English afternoon high tea buffet @ L’Espresso, Goodwood Park Hotel

The short story: Hearty English high tea buffet. Excellent sandwiches, scones, and Guinness beef stew.

The long story: This post is way overdue, about 4 months backdated, to be exact. This was in August 2012, when I was in my last trimester, about a month before baby Meredith popped out! Gee. But I have such fond memories of this lovely tea that I simply have to share the experience.

A fellow foodie friend and I had long wanted to check out the legendary Goodwood Park English afternoon high tea buffet. So, we arrived early, to snap photos of the buffet and also to be the first to attack the food sample the spread when it’s at its freshest. Yes, super excited we were!

First up, an overview of the buffet:

Open-face sandwiches.

The food is spread out on a long counter. The highlight is clearly the sandwiches. Here’s the first platter of open-face sandwiches:

  1. Nicoise tartlet with tuna tataki
  2. Slow-­cooked farm chicken in crepe
  3. Lamb loin with garlic aioli
  4. Roast beef with cornichons

More open-face sandwiches!

More open-face sandwiches:

  1. Poached ‘live’ prawn with pineapple salsa
  2. Brie cheese with grape
  3. Smoked salmon with beetroot mousse & caviar

Finger sandwiches

The famous finger sandwiches. There’s 8 types to choose from. We tried all!

  1. Tuna with celery
  2. Egg and tomato with Swiss bacon
  3. Semi­dried tomato with Emmental cheese
  4. Meatloaf with egg and mushrooms
  5. Smoked chicken with tomato and lettuce
  6. Cured pork loin with cinnamon apple jam
  7. Italian salami with sautéed onions
  8. Turkey pastrami with sauerkraut

Mini croissants

Mini croissants:

  1. Crabmeat with tobiko and English cucumber
  2. Honey roasted ham and cheddar cheese

Smoked salmon & duck rillette

Next is the cold delicatessen section:

  1. Duck rillette with candied orange
  2. Smoked salmon with mini bagel and cream cheese

Vegetable crudites & Mesclun salad

Also vegetable crudites with olives, Mesclun green salad with dressings, and a small selection of French cheeses (not pictured).

Hot savouries

This is a new selection of hot savouries, added to the revised high tea menu in June 2012.

  1. Mini shrimp patty burgers
  2. Crispy vegetable croquettes
  3. Deep fried chicken karaage
  4. Swedish meatballs glazed with homemade BBQ sauce

Whole cakes

Whole cakes like pecan pie, lychee charlotte cake, strawberry shortcake, chocolate raspberry cake. The items may be rotated, so you might get different items another day.

Chocolate fountain

The chocolate fountain comes with a limited variety of fruit skewers and marshmallows.

Mini pastries

The mini pastries tower:

  1. Mango Dream
  2. Espresso Kahlua
  3. Praline cheese brownies
  4. Mini chocolate­ passionfruit curd cupcakes
  5. Bitter chocolate caramel
  6. Raspberry green tea tiramisu
  7. Chocolate banana tart
  8. Lemon curd with red fruit compote

Fresh fruits

Behind the mini pastries are fresh fruit platters.

We tried nearly every item, and here are my favorites:

Sandwiches & croissants

The sandwiches are really, really good. They look unremarkable, but taste delicious!

The finger sandwiches and croissants may not be exquisite in terms of style or presentation, but they are hearty, down-to-earth, and immensely satisfying.

Open-face sandwiches

Ditto the mini open-face sandwiches. Very yummy!

But it helped that we sampled the sandwiches when they were freshly laid out. Another blogger didn’t enjoy the sandwiches as much because they were a tad dry, perhaps laid out for too long on the day she visited.

Guinness stew

The Guinness beef stew was another unforgettable dish. Slowly braised for one hour in Guinness stout, the beef shank chunks are oh-so-tender and oh-so-flavorful! My friend and I mopped up every bit with the accompanying homemade brioche, which was just as delectable.

Hot savouries

The hot savouries are pretty meh, but don’t miss out on the baked pork meatloaf and cheese bratwurst in puff pastry (bottom of plate) from the carving station.

Scones and bread & butter pudding

The scones are also must-try. Available in plain, blueberry, or raspberry, these scones are tall and puffy in texture, quite unlike any others we’ve tried before. They are served with the requisite Devonshire clotted cream, butter, custard sauce, and a variety of jams.

The bread and butter pudding with vanilla sauce is another classic. I’m not a bread-and-butter-pudding person, but surprisingly, I enjoyed Goodwood Park’s version very much.

Cheeses, mini bagel, smoked salmon, duck rillette, dried fruits & nuts.

The cheeses are a safe selection of the usual crowd-pleasers. The smoked salmon is of decent quality. The duck rillette is tasty.

Colorful pastries

The pastries, especially the mini ones, look very appealing. What I liked is that they are light and not too rich or sweet. On the whole, the cakes and pastries are pleasant but none particularly stood out.

The chocolate fountain was unremarkable, but then I’m not really a chocolate person. There’s also two kinds of Haagen-Dazs ice cream we can help ourselves to. But they weren’t properly chilled and hence melted really quickly.

Included in the price is two choices of beverages. The list consists of teas — black, green, herbal, and fruit teas — coffees and espresso-based drinks, hot chocolate, hot milk, and also iced beverages like iced mocha and iced lemon tea.

They serve Dilmah tea, which isn’t exactly premium tea. But compared to other afternoon teas, the beverage menu has many more choices and thoughtfully caters to non-caffeine drinkers as well.

If you’re thinking of coming here, reservations are a must. We were here on a weekday afternoon, and it was full house! It’s probably gets more crowded on weekends.

L’Espresso English afternoon tea
Mon – Thurs: 2pm – 5.30pm
Fri – Sun & PH: 12noon – 2.30pm (1st seating), 3pm – 5.30pm (2nd seating)

S$45++ per adult, S$22.50++ per child (6–11 years old)

L’Espresso, Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Tel: +65 6730 1743
URL: www.goodwoodparkhotel.com

The images in this post were captured with Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V (review unit from Sony Singapore).

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