high tea : the grill, duxton hotel
Spoilt for choice, three layers of goodness.
Note: See my high teas page to find more high teas in and around Perth.
I’m late. Again. Always late to high teas as if it’s a tradition, but really, punctuality is not my strong point. I should really put in down as a New Year’s resolution – but we already have one in place. To try as many high teas in 2010 as possible!
Over enthusiastic – we are the first ones to arrive at The Grill. Tea strainers poised over teacups and glasses of chilled water have already been set out over stiffly pressed tablecloths. Glancing around at the set tables, portions of jam and cream and aproned waiters, this is an old school high tea with all the bells and whistles – and we like it! Even from the outset, it appeared some (probably most) high tea places in Perth could afford to learn a few lessons from The Duxton.
We were attended to very well – the tea menu was explained concisely and soon after, two large pots of hot tea were served and strained into our tea cups. Our lone table was soon joined by the other reserved tables, with flutes of champagne (topped with tiny strawberries) being served.
Our high tea set arrives gracefully. Three tiers filled with pastries, sweets and sandwiches – one glance and we know this is going to be one of the best high teas in Perth! A high tea should have a wow factor and this one has it.
The first tier is filled with the traditional sandwiches with delectable ingredients – ham, brie and baby spinach; goats cheese, basil and cherry tomato on a baguette slice; smoked salmon and spinach on rye; and eggs, mayonaise and cucumber sandwiched with pumpkin seed bread. All the sandwiches were tasty, well made and fortunately not dry (which is surprisingly commonplace).
The second tier is my favourite – sweets! I usually munch on the savoury sandwiches until I can not resist the lure of sugar. The dainty spoon of syrupy diced soft fruit (kiwi and strawberries) topped with a tiny blonde wig of pashmak (turkish fairy floss) is delicious and melts into the sugar syrup. If this sweet was any larger we’d probably go into a sugar coma but it is really good for one mouthful.
We are pleasantly surprised with the strawberry tartlet – it is filled with the most excellent custard – silky, soft and airy. The pastry is short, buttery and crumbly and the tart was definitely freshly assembled (ever had the experience of eating a stale tart… hard, rocky and tasteless!). I could swallow it whole but instead, slowly savoured it. It was that good. The chocolate tart is not like others we have had – again the pastry chef has done an excellent job. Initially I try to break apart the small tart with a fork but the chocolate filling is a barely set lava of dark chocolate. Delicious and rich. With a quill of white chocolate, this petit four is also slowly savoured.
The often forgotten scone is a good gauge of a high tea. If there is no scone, well, that tells you a lot about the high tea you are being served (sacrilegious!). Fresh scones are part and parcel of a traditional high tea and here they have not forgotten it. The scones are freshly baked and are still warm as we slather cream, jam and butter over the raisin studded dough.
There is one item left on the top tier – a little hummingbird cake. I am too full. Still, out of greed I swipe a bit of the buttery frosting and Jess assures me the cake is good – but neither of us can scoff it down! So rare is a high tea where we leave absolutely satisfied. The service here is faultless, we hardly notice our teapots being refilled and the table is cleared shortly after we have finished eating.
The high tea at The Grill is by far, the best I’ve had in Perth (so far). For $28 per head ($38 with a glass of Chandon) it is well priced. They get another thumbs up from me (the traditionalist) for sticking to the proper time for which high tea is served – 2pm till 5pm. Ladies, if you are looking for lounge like atmosphere, white china and a nicely excessive high tea with bottomless cups of tea, I believe this is the place for you.
The only time I did not forget to strain the tea…
Up’s: Almost everything – from the friendly and efficient waiters, to the loose leaf tea, everything was good. We walked out of there smiling.
Down’s: The Grill looks a bit old but this is Perth and on that scale, nothing to complain about!
See my high teas page to find more high teas in and around Perth.
The Grill, Duxton Hotel, 1 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
T: (08) 9261 8025
High Tea is available 7 days 2pm – 5pm
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