Finally 1 month after visiting the Orient Express exhibition, the date for our booking for the high tea has arrived. You can read my reviews about the exhibition in my previous post here. I was pretty excited about re-living the experience of dining in the Orient Express the moment the exhibition arrived but it was quite hard getting an available slot for the high tea as it is the most affordable one at SGD 78 ( excluding tax). There are a few offerings for the dining experience; lunch , brunch, high tea and dinner. Each setting has a fixed timing and has to be reserved beforehand, children below the age of 10 is also not allowed. The menu for the dining experience is crafted by 2 time 3 Michelin star French chef Yannick Alléno with luxury and fusion as the main theme and can be found on the main website.
Located just next door from the exhibition, the replica dining carriage is housed within the same air conditioned tent where the real Orient Express is exhibited.
The moment you pass the scan in and temperature taking, you are transported into a waiting lobby lounge of some sorts. Modeled like a lounge bar, it is used as a waiting area for any customers who arrive ahead of their dining time slot. You can sit at the small bar with high stools and get a drink while waiting which should be chargeable. As we were right on time, we were ushering immediately to the dining carriage.
There is only 1 replica carriage which is why dining slots are very limited. Each carriage can only house 28 person per session given the current safe distancing rules. There are some seats outside of the train but I’m not sure who would book a session outside of the train at the price of the meals.
The inside of the train is fairly new since it is a replica but looks pretty much similar to the actual carriage in terms of color, furnishings and structure. The carriage is spilt into 2 sections and per section could sit only 12 persons when I was there so I am guessing some of the tables in the middle could be moved to make a table of 6.
The table is quite narrow and the space between tables is also quite tight so with the huge chairs, it is not that easy to move in and out of the chairs for bigger frame people. It is also not recommended to come here with big bags as there is not a lot of space you can put your bags. We were also served using cutlery bearing the Orient Express exhibition visuals and logo which could be bought at the gift shop.
We were started off with our orders for beverage and you can choose between coffee, tea, chocolate. There wasn’t really a drinks menu so we pretty much went with what we felt like drinking and only replaced it if it was not available. Drinks was refillable throughout the high tea, so you could do a change between coffee/ tea or chocolate anytime. The tea served was from TWG and the coffee from Nespresso. Generally, the drinks were pretty decent.
Right after our beverages were served, this cute mini savoury puff which was their signature dish started the high tea. The puff sandwiched roasted mushroom and spinach and was served with some sauce. The puff itself was very crispy and light and the sauce reminded me of creamy mushroom soup. The taste was not too bad but was gone in one bite as it was really tiny.
Right after the savoury puff, we were served this cream puff drizzled with warm chocolate sauce right at the table. While the puff was well baked, there was nothing too spectacular about the profiterole.
After we finished the 2 puffs, everything else was served at one go. There was a plate of savoury sandwiches; cucumber and cream cheese, mimosa egg and comte cheese and savora sauce. The sandwiches were basic in flavours but my favourite one on this plate is the egg mimosa.
Shaped like a small bowl, the base of this sandwich was made of baguette bread and is filled with egg mayonnaise in the center and topped with a cooked yolk. While this is also pretty basic, the egg mayonnaise was creamy and flavourful enough
There was a basket of English scones served with Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam which was served while the scones were still slightly warm. The presentation of the scones was quite promising but one bite into it and we were greatly disappointed. The scones were extremely dry and had a lack of flavour. While the jam and cream provided some moisture to the scone, it was barely redeemable that we left out half a tray of the scones.
The rest of the items were served in this pretty tiered dish. As there were 4 of us, they had to spilt the items between this tray and the plates while some of the 2 seater had everything served to them in this tray.
Right at the bottom, there were foie gras mini sliders with seared foie gras sandwiches between 2 mini burger buns.
The foie gras was sitting on a bed of fig seasoned with sauce and I was pretty disappointed that the buns were not grilled or seared. Because the buns were naked, it was bland in taste and quite dry in texture although the sauce from the figs itself did provide some sauce and moisture. The foie gras was slightly overcooked in my opinion and did not have that nice crust.
On the other side of the bottom tray was this smoked salmon & nori sandwich which was pretty refreshing in terms of taste. The black bread was quite soft contrary to its outlook and provided a good pairing with the savoury smoked salmon and Ikura bits.
The top tier and the 2nd tier was repeated as there were 4 of us which included mango saffron tart, caviar lime madeleines, coffee flavored liquorice pastry and Golden profiterole. It’s probably called golden profiteroles due to the specks of golden film sprinkled on the profiteroles. Most of the sweets were quite mediocre in terms of taste and texture except for the tart base of the mango saffron tart. The tart itself was extremely buttery and had a semi crunch and melt in your mouth texture which was totally delectable.
Overall, the service staff at the Orient Express dining was very professional and helpful with all our requests. The food was also served on time and drinks refilled promptly. At the price of the high tea, it is more for the atmosphere and experience than for the actual food itself. Judging from the high tea, I can probably say that desserts are not the forte of the Michelin chef as they are really not outstanding. If you would like to experience dining on board an Orient Express replica and not picky about food, perhaps you can give it a try as they are in Singapore till 13 June 2021.
Address: Gardens by the Bay, West Lawn next to Bayfront plaza
Operating hours: Lunch start from 12 pm. For all time slots, please check at their website here