Two things special and uncommon about Axis Bar & Lounge @ Mandarin Oriental Singapore, when measured across the afternoon tea scene in Singapore are firstly, that they serves a sit-down menu instead of a buffet style even on weekends (I very much prefer the former owing to my traditional although not necessarily always accurate perception that buffets come at a generally lower quality by nature of its mass preparation), and secondly, that they adopt a themed menu which changes on a monthly basis. Naturally, and according to tradition, August, the month of Singapore’s National Day, brings about a local theme, inspired by the multiculture society Singapore is.
The tea selection that comes along with the afternoon tea set is luxurious: nothing less than our home-grown famed tea brand TWG, with over 20 different types of tea, there is sure to be something for everyone. This comes in addition to the welcome tea of MO (Mandarin Oriental) Blend, specially concocted for Mandarin Oriental. Tea is refillable; and soon after selection of your tea, you will be served with the first course, conventionally a glass of jelly; this month, a Mango Ice Jelly with Sago Pearls and Coconut Foam, reminiscent of the Mango Sago Dessert.
Plate 1, as I have always affectionately referred to as the luxury canapé plate, comprises from the right, Mini Cha Siu Bao, Aged Parma Ham & Melon, and Sambal Marinated Shrimps Tartlet. While the first is your everyday fare, the second is a classic and favourable combination of mine, and the latter, of the numerous times I have been to Axis Bar & Lounge for their afternoon tea, is probably one of the best items I have tried. I love how sturdy the tart crust was, but it did not matter because the distinctive and complementary shrimps + sambal flavour was not one that could be easily overshadowed. Because of its impressive punch, you might want to leave it until the last to not distort your taste on the others. Besides, saving the best for the last makes the best even better.
Sitting on Plate 2 are the more common grub. With the local flavours incorporation, you can expect likes of the familiar salted egg, otah-otah, and roasted chicken with ginger chilli.
Besides the recurrent Tahitian Vanilla Scone, you will be introduced to the Bandung Rosella Scone, the aroma and fragrance of which I like; and of course, the quintessential afternoon tea dish will not be complete with a complete set of clotted cream, berry compote and lemon curd. Puffs and pies are the best and most convenient to inject some local flavours, as evident from the Braised Beef Rendang Pie and Nonya Potato Curry Puff photographed above. Many at the table thought the Curry Puff outshone the other, with its crusty and crisp exterior, albeit a little oily, encompassing the powerful nonya potato curry.
The last course, but the most photogenic of all, is the commonly sighted three-tier stand, this one filled with sweet treats. What left a deep impression was the Mojito Lollipop – potent, with sweetness and hints of tanginess eager to get on your palate after the first bite that bursts the lollipop. The Caramel Banana Pound was one of those much needed bites in between everything to cut and slow down the sugar rush. Despite not being the perfect one for the sweet-tooth, it was quite a hot favourite amongst the diners. Regardless, the tier promises to test your limit on sweetness.
Axis Bar & Lounge @ Mandarin Oriental Singapore continues to remain as one of my favourite afternoon tea affairs, partly also on the account of a good ambience (live pianist) and good view (of the Marina Bay) – you would be surprised what spectacular view it bears despite only being housed on level 4.
Address: 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, Level 4
Telephone: 6885 3500 (takes reservation)
Opening Hours (for Afternoon Tea): 3pm – 5pm (Weekdays); 12.30pm – 2.30pm & 3pm – 5pm (Weekends; PH); Bar & Lounge opens from 11am – 12am (Sun– Thurs), 11am – 1am (Fri – Sat).
This was a media session.