When I was growing up, going for high tea was a special treat that I was lucky enough to go for on a fairly regular basis. My childhood home was a the road from a small hotel that served quite a spread for high tea and many a happy birthday was spent there with friends, feasting up a storm!
It was my mum’s birthday recently and in addition to the family gathering, I thought it was apt that I should bring her out for high tea! After looking through some options, I decided on the Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea at The Clifford Pier at The Fullerton Bay Hotel for some one-on-one time with my Mummy. My mum had yet to visit and hotel —me too, actually — and I thought she would appreciate seeing how they have updated a spot from old Singapore.
Since it’s been some time since I’ve gone out to tea, I didn’t realise till I started looking at the there are actually two different high teas at The Fullerton Bay Hotel. Aside from The Clifford Pier, they also serve high tea at The Landing Point. The high tea at The Landing Point sounds more like the “traditional” high tea with canapés, sandwiches, tarts and cakes, and is wildly popular. Indeed, I couldn’t get a reservation for a Tuesday afternoon when I tried to call a week ahead. But my preference was for The Clifford Pier anyway so it was just as well!
Prior to it’s transformation into The Fullerton Bay Hotel, I had been to Clifford Pier (ie. the pier, not the restaurant) a handful of times. Mostly to have zi char and chicken rice for lunch at a food joint that was located there when I was working nearby, and once to hop onto a boat for a company function. So I do have some memories of the structure of the pier and I was pleased to see it beautifully updated and incorporated into the design for the restaurant.
The lovely The Clifford Pier restaurant under the arches of the original Clifford Pier.
As its name suggests, the Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea at The Clifford Pier serves up tea time treats with a distinctively local touch. The afternoon tea set comes with eight savoury items and eight sweet items, and a selection of tea and coffee. These are all free-flow, ala carte buffet style. They bring a three-tier stand of everything to start and we could order top-ups of what we wanted.
The food menu.
Our high tea treats on a tiered stand. This is for two pax.
My favourite items were not actually on the stand. These were the Kurobuta Pork Kong Bak Bao and the Chilli Crab Bao. The kurobuta pork was meltingly tender and deliciously braised. Yum. And Chilli Crab Bao, well, I’m just partial to chilli crab anything! I did think they could have been more generous with the crab meat and sauce though. I also would have loved the sauce to have been the thick eggy version you find in authentic chilli crab but this version was much more refined. (Yes, I ordered more of both these when I could!)
Kurobuta Pork Kong Bak Bao and Chilli Crab Bao — my favourites!
We enjoyed the savoury items first, especially since my Mum can’t really take too much sweet stuff. We both agreed that the Mini Popiah wrapped in Handmade Nonya Egg Skin and the Kueh Pie Tee were delicious. The filling was really good, moist with crabmeat chunks. I really liked the nonya egg skin, which is a change from the usual flour-based popiah skin. The other item that I liked was the Nonya Chicken Curry and Roti Jala Wrap. It was a neat idea, wrapping the curry chicken in the roti jala, served in handy little cones! I didn’t fancy the fish treats so much — the Sardine Puff Pastry and the Fish Milk Sauce Choux Bun. I just don’t like sardines much and I thought the choux bun with fish cream was not really my thing. My mother enjoyed them though and ordered a top-up! The remaining item on the dish was the Bak Kwa Jam Sandwich, which was ok. Tasted pretty much as I would have expected.
We were starting to feel full when we got to the sweets. I ate most of this plate — oops! My mum took a few bites and her favourite item was the Coconut Fruit & Nut Crumble Bar for the nostalgia factor since she used to make these when she was younger! Of the selection on this plate, my favourite was the Roselle Jam Linzer Cookie. The jam went perfectly with the crisp cookie. The other items were nice but not that memorable, and the Bundung Macaron was a bit sweet for me.
It was the scones that were our favourite sweet item. There were two types of scones too (Plain Scone and Tropical Fruit Scone), and as a nod to local tastes, in addition to butter and clotted cream, these were served with pineapple jam, roselle (hibiscus) jam, and kaya.
Scones, all toasty and warm.
For drinks there was Kopi and Teh Tarik, as well as a selection of lovely TWG teas. They allowed us to try different with each order, which was great. There were also additional drinks you could order that came at an additional charge but I didn’t think it was necessary.
I had a bit of a surprise at the end as I didn’t realise that tea was $45++ per person. I had assumed it was still $38++. I think it was rather expensive but overall it was a lovely place to enjoy tea, and I thoroughly enjoyed sinking into the comfy seats in that light-lit restaurant with soaring ceilings, being serenaded by a pianist. It was the perfect place to spend some time with my Mum, chatting without interruption from insistent little voices. Most importantly, my momma enjoyed it too. She was happily talking about bringing my Dad back the next time. Maybe we’ll try The Landing Point when we do!
Tea for two at The Clifford Pier.
The Clifford Pier
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
80 Collyer Quay
Tel: +65 6597 5267
Afternoon Tea: 3.30pm to 5,30pm daily