High tea at the Raffles Hotel Singapore

For our trip to Singapore, I made only one restaurant booking from Australia – high tea at the Raffles Hotel. On the day, I was glad we had a reservation; well before the doors to the Tiffin Room were opened, we stood in a long line of people with reservations, all eagerly waiting to get in. We peered through the windows at the elegant table settings. “Wow,” I couldn’t help exclaiming: “There’s a harpist!” It took a while to herd everyone in, and so despite the surrounding splendour and opulence, it felt a bit like waiting to get into Sizzler.


Phone cameras ahoyI wasn’t the only one taking pictures…

There's a harpist

There was self-service iced tea and water available, but champagne and hot tea were noticeably slow to be served. Waiters in white jackets and black ties wove their way gracefully around the room to deliver three-tiered stands to all the tables. Our three-tiered stand resembled our clothes horse at home, perpetually bent out of shape thanks to our younger cat Truffle’s daredevil escapades. Within the wonky silver frame were finger sandwiches and little cakes. Not a big deal, but I was surprised that in an establishment such the Raffles Hotel where attention to detail should be impeccable, this crooked stand had not been taken out of service.

Three tiers

Jac opted for the champagne high tea (Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve) for an additional SGD$38 Jac opted for the champagne high tea (Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve) for an additional SGD$38

Fresh fruit, more cakes and hot pastries are served buffet-style. Three varieties of scone were available: plain and raisin (served with strawberry jam and clotted cream), and cheddar and spring onion.


DSCF7173sm-2Scones with cream and jam

The dim sum station included mini chicken char siew pow, seafood and spinach dumplings, and chicken and prawn siew mai. Toque-wearing chefs regularly replenished the stocks.

Dim sum buffet Dim sum buffet

The Raffles Hotel’s reputation precedes it. Its colonial grandeur is magnificent, and the Tiffin Room is a beautiful setting for high tea. But too often, buffets impress with pomp and prettiness, dazzling us with quantity – and once we taste, leave us wanting. We appreciated the savoury offerings at this high tea, but nothing we ate, savoury or sweet, was truly outstanding; in fact, the cakes in our wonky silver stand were on the dry side. I don’t regret the experience, but I had expected something better, if not special, at the Raffles Hotel Singapore, and left a little disappointed.

Our favourite high tea has been at The Langham Auckland in New Zealand. My favourite high teas in Perth have been at The Terrace Hotel and Rochelle Adonis.


Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673
High tea is from 3pm to 5.30pm daily
Adults: SGD$58 without champagne or SGD$80 with a glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve Champagne.
Children (aged 6 to 12): SGD$29
Reservations are highly recommended.
Dress code is smart casual. Requirements were provided in my email confirmation when I made the booking.

Singapore series

Jac and I were in Singapore for 8 nights in July 2014. We paid for this trip ourselves and our friend Mandy was our local guide and makan kaki (eating buddy).

Travel update

I’m flying out to Myanmar on 4 December and will be there on a photography tour for around 2 weeks. There will be new posts published here on the blog while I am away – I’ve got them pre-written and scheduled in WordPress. While I am travelling, social media updates (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) will depend on the internet access in Myanmar, which I know has improved in recent years but is still likely to be slow and unreliable.

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  • demightyshiva

    Oh well but dinner after this tea was pretty good right ;p I am trying out this new afternoon tea at Fullerton Bay Hotel this Sun. If it is any good, I will let you know and you can give it a shot next time :)

    • Oh yes, the good dining experiences far outnumbered the ‘meh’ ones! Yes, pls let us know how the Fullerton is, as I know Jac would be keen to try another high tea/afternoon tea on a future visit.

  • Faeri Patel

    been following you for years and very excited about you going to my homeland this month. hope you enjoy yourself and dont forget to eat all our delicious food. xxx best wishes from london

    • I’m sure it will be quite an experience. I’m looking forward to trying (and photographing) lots of new dishes!

  • Helen (grabyourfork)

    Tres fancy but a shame it was a little disappointing. The harpist is pretty cool though!

    • Helen,
      Yes, live harp music is always very cool. Except that I think of the harpist featured on a couple of episodes of Gilmore Girls, so all dignity flies out the window!

  • Cindy M

    Having not traveled extensively outside of the USA, must say I’m sometimes still “taken” with how influential British (and French) culture/customs is. The “spread” looks really nice, and too bad about dry cakes! Slow on the champagne service, huh? ;-) Can’t help thinking that was deliberate! Harp…I love harp music (especially if paired with violin). Yes, that crooked stand…hmm. Nice place, though. I’d like a chance for “high tea,” but where I live it’s only “high desert.” ;-p

    • Cindy,
      Maybe one day you’ll get to try high tea. A good high tea really is a wonderful experience, a real treat.

    • trudy

      The British influence for high tea is because of our sense of good taste and manners. A harpist is a must in polite society.

  • Pity this high tea wasn’t quite up to scratch – I guess the hotel has the name and its reputation going for it, but the food doesn’t quite measure up! One of the best high teas I’ve been is at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong – my cousin is the pastry chef there, and their high tea is just delectable!

    • Amanda, I’ve not been to Hong Kong yet but I’d love to go sometime for both the colourful photo opportunities and the food. I’ll keep the Mandarin Oriental in mind when I do…

  • schtef

    My pick for best high tea in Perth goes to No. 4 Blake St. It’s inventive and petite and the savoury stuff is exceptional (I think it’s often overlooked). They also give you takeaway boxes if you can’t finish the sweets (I wish I’d known that before I gorged myself on cake!)

    • Mmm, sounds great. It’s on our To Eat list. I agree, savoury stuff is often not given as much attention as it should be.

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  • 天羽亮

    Currently having high tea at The Grand in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.
    My number 2 is The Strand in Yangon, Myanmar – went with Myanmar style.
    My number 1 is The Harmonie Embrassee, Osaka, Nippon. Maybe I have a bit of bias as it’s my local. If you and Jac ever want to come try it out, you are most welcome to stay with us.