Introducing a new menu every season, Chihuly Lounge is one of the most renowned venues in town for a sesson of exquisite high tea. Situated within the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, the lounge is not only a much frequented area for the hotel guests, it is also a popular venue for business meetings, a gratifying afternoon tea amongst local friends and so on. Enjoy a cup of cappaccino or request for any pot of flavored tea from the extensive menu, fill the plates with the all-time favorite scones, tuck into a variety of finger food such as scrumptious looking sandwiches and not forgetting the dessert table of many other fine pastries; well, probably everything a good high tea will possibly possess.
The furniture were of complementary colors, which matched even the carpet floor. The sofa seats appeared to be really inviting but we decided to settle for the arm chairs instead since we were afraid that we might get too comfortable with the former. With beams of sun ray shining through the glass-paned roof, the lounge was bathed in the glow of a bright and sunlit afternoon.
The classy furnishings and the soothing music (the duo played and sang a selection of jazz songs) provided for an excellent ambience which was definitely a plus point for our hi- tea session.
Starting off with the the two tier dessert stand, Bryan and I were first appealed to the visual appearance of the Vine Tomato Confit with Bocconcini and Pest0. As tasty and juicy as visually represented by the red hue of the fruit itself, the raw flavor of the tomatoes overwhelmed the semi-cheese, Bocconcini which was a little too light for our personal liking. The Prosciutto Ham Roll with Fig, Tomato and Arugula Salad was one of my favorites from Chihuly Lounge, the thin wrap of ham complemented the refreshing and exotic stuffing which consisted of figs, tomatoes and Arugula Salad within the appetizer till excellence.
The Marinated Tuna on Japanese Edamame Seaweed Salad was yet another fine dish, the fat slice of tuna was fresh and tender while it was rather well accompanied by the seasoning and the other highlights of the creation itself, causing it to be slightly more appetizing with a tinge of saltiness. I was quite awed by the Smoked Duck and Portobello with Green Mango Salad as the infusion of sweetness and sour tangy flavor laid a very significant impression on my tastebuds and I was convinced that the thin slice of smoked duck was well-influenced with an Asian touch.
A variety of chilled flavored tea to quench one’s thirst, I preferred the Passionfruit Flavored Tea amongst the rest we ordered, such as Kiwi Flavored Tea and Peach Flavored Tea. The ice cubes were rather unique in the sense that they were prepared from frozen tea to minimise the cold beverage from being diluted. However, the different flavors were in actual fact, mere syrups to mix into the chilled tea to give rise to a certain essence on its own. The Grapefruit Cocktail was enjoyable too, in which the sweetness had managed to overwhelm the alcoholic taste which made it both light and pleasurable.
The Smoked Salmon with Spinach Salad in Soft Roll was visually mouthwatering but I felt that the Smoked Salmon might have been overwhelmed by the relish of cream and the soft roll itself and I could not really distinguish the Spinach Salad. Nonetheless, it was definitely still worth the bite. The Chicken and Iceberg Salad in Tomato Bun was my favorite sandwich of all; the full-flavored and refreshing Chicken and Iceberg Salad complemented the subtle sweetness brought about by the pillowly tomato buns till excellence. On the other hand, I found the Beef Pastrami and Gherkin in Beet Root Focaccia a little underwhelming and the sandwich was a little too dry for my personal preference. Then again, the Beef Pastrami failed to stand out among the other apparent flavors in the sandwich.
Judging by how colorful and visually gratifying the Caramelized Banana and Chocolate Chip Toast would be as such for children, I have to admit that the creation far exceeded my expectations. Well spreaded with melted chocolate and slices of caramelized banana, the warmth compounded the rich flavor of the filling. In addition, munching onto the crispy exterior of the toast definitely enhanced the gastronomical pleasure of the dessert. The Raisin scones and Cranberries Scones were quite hit with many of the diners; they were rich and lightly sweetened, well accompanied with the assortment of delights and spreads available. The Creme Fraiche was actually quite subtle although it appeared to be rather rich while the Fruit Jam was pleasantly sweet with a sour tang. A variety of nuts, chocolate chips and chocolate syrup were also available as accompaniments.
