Following the sorry letdown at The Fullerton Bay Hotel’s evening high tea “Sundown Soiree”, I decided to soothe my hurt feelings by going to high tea at The Courtyard.
The Courtyard is in The Fullerton Hotel; surely THE Fullerton Hotel would not put its reputation at stake, right?
As a point of reference, it costs the same to have afternoon high tea at The Courtyard and evening high tea at The Landing Point. Therefore, except the difference in timing and location, the comparison is more or less equal.
Back to The Courtyard, it is aptly located in the courtyard of The Fullerton Hotel; One would be surrounded by the walls of the colonial building, bathed in sunlight let in from the skylight, while being able to enjoy high tea in comfortable seats and air-conditioned settings.
As usual, I was there early to grab a seat and also to take some pictures of the place before it got crowded. We were informed that even though our high tea would be served in the unique, circular 3-tier plates, we could still take refills on our own from the buffet counter situated just behind the entrance. It seemed as though the server knew what I suffered from my experience at The Landing Point!
There were actually many folks who also arrived early; the servers took our orders and served us our beverages first, while the food was prepared in the meantime. Promptly about 2pm, the ferris wheel like plates began popping up on the tables. As can be seen from the photos, not only were there plenty of items on the menu, they were also well presented both in the items themselves, and from the way they were displayed on the plates.
Do be aware that the food were not over-the-top. They were better than those served at The Landing Point, but I don’t want to over-promise the outcome. The ways the snacks were better that The Landing Point can be summarised in the following:
- Each item had its unique taste – like I mentioned in my review for The Landing Point, I found some items on the list tasted similar to each other; this was not the case for The Courtyard. Each item had its unique taste and texture that were vivid to the ingredients used – the Prosciutto Ham and Smoked Duck may both be preserved food, the underlying flavour spoke much about their characteristic than the saltiness at the surface.
- Each item was an art itself – the most layman way to describe them was that they came in all shapes and sizes, but that was just an understatement. The way the salmon roe glistened under the sunlight was shouting freshness in our faces. The clear lines from kueh lapis demonstrated the skilfulness of the chef when creating this visual piece of art-food.
- There were unique fusion – the Otak Otak Sandwich with Quail Egg was placed at the top of the menu for a reason; it added a dash of locality to the otherwise meal that was filled with European ambience, to the extent that N and I referred to it as “The Nasi Lemak Sandwich”!
The only thing stopping me from giving the food top marks was that the taste could be too overpowering and rich. Choose light-flavoured tea to wash your palette so that you can binge on the unlimited refills at the counter, though you might be full from having too much water too. This sort of dilemma that made me feel ungratified was the reason why I refrained from giving it tops.
Service wise, the staff were well-trained in general. There was a wide gap in the service standards, apparent when the newly-trained staff fumbled a little when serving the food or in replying my requests. However, their positive attitudes shone through the newbie-aura.
Be sure to take your time to soak in the atmosphere and the 2 full hours before you have to give up your seats for the next seating. Of course, the heavy food needs some settling if you want to eat your fill, but since the criteria for good food has been checked, one needs to spend some time enjoying the moment.
About 1 hour into seating, a harpist (am I right to call her that?) arrived to add another layer of charm to the ambience. This was the reason why we should not be eager to leave after having our fill!
Despite the crowd and the enclosed space, the whole courtyard was at best bathed in murmurs from the conversation taking place. Despite the equatorial weather, the hotel made sure that the temperature was balmy, which gave the sense of one being in spring/autumn season. This sure creates the right atmosphere for hearty conversations to connect with friends!
Overall, I would say the afternoon high tea at The Courtyard in The Fullerton Hotel was worth the high price point.
1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178