Fancy a spot of tea? From charming neighbourhood teahouses to upscale hotel tearooms, here are some of the best places in town to sit down for afternoon tea with English-style scones, biscuits, petit fours and more. Good for Mother's Day.
Have tea at stylish event venue Glasshouse at Seputeh. Delectable by Su (known for their fanciful fondant creations) has opened a pretty little café on the second floor of the building: all brick walls, large glass windows and paper flowers. We think the setup would do Martha Stewart proud.
Photo: Stacy Liu
To go with your pot of Gryphon tea, signature desserts at Delectable include edible terrariums, popcorn brownie avalanche, and even a cookie play board. Said play board consists of a selection of cookies (ranging from tiny raisin and almond cookies to giant chocolate chip and walnut cookies) with a mix of dips (strawberry ganache, peanut butter and chocolate) and sprinkles (sea salt, pralines, cocoa nibs, rainbow sprinkles) plus three scoops of ice cream (so you can make your own ice cream sandwich). If you’re planning a mini tea party (with at least ten guests), the café provides a selection of savoury and sweet pastries and caramel popcorn arrayed on pastel-hued three-tiered cake stands. Seven days advance booking required. Joyce Koh
Rates per person: Afternoon tea party, RM45 per pax, minimum order of ten persons.
Take your tea with a bite or two of the melt-in-the-mouth Maids of Honour – the tarts, with its creamy fillings encased in crispy crust, were first enjoyed by King Henry VIII and his royal household in the 16th century, and the centuries-old recipe is still a closely-guarded secret.
Served in the swanky surroundings of Starhill Gallery, the tea house offers other sweet and savoury cakes, pastries and sandwiches – such as freshly-baked scones and macarons – as well as over 60 tea blends. So far, so traditional. For people who don’t like afternoon tea, Newens has an oriental alternative featuring steamed siew mai, yam puffs and other top-tier dim sum picks from sister restaurant Luk Yu tea house. Ng Su Ann
Afternoon tea sets, 2.30-5.30pm. RM60 for two pax.
A visit to Taman Melawati’s family-run English teahouse is like stepping into the well-decorated living room of your antiques-loving aunt. You’ll spot a coat rack by the door, wooden dressers, old-fashioned lampshades, and even a bookshelf of old paperbacks to make you feel comfortably at home, even if you’ve never been there before.
Photo: Hizwan Hamid
Miss Ellie gets its teas from local supplier The Good Tea Company, who source them directly from India’s Darjeeling and Assam plantations. A teapot for two (choose from four available blends) will only set you back RM12, while tisanes available in Egyptian Chamomile, British Peppermint and French Lavender are RM7.50 for an individual pot. Your visit won’t be complete without ordering a pair of the light, fluffy scones (also available in chocolate) – a speciality of owner and pastry chef Justin Wong – served with whipped cream and homemade strawberry and thyme jam. Syarifah Syazana
Mention afternoon tea and The Majestic Hotel strikes as one of the most reliable addresses in the city. It’s a firm favourite because of the different settings it affords: the Colonial Café swarming with warm chatter, or the premium and private Orchid Conservatory, which requires reservation months ahead. The refurbished hotel – a 1930s heritage landmark – is awash in retro charm, bedecked with ornate tableside lamps, photographs of old KL, ottomans, wingback chairs and gilded furniture that are sensibly arranged to parade the view of the manicured lawn outside. The atmosphere is prim, but not ‘Downton Abbey’ prim that you’ll need to automatically correct your posture, bust out a lace napkin or lift your pinkie (which is a grave faux pas, by the way).
Adding to the elegance of it all is the cake stand – no curious or experimental guises; just the traditional, three-tiered variety of dainty pastries and savouries. Starting from the bottom are sandwiches; then scones with jam and cream; and the pinnacle, a mélange of bite-sized sweets like chocolate cake, cheesecake, tiramisu, éclairs and tarts. You’ll be served hot savouries on the side too (selection on a rotation basis) such as pies, quiches, sardine rolls or an upgrade of your favourite curry puff. Nattily-dressed waitresses ferry a choice of tea (Cameronian Gold Blend Tea) or coffee (Arabica) across all tables so don’t worry about your drinks staying piping hot, and ease into an afternoon of clinking china and tinkling piano notes. Kong Wai Yeng
Rates per person: Tea Lounge, RM60nett; Drawing Room, RM60nett; Orchid Conservatory, RM110nett. Daily, 3-6pm.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur is an elegant affair. The Lobby Lounge has been revamped into a modern space, filled with light and fresh flowers, crystal chandeliers, oversized sofas, Bone China tableware and a three-piece live band. Very cultured, and also very roomy. The lounge can comfortably cater for parties of four to six and still have enough room between tables that you can’t eavesdrop.
Service, as expected, is impeccable; they even pour your first cup of tea so you know it’s ready. As for the tea, there are 40 varieties to choose from. We say, forget the rest and just go straight for the special Ritz-Carlton KL blend – it is one of the best teas we’ve had in KL. Essentially a green oolong tie guan yin, the large tea leaves are steamed in boiling milk, resulting in a complex tea that has the lightness of green tea but the aroma of black tea.
The scones were commendable but everything else on the table were hit or miss. The pot pie filling was dry, the finger sandwiches were all right though lacked the finesse of the surroundings, although the chocolate desserts more than redeemed the shortcomings. But that tea though – it was exceptional. Lim Chee Wah
Afternoon tea, daily, 3-6pm, RM80nett per person.
In terms of style, Lounge on the Park at Mandarin Oriental wins hands down. The light-filled space overlooking the KLCC park is replete with oriental design details: dark timber floors, burgundy wood lattice screens, and vintage-style lamps on every table.
Thankfully the perfectly cut finger sandwiches and dainty dessert pastries live up to the aesthetics. The scones are buttery, slightly dense but soft, and they come with clotted cream, orange marmalade, strawberry with rose petal jam, and our favourite, lemon curd (though more sweet than tart, it’s still good). The classic cucumber sandwich has been reimagined as a cumin-cheese sandwich, where the addition of pickled carrot and cucumber makes it very moreish. We would gladly exchange the other three sandwiches on the tray for more of this.
Every afternoon tea tray comes with a hot drink (you can have coffee if you wish). For tea, choose from a selection of ten TWG teas. Each tray is good enough to share between two people – just top up with another drink order. Lim Chee Wah
Afternoon tea, daily, 2.30-6pm. RM108nett per set.