Life is so different after the arrival of bebe K. With the high physical demand (and time-wise) of taking care of a newborn, it was almost impossible to think about taking an infant out for leisure purposes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — until just recently, we decided to brave the anxiety and bring bebe on his first leisure outing at Hortus café in the Flower Dome at the Gardens by the Bay.
We picked a weekday afternoon to avoid the crowd. And we were so pleased to arrive at this gorgeous Mediterranean-themed café inside the Flower Dome away from the hustle and bustle, in style — their exclusive and complimentary buggy ride from the entrance of the Gardens by the Bay made arrival a breeze! While I was worried that it might be too windy for my newborn, bebe actually enjoyed the short and scenic ride.
The afternoon tea goes at S$58 per diner and comprises 10 pieces of sweet and savoury canapés and a Devonshire scone. There’s also a vegetarian option though the sweet segment remains the same. We had both the original afternoon tea and the vegetarian afternoon tea during our visit.
We love how bright, tranquil and airy the space is. As the café is nestled in the Flower Dome and surrounded by greenery, you get to enjoy the cool temperature with ample alfresco sunlight, which bebe K clearly enjoys. I’d say it is a great pick for your infant’s very first leisure outing, providing that you strategically plan the time of your outing. Bring along extra swaddle so that you can layer up your baby just in case it gets a little too chilly for the little one.
The afternoon tea comes in a cute and dainty three-tier cake stand. The gorgeous set-up is an instant mood lifter. For a moment it almost felt like a fairy tale. The serving crew, Isyraf was warm and smiley as he serves our drinks and gave us a brief introduction of the canapés.
The savoury section includes sandwiches, quiche, pastries and puffs. The gougères and quiche were great but the sandwiches were a tad dry. However, I enjoyed the cucumber sandwich from the vegetarian menu. Perhaps, it was the cream cheese that provides the bread with some moisture that the other sandwiches were lacking.
Free Flow Beverages
The afternoon tea at Hortus comes with free-flow coffee and tea, although one beverage will be served at one time. You may also opt for free-flow Prosecco at S$98++ per pax if you are in the mood for some bubbles.
The sweet section comes with a variety of classic desserts, including macaron, lemon meringue, choux and tart. We love the Blueberry & Vanilla Frangipane Tart and the Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse on the top tier of the cake stand.
Complimentary Access to Flower Dome
One exclusive perk of dining here is that you’ll get complimentary access to the Flower Dome. Imagine an afternoon tea followed by a nice stroll around the Flower Dome…Sometimes we just need to stop and smell the roses!
Pro Tip: Arrange a visit to the café during your favourite season and theme exhibition and smell the scent of your favourite flower while having high tea in a cooling environment! We love the idea of enjoying an afternoon tea and spend a leisure evening at the Dome during the yearly cherry blossom exhibition.
Writer’s Note: The afternoon tea in the tranquil garden of Hortus is akin to dining in a secret garden. We love the bright, cooling and beautiful space and the warm and attentive service. I was having a problem making a reservation but everything was settled swiftly.
However, I’d very much be a happy diner if the portions were a little more generous, and if the kitchen team can improve some of the items on their afternoon tea menu, especially the scone and sandwiches which are the basic and essential components of an afternoon tea.
Considering the price point, the canapés were mediocre. However, if we factor in the complimentary admission to the Flower Dome, the exclusive buggy service and the charming garden dining experience, I’d say it is of a fair value proposition. That said, I’ve heard good reviews of their Mediterranean food offerings and their ala-carte dessert near the counter looks rather promising too so I would return to try their main dishes someday.
Last but not least, ending the post with a 3-month post-partum update — My body isn’t the same anymore and I am truly not ready for any full body shoot. However, this Lucy V Front Babydoll Midi Dress from The Tinsel Rack got me covered. It’s super easy to care for and comfy to wear. Perfect for a new mama like me!
Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Dr, #01-09 Flower Dome, S018953
WED – FRI:
Lunch: 11am – 230pm
Afternoon Tea: 3pm – 5pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10pm
SAT – SUN:
Lunch: 10am – 230pm
Afternoon Tea: 3pm – 5pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10pm
CLOSED ON MONDAYS & TUESDAYS
Photographs by: Wind Tay