I am glad that I showed up despite the initial apprehension at the sneak preview of Portico Prime Favourites Hi Tea Set because that was by far, the best selection of sweet and savoury canapes ever made for an afternoon tea.
I guess I would never have set foot here since my last visit two years ago turned out to be a complete fiasco with @charlesfoodadventures. Our bar tasting menu was atrocious, and the list of promising desserts failed to leave any impression.
Apparently, things have changed significantly since the departure of former Fat Duck chef Leandro Stagogiannis, and ANDRE alumni Nixon Low has taken over the reins and now leads a close knitted team of young rising star chefs that include Chef de Cuisine Rick Chow and Head Pastry Chef Charlene Ng.
The new Hi Tea Set is conceived mostly by Head Pastry Chef Charlene Ng who has many years of fine baking experience under her belt, so expect the pastries to be exquisite like her raisin scones which came with homemade honey kaya and plum & armagnac jam.
The scones were magnificently baked, served hot and how I wish I could have a whole basket of them to go with the delicious jams and clotted cream. The sugar in the kaya was ingeniously replaced with locally harvested honey, so it was way more fragrant with floral notes in it while plum armagnac was painstakingly mixed under low heat before it was caramelised into a paste-jam. With so much effort put in, this is what I call DEDICATION!
Likewise, the other pastries were not just pretty, they were perfect in taste too. Items like the Homemade carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting & toasted walnuts, Chilled cheesecake with mango gel & mini passionfruit spheres, Baked apple crumble tart, sweet basil cream were beautifully crafted.
The Marsala Chai tea cake with honey ginger cream and orange confit, for one took the team endless of hours of experimentation before achieving the right balance for that flawless sweet-spicy experience.
While the Mini deconstructed blackforest made with expensive Swiss Max Felchlin chocolates is itself a Michelin worthy dessert, albeit this was scaled down in size for the set.
Amid the glitzy gems, the plain looking homemade peanut butter and confetti cookies seem like an anomaly, but it was not. Chef Charlene recollected her experience of baking peanut cookies which attracted a hordes of fans from the kitchen, and she decided to improvise with a version with twice the amount of toasted peanuts, and giving an organic look to the final touch for that homey feel. So this was akin to a lavish baked peanut butter crunch with a soul to it!
I also cannot help but to sing praises for the savouries, since they looked and tasted as good, if not better than some of the amuse bouches I have had in French restaurants. Three items, Chili crab eclair, Squid & salted egg croquette and the Local barramundi/ snapper “otak-otak” toast made up the non sweet section of the canapes. Tres bien but if only there is one more item, just one more…
The Hi Tea Set came with a platter of Portico Prime’s signatures, the Chilled truffle-scented angel hair pasta, aruga caviar, kawaebi shrimps, Crostini of Asian-cured salmon gravlax, coriander creme fraiche and a Skewer of tiger prawn, compressed sheet, tobiko roe & brandy sauce. These evergreen dishes, which were meant to complement the Hi Tea tiers need no introduction, and have been the restaurant’s crowd pleasers for as long as they could remember.
With a choice of free flow of either Twinings Tea, local roaster Dutch Colony’s coffee, or an additional $10 for a glass of Torresella Prosecco Brut NV Italy, I could easily spend my afternoon eating yummy bites, lazing at the green lawn and appreciating what life has to offer. Now I just need to find that companion.
Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill will be officially launching their “Portico Favourites” High Tea tomorrow. For their special launch, they will be offering a promotional price of $38+ per pax for minimum two diners (instead of the usual $48+ per pax) till 14th April. Only 30 sets available each day from 3pm-5pm daily except on mondays. Follow @porticosg or like #porticoSingapore on Facebook to enjoy this offer. Reservation is required.
The above article is written by Guest Writer @ramenking2016. You can find him on instagram where he shares his love for food and travel.
10 Dempsey Road #01-20 Singapore 247700
Reservation number: +65 9114 1926
Operating Hours: Tues – Sun
Closed on Mon
Lunch 11:30am to 3:00pm
Last Order at 2:30pm
Dinner Weekdays 6pm to 10:30pm (Food last order 10pm)
Weekends 6pm to 11:30pm (Food last order 10:30pm)
Open for drinks at 5pm