The Lobby Lounge at the InterContinental Singapore needs no introduction and especially since the completion of its multi-million dollar refurbishment back in April 2016, this place is looking better than ever. Created by the talented Pastry Chef Ben Goh, the brand new Spring-inspired Afternoon Tea: Au Jardin presents a carefully curated culinary journey through the lavender fields of Provence and the sakura cherry blossoms of Japan. This special Afternoon Tea creation which is both pleasing to the eye and satisfying to the tummy will only be available until 31 July 2017 at The Lobby Lounge.
Afternoon Tea is served daily at The Lobby Lounge (InterContinental Singapore) from 2:00PM to 5:00PM but I would highly recommend coming by on a weekend for a more superior experience since you will also get to enjoy the soothing sounds of the string instruments - I hear a double bassist is also brought in on special occasions!
The Afternoon Tea: Au Jardin (from S$78++ for two) experience consists of complimentary coffee or tea, a three-tier savoury and sweet stand, fresh scones and a dessert. You may also opt for two flutes of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut for a supplement of S$30++.
Expect to find a collection of special teas here at The Lobby Lounge - with over 20 different kinds of teas to choose from, diners can select from a rather extensive list of green, black, red, white and even decaffeinated teas. The InterContinental Singapore Heritage Tea (which used to be the InterContinental Ambassador welcome gift) is also available here and I would highly recommend it. Since I have actually stayed over at the hotel so many times, I actually still have five more tins of this said tea - therefore, I decided to go with something a little light and more floral, the 'Bai Mu Dan' (White Peony) Tea. You may also select from a list of coffees (hot and iced) as well if you prefer.
After tea was served and the three-tier stand was brought out, I was offered some fresh scones - as far as I know, these can be replenished upon request but I could be wrong since I did not ask for seconds (I wanted to leave room for the amazing-looking floral sweets!). The Jasmine scone (on the right) is my personal favourite and while it wasn't as buttery as I had expected, I love the subtle sweet scent from the Jasmine flower and how the actual sweetness of the violette-orange marmalade and clotted cream complemented it.
I am a huge fan of savoury snacks (especially so when you compare it to desserts and sweeter items) so I decided to dive straight into the lowest tier where the savoury treats are:
- Honey Ham, Egg Mayonnaise & Grape Tartlet
- Duck Rillettes, Pickled Lotus Root & Chrysanthemum
- Pan-Seared Prawn, Gooseberries & Thai Chilli Sauce
- Baked Salmon with Ginger Flower & Dill Cream
- Cream Cheese, Cucumber & Osmanthus on White Bread
- Ratatouille-Thyme Flower Quiche
I really enjoyed the the duck rillettes and fresh chrysanthemum flowers which are wrapped in a thinly-sliced pickled lotus root! The Honey Ham, Egg Mayonnaise & Grape Tartlet is also a dream to have!
While I am generally not a fan of sweets at all, I thought that most of the sweets presented in the Afternoon Tea: Au Jardin experience were extremely well done. The second-tier consisted of the following:
- Lavender-Blackcurrant Tarte
- Apricot-Osmanthus-Goji Macaron
- Strawberry-Sakura Surprise
- Chocolate Praline
The one that truly stood out the most was the Strawberry-Sakura Surprise which is surprisingly held together effortlessly and elegantly by the different components - it is floral and light but more importantly, the flavours were somehow distinctive on its own but harmonises really well when put together. This is hands-down the best item (and most beautiful-looking one) on the menu in my opinion. A close second favourite would be the Lavender-Blackcurrant Tarte which to me, was the perfect blend of tartness (no pun intended), sweetness and sourness - it looks stunning visually and that cradle underneath it that held the different elements together provided the right amount of crunch to this delicate treat.
The top-tier of the afternoon tea set consisted of two items and I really did enjoy the Orange Confit & Cinnamon Chantilly - a match made in heaven:
- Raspberry-Rose Choux Pastry
- Orange Blossom Financier with Orange Confit & Cinnamon Chantilly
To end off the Afternoon Tea: Au Jardin experience, a Crêpe with Berry Compote & Hibiscus-Peach Sherbet (absolutely delicious!) was served. Honestly this Afternoon Tea experience took me by surprise - I did not expect to enjoy the sweet treats more than the savoury ones but I genuinely did. Not only were they intricately prepared and presented, there is crisp evidence that this special Spring-inspired afternoon tea menu is the result of a carefully thought out process. Kudos to Pastry Chef Ben Goh and the team for yet another successful presentation of beautiful treats.
This was an invited media-tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.