Peranakan Afternoon Tea

Restaurants
Peranakan Afternoon Tea
Photograph: Four Seasons Hotel Singapore

Time Out says

Most Peranakan meals are a belly bursting affair; the dining table typically comes laid with a variety of dishes and curries, best enjoyed with bowls of rice. But there is now an easier, daintier way to enjoy the hearty flavours of Nonya cuisine – through a curated afternoon tea.

The One-Ninety Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has collaborated with Candlenut to create a weekend-only Peranakan Afternoon Tea ($48/$68).

Chef Malcolm Lee turns time-honoured recipes from his one-Michelin-starred restaurant and distils them into bite-sized treats: a lesser-seen pang susi, filled with spiced chicken and candied winter melon for a sweet-savoury treat; kueh pie tee comes stuffed with white coconut curry and lobster; otah toast; and roti jala, a traditional lace-like pancake with grooves perfect for soaking up Candlenut’s signature chicken curry.

Desserts come in the form of kueh salat, a best-seller back at the restaurant with its smooth, custard-like texture. Kueh bingka is just as delightful; fibres of tapioca are first removed by hand, before being used to yield a buttery, sponge-like paste. Beyond classic finds, traditional treats have also been given new life. Old-school butter cakes are made into light-as-a-cloud sponge suffused with lemongrass; and Chinese-style butter cookies get a toasty, nutty crunch from the addition of tempeh. Even the iconic buah keluak finds its way into a chocolate tart to lend an earthy, bittersweet finish.

And from the kitchens of One-Ninety comes crumbly scones, scented with vanilla and pandan. They are best enjoyed warm, with generous dollops of homemade pineapple gula Melaka jam or strawberry rose preserve.

Should the bold spices and flavours from the afternoon tea prove too much, sips of Candlenut’s signature tea blend, perfumed with oolong and butterfly pea flower, will do the trick. For a boozier edge, sample a trio of locally inspired cocktails concocted by bar manager Gabriel Carlos (formerly from Manhattan). Sip on Pandan Kueh, where lychee and chamomile milk punch lend a playful twist to the usual coconut-heavy Nonya desserts; or try the spirit-forward Kopi-O, with local coffee-infused Mancino vermouth mixed with whisky and cherry liqueur.

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