GONG XI FA CAI… words we learned (meaning “Happy New Year”) while we stayed in Singapore over the Chinese New Year.
Stopped off at the Long Bar at Raffles for the required Singapore Sling followed by dinner with Arif Asmath, Director Rooms, and erstwhile Institute trainer. We were ably assisted by Dheeraj Bhatia, Raffles’ Sommelier, who steered us in the direction of some remarkable Chateau Margaux, a Premier Cru being highlighted in the ongoing annual Wine, Food, & Arts festival.
Returned another time for afternoon tea. We had already sampled such a tea at TWG in the Ion Center. They have a wide selection of teas well presented in a tea pot with its own metal cosy; the food is not traditional, but overall a good effort.
At Raffles, however, we were disappointed at the offer of a single tea (Breakfast Tea) for the entire tea, although a request for an Oolong was met without batting an eyelid. Raffles provides a buffet of hot Asian, as well as multiple desserts…an interesting way of providing multiple possible courses. Sandwiches were not open face, and entirely too much bread (see the pile of unused bread on my side plate).
But overall, a good effort, if they’d just apply the same variety and creativity to the teas as they do to the foods (and skip offering champagne as a basic element of their “tea”).
About the Author (Author Profile)Steven Ferry is chairman of the International Institute of Modern Butlers and the author of bestsellers "Butlers & Household Managers 21st Century Professionals" and "Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators." He also trains and consults for the profession around the world.
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