Hot beverages were readily available for order as well; Bryan had both the Cappuccino and Mocha. Smoothed with steamed milk and infused with a triple shot expresso, he found the former rather strong and acidic. The Mocha was sweet and had a chocolate relish which did not mask the taste of coffee, moreover, he felt that the generous dollop of whipped cream was a perfect touch for indulgence as well.
One of my favorite pastries from our tea session, the Pistachio Cherry (Cube) was rich with a nutty relish and it had a slight hint of cherries. I was rather surprised with the cherry at the top of the cake, for I found that it was actually infused with a certain sort of strong alcoholic (or something similar) flavor. The Shang Dong was another favorite, the chocolate mousse was actually rather light and delectable, though the blueberry jam at the top could have been a little more sour since it failed to stand out on its own. The Chocolate Spice (Cube) was however, a creation gone wrong in my opinion. The chocolate fudge cake would have tasted fine on its own, but the addition of spices was too overwhelming since it went wrong with the supposed rich flavor brought about by the dark chocolate. Then again, it might be with regard to my personal preference.
The Coffee Pave was quite pleasurable even for someone like me who doesn’t take coffee at all, it was subtle and it had a rather strong buttery relish which masked a bit of the coffee flavor. When taken with bits of the small squarish milk chocolate bars, it compounded the sweet savor of the mousse. There were small layers of biscuit sandwiched in between and they added a certain crunch. I did not enjoy the Lamington (Cube) as I am not particularly a coconut fan and the dessert was entirely about it. I was quite disappointed by the Cheese (Cube) as there was a certain unique kick that I could hardly stomach; Bryan and I could not figure out the taste but it was simply overwhelming.
The Passionfruit and Ivory (Cube) was smooth and light; the mousse was luscious and had a tinge of the passionfruit’s sourness which made it even more appetizing. The Pate de Fruit (Cube) was very much akin to a typical sugar coated gummy candy which should be a treat for anyone with a sweet tooth (like myself). However, it was not that chewy and a little more delicate. Bryan and I had quite taken pleasure in the Berries (Cube) though it was a mere simple agar agar with vanilla essence, but we agreed that the summer berries within the jelly brought a sour relish to the dessert in which we enjoyed.
One of the main highlights of the buffet would be the seemingly endless selection of hot flavored tea,which received a more than warm-hearted response from many of the diners. We had quite a variety of tea, and we had particularly enjoyed the Granny’s Garden which was actually an infusion of fruity and fresh rhubarb, together with Bourbon vanilla. The Orange Pekoe was rather strong but when accompanied with a little honey, tasted really fine.
The service was definitely commendable; it was prompt with our requests and orders quickly attended to. The waiters and waitresses were attentive and conscientious; our used plates were cleared away in an instance and many of them would drop by our table to ask for further orders from the beverages menu. As much as they were polite, on a sidenote, I would feel that they could express themselves to be a little more cheerfu since I noticed one or two who appear to be rather stern.
Chihuly Lounge has definitely met our expectations for our planned hi-tea session and Bryan was really impressed by the entire experience, whether it was with regard to the ambience, service and the quality of the pastries and sandwiches. Although the buffet might be quite pricey ($48.00++) for a rather limited variety of dishes and desserts offered, I would recommend Chihuly Lounge at the Ritz Carlton hotel, for she is definitely one of the better venues for hi-tea. Bryan and I have concurred that we will be back to try out their new menus for the subsequent seasons.
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7 Raffles Avenue
Lobby, Ritz Carlton Millenia
Contact Number: 6434 5288
Daily, 9.30am till 1.00am
Mondays to Fridays, Traditional Afternoon Tea from 2.30pm till 5.00pm
Saturdays and Sundays, Weekend Afternoon Tea Buffet from 2.30pm till 5.00pm ($48.00++)
Jasper N. and Bryan C.