Q: What does a proper tea freak do when they get home from a delicious, decadent, afternoon of high tea?
A: This tea freak makes a cuppa (of course), and gets on with a review post!
As far as I’m concerned, Sunday afternoons are made for pink sparkling wine, fancy finger sandwiches, divine sugary treats and giant pots of tea.
Luckily for me, thats exactly what I got this afternoon, joining a friend for high tea at the Tea Salon: a sweetly lilac and pink festooned chain of tea joints in major shopping precincts in Melbourne and Sydney.
Pretty squarely aimed at the fierce shopper, looking for an afternoon pick-me-up after a big day of retail therapy, or mid-shopping binge lunch, the Westfield Sydney one is right in the middle of the centre, on the 4th floor with all the designer stores I usually just peek in the window of.
We rock up at 1pm, and the place is already packed. Plenty of Mom’s and their little girls, tourists and luxury shoppers around us, chatting excitedly over silver tiered trays piled high with food, and taking the requisite social media snaps on their phones.
We’re seated pretty quickly and are told our bubbly will be over soon, we just have to decide on the scones we’d like to order, and the kind of tea we want. We both pick the white chocolate and cranberry scone.
And now, for the big TEA DECISION! My high-tea companion isn’t a big tea drinker (I know, but look, the world would be dull if we all liked the same things right?), so she chooses an amazing sounding chocolate chai iced tea. I pick the Sweetheart Tea, which is a black ceylon tea, “sweetened with a sprinkling of tiny, pink, heart-shaped sugar candies.” I simply had to.
Our sparkly arrives – delicious – and we giggle over the Wills, Kate and Prince George commemorative plates set in front of us.
Then, the tiered tray of sandwiches, cake, tarts, mousse AND scones is placed in front of us and the real work begins – demolishing this food.
Highlights for me? The basil pesto, spinach & creme fraiche ribbon sandwich, the very rich chocolate mousse, with a layer of soft, sticky merengue on the top, and the gigantic white chocolate & cranberry scone, which came with triple berry conserve and cream.
As for my love-heart tea? It was hot, and strong, and delicious. But either the pink hearts melted, or I just got plain tea. I thought I’d open the teapot lid and be tickled at the sight of those tiny little pink hearts, but I didn’t see any. My tea didn’t taste sweet either, but perhaps my taste buds were a little distracted by all the sweet stuff I’d already eaten! Anyway, I didn’t ask, but I didn’t feel too hard done by in the end, because the pot of tea I got was probably just what I needed, as I said, after all those sweet treats.
I believe the chocolate chai iced tea was tasty too, although there is a case to be made for choosing a more refreshing iced tea, to balance the sweetness of everything else.
All in all, it was a perfectly lovely afternoon tea. It feels a little strange at first, out there in the middle of designer store central, shoppers wandering past, muzak playing overhead, but with tasty food and delicious company, its quite a lovely way to spend the afternoon. I can see how it would be a nice resting place for the weary shopper, requiring sustenance, but it was equally fun for an afternoon gossip and catch up, with the added bonus of all the sweet treats you can handle.
My friend had a Red Balloon voucher for this high tea, but if you’re interested, the Winter High Tea with sparkling wine is usually $49.