, I called up Chihuly Lounge at Ritz Carlton which was just next to The Regent, but all seats were taken up. I scrolled through the list of '20 places to have a relaxing afternoon tea' and decided that I would give the Tea Lounge a try. I had been to its weekend tea buffet but not its week day afternoon tea. And the polite staff gave me a table for 4.
By the grace of a cab ride, we got there at 3.30pm.
We were shown a treasure box of tea leaves with their names on the bottle caps.
We were invited to take a whiff at the tea leaves to better decide which tea we wanted.
I smelled all and decided that Imperial Earl Grey was still my cup of tea.
I thought this was a really thoughtful gesture.
It is always difficult to guess the taste of tea by just a silly name.
Another thoughtful gesture: a drainer
I was of course pleased to see my beloved clotted cream right in front of me:
strawberry preserve, lemon curd and devonshire clotted cream (what fanciful name for a clotted cream!)
We were first served a plate of appetizers.
Hmm ... the server did introduce the individual items but I can't remember what exactly they were.
I only remember the round bread in the middle had lobster and salmon roe on it. That was delicious.
The one below in rectangular form was a mushroom quiche.
And you have the usual cucumber with egg mayonaise, salmon sandwich and a ham (?) sandwich.
What's a woman to do when the food comes?
Take pictures of course!
The three-tier tea set
It may look small but we couldn't finish our own set.
We had to packet them home!
The sweets at the top (from left) : chocolate cheese cake, strawberry tart, black currant panna cotta shooter (in a cup), pistachio cake
Still the top tier: lemon meringue choux, chocolate and jasmine tea macaron
Second tier: the warm and soft plain and cranberry with almond scones!
Bottom tier: prawn and corn quiche, vegetables puff, cheese straw, chicken pie
I don't know which is which except for the cheese straw which is obvious, but they are all there!
I love the attentive service and the wonderful food.
In fact, it was this afternoon tea that revived my faith in afternoon teas. I was going from tea to tea and felt that each was getting from bad to worse. Each time I went for an afternoon tea, my disappointment deepened.
But The Regent doesn't disappoint.
Lovely! It would be nice to be able to spend 12pm to 5pm there on a weekday afternoon but my non-tai-tai status doesn't permit that!
And price? $45++ per adult. Child's price is half of that.