Peranakans, though traditionally descendants of Chinese settled in the peninsular Malaysia, has now come to include Malaysians and Indians, making it a three way fusion of cultures. When cultures fuse, foods follow and that has evolved over time to make Singapore, the food destination that it is today. But having been under the British rule, the British influence has to be present somewhere. I, found it in the afternoon tea.
Having the time for only one afternoon tea, I narrowed down the ten odd recommendations to Anti:dote. Honestly, it wasn't the food that helped me narrow it down but the unique presentation of food at Anti:dote. I guess that shouldn't be a reason to pick a place, but then, why not? Unlike the traditional tray of dishes served at high tea, Anti:dote serves it in a mini chest of drawers.
You have a choice of two menu's, though except for the first course, the rest are exactly the same. The anti:dote version comes with an egg and the Oriental version comes with a selection of fried and steamed dim sums. My egg, with a wonderful runny yolk, with shaves of truffle kick started our afternoon tea. For someone who loves truffle, the overpowering flavour of truffle was a yay rather than a nay. The wife's first course was a larger platter of dim sums, with two pieces of steamed and two of fried dim sums. The dim sum's were nice, nothing more, nothing less.
And then the chest of drawers arrive. With the sweets on top, I guess the Indian contribution to Peranakan culture is this! But let me start with the first drawer that had the savouries. The Boston lobster roll on a home made brioche captures the essence of the original in Boston, if not the size. But hey, this is afternoon tea! The Boston lobster roll gets you chunks of sweet lobster without any effort! We then set our eyes on the very tiny beetroot cream with salmon. This was seriously tiny. Like 4 dots on a piece of bread. As I was savouring the flavours of the salmon, the dish was over! Just like that and it left me wanting more. If that was the idea, it worked, but would have like it bigger. The mushroom pie with its flaky pastry and an almost unadulterated flavour of mushrooms was next one to make way into our tummies.
The duck foie gras was the heartiest of the lot. Being banned in India, it becomes even more of a delicacy when we travel abroad, so it added a little bit of 'exclusiveness' to the meal. Packed between the rye finger sandwich sized breads with lemon cucumber was this little gem of a dish. Truffle made it's appearance again with a baked parmesan in a pretty soft tart as we finished the first tray.
The second and third layer of drawers were our next focus as we took out the two varieties of scones, plain and honey oat. Warm and toasty, these scones, especially when drenched with generous amounts of the clotted cream, raspberry jam and lemon curd by themselves or with all three, were super comforting. They set us up for the top and open layer of the chest of drawers - the sweet stage!
Strawberry rhubarb, a mini Kouign Amman, Anzac biscuits, chocolate cake, a mango tart, a battenberg cake and a mini banofee pie made up that top layer. Retrospectively, we should have had this first and half way through the meal, we realised it! Though we took our time to savour each of the dishes, there was a certain sugar over dose that left us craving for something savoury. Sips of Holiday in Paris, a white tea blend and the wife's cappuccino did help, but maybe we should have left some of the scones!
The savoury craving was tackled much later at Glutton's Bay, but that is another story!
The afternoon tea (both variations) is priced at SGD 48. You get 20% discount for paying with an Amex Plat card.