The history of Goodwood Park Hotel’s L’Espresso goes way back- it was established in 1968 and has always been one of the hotel’s signature food and beverage highlights. Having patronised the establishment many times since I was a kid, L’Espresso is reputed for being one of the very few places in town for elegant teatime pursuits, offering an elaborate range of favourite high tea snacks, pastries, beverages and more.
L’Espresso has did a slight revamp to its English Afternoon Tea menu with more delightful nibbles while retaining popular signature items such as their scones and finger sandwiches. The buffet includes two servings of coffee and tea from a selection of premium coffee and TWG tea. Fancy some tipple to perk up their afternoon? You can choose to have your high tea buffet with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne or top up with a bottle of the same champagne at an additional cost.
Be prepared to be spoilt for choice with L’Espresso’s selection of sandwiches and croissants. For me, the more memorable sandwich items were the Spicy Crabmeat Salad with Tobiko Sandwich, which had a slight hint of spiciness and was refreshing at the same time; the Turkey Ham and Dried Pear and Celery Sandwich, in which all the ingredients came together rather beautifully; the Smoked Chicken with Tomato and Lettuce Sandwich which was no doubt simply done but was pleasurable due to the fresh vegetables and savoury meat highlight sandwiched in between; the Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini and Red Capsicum with Pesto Sandwich and the Chicken Ham with Portobello Mushroom Sandwich.
The Honey Roasted Ham and Cheddar Cheese Croissant had a home- made feel to it, familiar- tasting and comforting to a growling stomach. The Prawn and Egg Salad Croissant boasted a very delectable Egg Salad spread that satiated our palates and of course, not forgetting the succulence of the chilled fresh prawns.
L’Espresso’s range of small bites would be a hit with both the young and old, especially since these exquisite creations already look so aesthetically appealing. With numbers like Brie Cheese with Grape on Maple Crostini, Nicoise Tartlet with Tuna Tataki, Slow Cooked Farm Chicken in Crepe, Foie Gras Terrine with Coated Pistachio Nut and Cranberry Compote, Smoked Salmon with Beetroot Mousse and Caviar and many more, this section of the buffet is obviously one not to be missed in case you are thinking of just going straight for the desserts.
Many would find that no high tea would be complete without scones and an assortment of jams, and L’Espresso will never allow their patrons to miss this important element of anyone’s high tea session. All the scones were buttery, heavy and compact and the jam spreads were definitely rich and flavourful- some might find the Blueberry Scone to be a tad on the sweet side and by spreading the jam on it, might just be too heavy on the palate. The Raspberry and Plain Scones were obviously more than just fine. One may wish to opt for their scones to be accompanied by the Devonshire Clotted Cream and Butter.
Meat lovers should be pleased to find cuts like the Black Forest Ham and Rosette Salami, scrumptious in a salty way- these would be great to go along with the bread loaves- Ciabatta and Focaccia served alongside, and their rather small Cheese selection as well.
Of the entire range of deep- fried items, I took the most fancy in the Squid and Cheese Croquette and I must admit that it was something I grew addicted to when I was there. The Mini Fish Goujons with Goma Dressing and Chicken Karaage were decent and would be able to easily satisfy any deep- fried foo fanatics. The Slow Roasted Tomato Tart with Thyme and Crumbled Feta was rather special since it was not exactly something one can find all the time; the taste was mostly that of deliciously sweet cooked tomatoes- the main highlight of the tart, obviously.
The Braised Kurobuta Pork with Hungarian Sweet Paprika and Brioche was an absolute delight to enjoy, there was a home- made feel to the pairing, one that worked its magic on our tastebuds given the medley of savoury notes conveyed.
I preferred the Lasagnette with Ratatouille to the Shepherd’s Pie (Beef), which would have fared better should there be a more balanced mashed potato- minced beef ratio. The former was packed with chopped vegetables well- immersed in the flavourful tomato- base, made even better with the melted cheese that endowed the dish with a different kind of richness. The Hot Smoked Salmon was executed to the right doneness, quite a fulfilling number, I would say.
Chocolate fans would be thrilled to find a dedicated corner of the buffet section in which they would be able to get a slice of their own heaven. Other than the Chocolate Fondue which can be accompanied by fresh fruit skewers and marshmallows, the Hazelnut Crunchy Dome is a must- try since it was one of the best desserts we had during our visit. The Trio Chocolate Mousse and Ducley Brownie were really quite gratifying too.
The Gula Melaka Sago was a petite cup packed with goodness, though I must admit that I have always had such a soft spot for such a combination. The Earl Grey had a distinct taste of the highlight flavour itself, though it could be a little more intense. We were quite bowled over by the Mango Dream given its pudding- like body that was utterly satisfying.
The Orange Panna Cotta was somewhat gratifying with its smooth mousse that was lightly refreshing. The Tiramisu cake could have been done a tad better though since the flavours did not really come through. The Passion Fruit Meringue Tart featured a delectable pool of citrusy goodness in a hardy pastry shell that brought about bliss in the mouth.
The Orange Chiboust could have had a slightly stronger taste to it though it fared well in the textural department. On the other hand, The Chestnut Cherry Slice and Raspberry Breton might possibly be more well- received by the fairer sex given their appearance and how these would appeal to their tastebuds, the latter was a little too hard to the bite though.
We had the Sweet France Tea, a light- tasting TWG blend made from a combination of Green tea with exotic flowers and a touch of chamomile, providing for a fresh and soothing cup- every subsequent slurp off the cup caused the both of us to grow even more fond of the tea. The Alexandria Tea was really good too, introduced as a dreamy reminder of Arabian nights, made from Green tea that is lightly scented with rare mint and Mediterranean corn flowers. The Cafe Hazelnut was indisputably a crowd favourite for it was spotted on almost every table. The beverage was basically a towering cup of regular Coffee topped with Whipped cream and Hazelnut syrup, and just the first sip alone made me understand why everyone ordered it.
There are many more numbers from the range that have been not been featured above. The buffet is priced at S$45.00 per adult and S$22.50 per child. Enjoy a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne at S$68.00 per adult, or get a bottle of the same champagne at S$125.00.
Following this memorable visit, I have concluded that L’Espresso is still more than deserving of a place in my heart for being one of the most ideal places for an afternoon session of high tea- the set- up, variety of food and desserts, the ambience, the service and more. For the most cosy and convenient high tea spots in town, L’Espresso is certainly one of the few destinations to make a trip down to.
Many thanks to Ms. Noelle Tan from Sixth Sense Comm for the kind invitation.
22 Scotts Road
Goodwood Park Hotel
Contact Number: 6730 1786
Mondays to Fridays, 2.00pm till 5.30pm
Saturdays and Sundays, 12.00pm till 2.30pm and 3.00pm till 5.30pm