Ellenborough Market Cafe at Swissotel Merchant Court would rank as one of the best places in Singapore for an affordable high tea buffet, if you do not mind the crowd. It is popular; so be prepared to wait in line to get your food. High tea at Ellenborough Market Cafe is not the dainty sandwiches and desserts on three-tier stand affair. It is really a buffet lunch (or early dinner if you like) served between the hours of 3.30 pm and 5.30 pm during the weekends and on public holidays. The buffet spread is dominated by Peranakan dishes but includes Chinese dim sum, sushi and sashimi, Indian dishes and other local food. The high tea buffet is priced at $30 for adults and $15 for children (August 2016 Update Note: price has been revised to $42 for adults and $21 for children).
Swissotel Merchant Court is located along the Singapore River just opposite Clarke Quay. Ellenborough Market Cafe is on the ground level. Outdoor seating is available. You can enjoy a view of the river, but high tea outdoors is probably not the best choice in the hot and humid climate of Singapore. The interior is nicely decorated in vintage Peranakan style.
The main hot food section have Peranakan dishes like curry chicken and otak otak. Noodles, bean curd, deep fried chicken wings, fried carrot cake and satay are also available. There is a station for making your own rojak. The dim sum station has a good range of steaming hot items.
Club sandwiches, spring rolls, murtabak, Portuguese egg tarts and various other small snack items are scattered among the several food stations in the cafe. One of the most popular section is the seafood station. We saw the trays of fresh salmon sashimi and steamed prawns emptied within minutes of them being replenished; and the trays were being replenished quite frequently.
Most of the food were of good standard and we particularly enjoyed the fried chicken wings, otak and rojak.
The real attraction of the Buffet High Tea at Ellenborough Market Cafe are the desserts. There is a very wide variety. Besides ice cream, cakes and mousse there is a whole range of nyonya kuehs kuehs. You can also make your own ice kachang and chendol. There is a free flow of drinks including bandung. One of the most popular items was the durian penyet (a form of mousse). There was also a chempedak penyet which we found to be more interesting. The bubor cha cha was also good.
We enjoyed the high tea buffet at Ellenborough Market Cafe. There was wide variety of food and the standard of the food was quite good. We thought that the price was reasonable even if you would not be stuffing yourself just because so much food was available. The downside of high tea at Ellenborough Market Cafe is ironically its popularity. It is crowded and you have to wait in line for food; and if you are waiting in line for the seafood items, the trays may be empty by the time you reach the front of the queue. We would not go to the Ellenborough Market Cafe at Swissotel Merchant Court for a leisurely afternoon tea. However, if you are used to queuing up for good food in Singapore, then Buffet High Tea at Ellenborough Market Cafe might be right up your alley.
Food : 4
Service : 3
Value : 4
Atmosphere : 2
Overall Rating : 3 TOPs
Ellenborough Market Cafe
Swissotel Merchant Court
20 Merchant Road
Tel: +65 6239 1848
Buffet High Tea hours:
Sat, Sun & public holidays 3.30 pm – 5 .30 pm
Nearby Stations : Clarke Quay