Afternoon tea @ The Bar & Alfresco, Four Seasons Hotel

There’s nothing more leisurely than spending a few hours on a weekday afternoon, nibbling on dainty bites and sipping exquisite teas in a luxurious hotel lounge.

3-tier afternoon tea set, S$37.00++ per person (this setting is for two diners)

Weekday teas served at hotels are generally divided into two kinds: high tea buffet or 3-tier afternoon tea. If what you want is the traditional English experience, the 3-tier Classic Afternoon Tea (S$37++) at Four Seasons Hotel is a good place to go.

Fresh finger sandwiches

We were told that the afternoon tea items are rotated every two months or so. The current menu seems to have been recently updated in July 2012, according to this press release on their website.

Here’s the fresh sandwiches plate. Clockwise from 5 o’clock position:

  1. Maine Lobster Salad with Tarragon on Mini Brioche
  2. Brie de Meux on Cherries, Almond and Linseed Toast
  3. Egg Salad with Black Truffle on Sable’ Tart
  4. Manuka Smoked Organic Salmon on Soya Bread
  5. Japanese Cucumber and Sour Cream on Seven Grain (center of plate)

We ate the sandwiches first because they tend to dry out quickly.

Especially memorable were the lobster salad brioche and brie on toast, which was like a thinly sliced biscotti. The Manuka smoked salmon was also delicious.

Pastries & tea cakes

While the sandwiches were well-made, we were even more impressed by the pastries and desserts, which are creations of renowned pastry chef Audrey Yee from Wisconsin, USA.

Clockwise from 7 o’clock position:

  1. Yuzu and Ume Chibouste
  2. Dark Cherry Almond Frangipane
  3. “Prince de Bretagne” Strawberry Macaron
  4. Kumquat Citrus Tart
  5. Chocolate Cremeux with Crunchy Organic Cocoa Nibs
  6. Rhubarb Compote with Vanilla Panna Cotta (in shooter glass)

Simple they may look, but the pastries are definitely a case of substance over style. They were all remarkably well-made, and each item stood out with its own distinctive taste and texture.

I’m not a big fan of macarons, but I was won over by the strawberry macaron. Silky and rich, the little chocolate cremeux (fancy French name for “cream”, but it’s firmer than a mousse) was perfectly paired with a base of cocoa nibs cookie. The combination of smooth, airy panna cotta and subtly tart rhubarb compote was another winner.

Vanilla & cranberry scones, served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry & rose petal jam

We were also surprised by how gorgeous their scones are. Usually, the scones I get are rather dense and dry. But the buttermilk scones here are so airy, moist, and melt-in-the-mouth! Perhaps it also helped that we asked for the scones to be reheated and served hot.

The homemade rose petal and strawberry jam was also exceptional. If they bottle and sell it, I’d definitely buy it!

The petite-sized sandwiches and pastries may not seem very substantial, but washed down with pots of teas and coffee, we found ourselves very full. Anyway, all the items are refillable.

You can choose from a variety of TWG teas and Illy coffee, including iced teas and iced coffees. Each afternoon tea set includes two kinds of tea or coffee and are refillable.

Conclusion: Afternoon tea at the Four Seasons is an elegant affair, from the genteel drawing room-like lounge to the dainty finger foods. What especially stood out were the exquisite pastries, buttermilk scones, and rose petal & strawberry jam. I hope they retain the services of their talented pastry chef for a long time to come.

Four Seasons Hotel Classic Afternoon Tea: S$37++ per person
Available Monday to Saturday: 2pm to 5pm

The Bar & Alfresco, Four Seasons Hotel
190 Orchard Boulevard
Singapore 248646
Tel: +65 6831 7671
URL: http://www.fourseasons.com/singapore/dining/lounges/the_bar_and_alfresco/

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