>> August 1, 2010
It's that time again.....time for high tea! Yay!
Goodness knows, I love myself a good high tea. It is a great way to unwind and relax on the weekend. Perusing the tea menu, choosing which tea you want, lounging around to eat the tiny treats....simply wonderful.
High tea on this particular Saturday afternoon was at the Sofitel Wentworth Lounge. It was a spontaneous trip and we arrived at 4pm without a booking. High tea is served here until 5pm so the server checked whether we could still have it - the answer was yes - so we were soon seated.
The lounge is nicer than I expected. It has a variety of seating available, including some armchairs that looked quite comfortable. We chose to sit near the window and I took the seat lined against the wall which wasn't nearly as comfortable as it looked.
The lounge is decorated in soft, muted tones and immediately we begin to relax.
Each table had a small tealight candle holder and as the sky turned to dusk outside, the candles were lit by a waitress.
The tea selection isn't as large as other high teas - there are two short pages of black and herbal teas. I choose Assam, which was described as having a malty flavour. Unfortunately I couldn't taste this maltiness in the tea!
The teapot also could have been better. The waitress carried it out with small napkins wrapped around the handle. We quickly figured out why - it was because the entire teapot was burning hot because it was metal! This made for awkward pouring as we tried to adjust our teapot-handing so that our fingers didn't accidentally brush against the pot.
I love sugar cubes but even just one of these made the tea exceedingly sweet.
A point in the Softitel's favour - iced water was brought out to us without having to ask.
Almost immediately after the tea and water were brought out, our tier arrived! Perfect timing.
Our low table was a bit small so it was difficult to take the plates out of the tier stand for photos. Hence the shadows. Sorry! I was also feeling incredibly hungry this afternoon and didn't take the time for individual food photos, only by tier.
Let's start from the bottom
This tier consisted of:
Chicken, Preserved Lemon and Almond Sandwich - delicious.
Smoked Tasmanian Salmon, Rocket and Fried Caper on Brioche - the bite sized brioche had a small mountain of smoked salmon on top. I thought this was very generous considering that some high teas seem to think that only tiny portions are permitted.
Goat’s Cheese and Mushroom Profiteroles - also delicious. Biting into the profiteroles to find the savoury filling was a pleasant surprise. I think these, and the chicken lemon almond sandwiches were my favourites from the savoury tier.
Aged Brie, Cranberry and Cucumber on Mini Baguette - this was a nice spin on the usual cucumber sandwich that you find at high tea.
And then the scones, a necessity for any high tea.
Not the best scones that I've had, but not the worst either. You received two plain scones, and two raisin scones. The cream and jam came in little sauce dishes - I've realised that I much prefer when these condiments come out in small ramekins, like at Lilianfels. It makes for easier slathering!
And lastly, the sweets:
Almond macarons, chocolate eclairs, Raspberry Opera Slice, Wentworth cheese cake, Peach meringue tarts
On this tier:
Raspberry Opera Slice
Chocolate pastry with layers of almond biscuit, raspberry ganache, soaked with framboise
liqueur, garnished with fresh raspberries
The Rasberry Opera Slice was very, very sweet. They are the cubes on the right hand side of the picture that are topped with a raspberry. It reminded me of the limited edition Tim Tams in Raspberry Love Potion flavour! Unfortunately this was too sweet for even my sweet tooth and I left most of mine untouched.
Soft almond meringue infused with pistachio oil, filled with pistachio ganache
The almond flavour of the macarons was quite strong and overpowered the pistachio flavour.
Wentworth Cheese Cake
The original recipe since the inceptions of Afternoon Tea at the Wentworth. A light jocund
pastry layered with cream and cream cheese
This cheese cake was lovely. At first my friend didn't think that it was a cheesecake because of the light sponge-like cake that sandwiched the cream cheese. She didn't like it, but I did.
Freshly baked choux pastry filled with Belgium chocolate mousse, glazed with dark chocolate
The chocolate eclairs were nice but not outstanding.
Peach Meringue Tart
Sweet tartlets filled with white peach curd, topped with scorched meringue
I was SO excited when the waiter announced the peach meringue tart. What a great twist on the traditional lemon meringue tart! This was actually the first treat that I took from the dessert tier because I was so eager to try it and they looked so cute with their perfect meringue tops.
And then...noooooo. They were all wrong! Neither of us could taste the peach flavour. The meringue was a soft meringue and then the bottom had an orange coloured filling, with a strange 'a bit harder than mush' texture. It tasted a bit soapy. Quite odd.
Would I go back to the Wentworth for high tea again? I thought the savouries were outstanding but although the sweets look divine (10/10 for presentation), the taste was a let down.
I don't think I've done a review of high tea at the Stamford Circular Quay before but at the moment, it's ranking as my favourite Sydney high tea : )