English Tea House & Restaurant in Sandakan Sabah

Sandakan English Tea House and Restaurant

The English Tea House and Restaurant in Sandakan are located on a little hill overlooking the majestic Sandakan Bay. This unique place is also housed in a meticulously renovated colonial English house and is surrounded by 1.5 acres of perfectly manicured lawns, complete with a Croquet Pitch and outdoor seating.

Anyone visiting Sandakan in East Coast Sabah should see this place for some good old traditional English cooking or a tea and scones session. The English Teahouse is also run by a non-Malaysian, giving the area a lot of character and charm. 

English Tea House in Sandakan Sabah
 English Tea House sign

Sandakan English Tea House & Restaurant

The English Tea House and Restaurant in Sandakan also cater to weddings and other small functions. Still, the main attraction here is the beautiful landscaping and dining experience in an old colonial home. This is possibly the best restaurant around Sandakan, so prices are a little more than your regular cafe or coffee shop, so be prepared.

I would readily vouch for the Tea and Scones serves here as they are probably the best found in the entire Borneo. On my visit here in December 2009, under the invitation of Sabah Tourism, we were actually visiting the Agnes Keith House and Museum, which is within walking distance from the Tea House.

Sandakan English Tea House
 Arched entrance with plants growing over the sign

After the visit to Agnes Keith House, our guide took us here to have some lunch. I had not heard about this place, and our guide had been raving about the food and tea here. On reaching the entrance, I could see a lot of green surrounding the colonial home.

Hedges occupied the main walkway inside as the main restaurant was facing the sea. The dining area could easily fit about 20-30 people and was a veranda style restaurant with a mini bar area inside the house.

Menu  English Tea House Sandakan
Menu of the day

Our set menu was placed on the table, so it was pretty straightforward and easy. Fish or beef were the two choices for the day, and we took one of each.

While waiting, I asked for the general menu and saw several Western and Asian dishes being served. The dessert selection was pretty impressive, while they served some excellent coffee too.

Breadsticks in a flute glass

Breadsticks were served in a flute glass with a side dish of balsamic vinegar and olive oil as a snack. Lilian ordered a hot latte while I opted for some iced milk coffee. I have to say the table settings, choice of cutlery and overall ambience was quite impressive.

Caesar Salad

Our primary starter arrived, a traditional Caesar salad with croutons shared between us as we wanted to keep space for the many desserts highlighted to us before ordering our mains. The following pictures and captions are what we had.

I am sorry as I don't really write much about food, so I would not exaggerate the taste. A summary would be it was really nice from our experience, and I would quickly come back here to dine.

food review  English Tea House
 Rolled Beef Fillet with Basil, Mustard, Shallot and Thyme Emulsion
 Grilled Fillet of Snapper with Lemon Dill Sauce

Food at  English Tea House Sandakan
 Bread and Butter Pudding with Custard

English Tea House Sandakan Tea and Scones
Tea and Scones at English Tea House Sandakan

Finally, after a filling lunch here and after the recommended Bread and Butter Pudding, our Tea and Scones came out. As we were pretty filled, a request for just one scone each as we could not put anything else into our stomachs.

I have to mention again that the tableware was perfect as English style serving plates were used, which made the experience complete.

The outcome - Amazing! Fresh cream was made while the jam was not too sweet. I had similar Tea and Scones at Cameron Highlands some time back, too, and this was much better.

English Tea House Sandakan Menu
Chef's Special Menu at English Tea House Sandakan

 The walkway to the main restaurant

Antiques Sandakan
 Some of the antique decorations

Croquet Lawn in Sandakan
 A Croquet Lawn with outdoor seating

 Croquet Rules on display in Sandakan

Sandakan English Tea House
The lawn area

 Souvenir shop

This truly unique place gives anyone a chance to experience how it was back in the day where actual dining at an old colonial bungalow complete with a Croquet Lawn and beautifully landscaped gardens surround the vicinity.

The decorations are tastefully done, while the service here is pretty decent.  This is as close as it can get to the original nostalgic time and is well worth visiting.

Take note that some tour packages to Sandakan may offer the English Tea House and Restaurant as one of your lunch stopovers.

I know that a tour visit to Agnes Keith House usually includes this place, so check with your tour company or guide about this.

Tea & Scones Restaurants around Malaysia
Getting to the English Tea House in Sandakan

To get here, one needs to take a taxi up the Istana road from Sandakan town centre, or you can take a 20-minute walk on the stairway at the back of the Sandakan Municipal office.

You can also take a ride-hailing service to this restaurant as there are several available around Sandakan.

English Tea House & Restaurant Address;
2002 Jln Istana,
Sandakan 90000,
Phone: +60-89-222544

Operating Hours: 10:00 am till midnight daily
Happy Hours: 9:00pm till 11:00pm daily 

If you visit Sandakan for the Eco-Tourism areas like Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Kinabatangan River, Gomantong Caves, or the Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC), here are many articles related to Sabah.

While in Sandakan and you have some extra time in town, do visit the English Tea House and Restaurant in Sandakan Sabah as you will not regret it.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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