It’s probably sacrilege to eat something other than the famous salted chicken, noodles or biscuits while in Ipoh, but I am all about afternoon tea. I don’t know if it’s the cute food or being able to eat cake as a meal, but when I see that somewhere is serving high tea and it is affordable, I have to have it. With STG’s – or Sabah Tea Garden’s – extensive list of black, green, flower and flavoured teas, afternoon tea gets a Malaysian twist.
There has been an obvious change in the savoury portion of the set, evidenced by the paste job and the picture not matching the description, but the rest of the menu page is very clear on what you can expect to get. Although, I just realised now that the scones should have come with clotted cream (as is customary), but instead we got cream cheese. I guess “cream” wasn’t a complete lie, technically.
STG Ipoh Oldtown’s afternoon tea set comes with a pot of tea for each person. It annoys me when other afternoon tea establishments force everyone to drink the same tea. The tea that is included is the No. 11 Sabah Tea, however, for a RM5 surcharge (per pot) you can choose any of the other teas including the flavoured ones. Some of these teas have sample tins on display inside that you can sniff to make a more informed choice. They will be on a shelf to the right of the cash register. There is also the option to have coffee, but this seems like a lot of coffee for one person.
All of the mini desserts that were provided in the afternoon tea set were also sold a la carte in the chilled cabinet next to the register. If you liked a particular sweet and wanted more of it, pick them up here.
Here is an exact breakdown of all the food that came in our afternoon tea set today.
- Kebabs with cheese, black olive, halal deli meat, cucumber, crouton and cherry tomato (2)
- Cucumber finger sandwiches (2)
- Mixed greens salad with no dressing (1)
- Cracker with cream cheese and salmon (2)
- Sakura mousse cake (1)
- Raisin scones (2) with cream cheese (1) and jam (1)
- Lamington cakes: pandan (1) and chocolate flavour (1)
- Chocolate truffles: peanut (1), coconut (1) and dried strawberry (1)
The savoury tier felt like a chore to me. Nothing on it looked exciting or appetizing. The cucumber sandwiches were tasteless and smeared with butter on the inside. These without a doubt needed more fillings. Even just a simple condiment swap, such as cream cheese, would’ve made the sandwich way better. I was disappointed and weirded out when I found out the salad had no dressing, so I was just eating a bowl of boring lettuce, matchstick carrots and raw red onions. There were no surprises on the kebabs – everything tasted as you’d expect. That mystery meat, however, had a terrible texture. The only item where I felt like “yeah, I could eat more of those” were the salmon and cream cheese crackers, but even those were unexceptional.
The desserts fared better. The best item on the sweet tier were the scones, hands down. Although they were missing the appropriate cream, they were dense and fluffy without being dry. Speaking of dry, the sponge cake inside the lamingtons was as dry as the coconut on the outside. After eating half a lamington, it was a tedious task to eat the rest of my share. The truffles were all rich dark chocolate with a flavour infusion. The peanut and coconut truffles had an orange liqueur undertone. They had already been warmed by the Ipoh weather, so they melted in our mouths. The sakura mousse cake had a subtle cherry flavour and was palatable. The truffles and mousse cake would have been better if we had sat inside instead of on the hot patio. The truffles were quite soft and gooey, and the jellied layer on the sakura cake was half-melted by the time we got to it.
We paid the extra surcharge for 2 pots of flavoured Sabah tea. The pandan tea had a decent pandan aroma but it didn’t impart its flavour much. I do not think the apple flower tea was worth it, as the apple flavour and even scent were pretty much nonexistent.
Instead of getting both pots of tea at once, STG does allow you to “hold” a pot of tea for later. For our first pot, we chose a tea flavour that was meant to pair with food. We held our second pot until after we finished eating to drink as a “dessert tea.” A bowl of Demerara sugar was brought with the first pot. No milk, but I’m sure the restaurant will fetch you some if you specifically request it.
STG Ipoh Oldtown had very friendly service and the feel of the restaurant is classy without being overly expensive. However, the food in their afternoon tea leaves much to be desired. While RM58 is a terrific price for afternoon tea for two pax, the food was mediocre and not even worth that. The savoury fare was especially bad. This high tea set is also very little grub for most people if you share everything equally. I wasn’t particularly hungry when we sat down, but even I still felt unfed and wanted more nibbles when we left. Good thing we were in a food paradise like Ipoh!
Price for 2 Pax: RM78.90
Afternoon Tea for Two: RM58.00
Tea Upgrade (Pandan): RM5.00
Tea Upgrade: (Apple Flower): RM5.00
10% Service: RM6.80
6% SST: RM4.08
STG Ipoh Oldtown
18-20, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, 30000 Ipoh, Perak
Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm
Alcohol Served: Yes