high tea : peninsula tea gardens – maylands
Really, really beautiful. That is how I would describe the Peninsula Tea Garden’s Parisian High Tea. On an elevated hill above the Swan River, the tea house is hidden away from the public eye. Flanked by umbrella shaded tables underneath the branches of trees as old as the Tranby house, it’s a slice of refined paradise.
In white rattan chairs, we sipped water served from a silver jug while witnessing the first rain clouds of autumn rolling in, changing the hot sunny atmosphere into a spectacularly dark and humid air. The almost exotic colonial weather set the scene for our full on, lady like (there were a few gentlemen) Parisian High Tea. Saying that, it’s not very lady like when you are seated next to a rather distracting table of haughty cackling bitches, like we were.
Anyway, eavesdropping on conversations aside, the high tea was impressive – from a tableware point of view. Served on Royal Albert china it seemed from the demure glazed teacups, bone china dishes to the polished silver, not a penny was spared. The resulting effect is an extravagant, five star high tea setting. Perfect for those of us who love over the top, totally unnecessary indulgences.
My high tea partner in crime, Jess, has once again generously given some of her precious time to the noble pursuit of trying Perth’s high teas. After the Duxton, we are chuckling to ourselves at our very fortunate run of high teas this year.
After the pomp of the silverware, the novelty factor of three tiers of finger sandwiches and sweets loses some of its awe. Nonetheless it really was beautiful (okay, I have to stop using the word beautiful!). We started from the bottom tier of finger sandwiches – roast beef with horseradish, cucumber sandwiches and smoked salmon with cream cheese.
Made with supermarket flimsy, flossy bread, I was not partial to the sandwiches. The cheap bread makes the sandwiches limp and contributes no texture whatsoever. The sandwiches were laden with butter, which made them greasy.
Unlike the bread, the adorable wonky scones are obviously home baked. Crumbly and dense, the chubby scones were accompanied by copious amounts of jam and cream. Delicious. We slap on the jam and cream as if they were going out of fashion and savour each bite. Devonshire teas are available to impromptu visitors, so if you do decide to pop in without a reservation, don’t despair – the scones themselves are worth the visit.
Tea is served before and after the high tea and you can change your choice for the second serving. One downside of the silverware is they get extremely hot with tea brewing inside. It’s awkward attempting to pour a cup of tea with only a tiny cloth protecting your fingers from the searing teapot. I’m one of those girls that can drink a lot of tea, and would have appreciated a bottomless teapot, especially for $38 a head.
The last tier (the best is always saved till last!) was filled with two cupcakes, an eclair, a lemon meringue tart and two charming petit fours. The petit fours were the first to go – blame it on their adorable marzipan coats. So cute. The petit fours were different – Jess’s petit four was vanilla and mine was chocolate. Filled with cream (or ganache) and sponge, our dessert forks just fell through the delicate petit fours. I should learn how to make these. The eclair got raving reports from Jess. The lemon meringue tart was everything a lemon meringue tart should be and I don’t even like lemon meringues!! The meringue was soft and pillowy – like eating clouds. The filling of lemon meringue tarts is what usually turns me off. More often than not, it is too sour, artificial or some heinous neon colour. I’m glad to say the lemon filling was tangy, sweet and creamy. Perhaps I have been converted.
Like most other ladies in Perth, if I see a cute cupcake I am swooning. But the proof is in the pudding. Good cupcakes are easy to make – there’s not a lot to it, all you are looking for is a fine, moist crumb, buttery flavour and some edible icing. These cupcakes looked good, the swirl of icing topped off with little flowers were oh-so-cute. But, the icing was inedible and hard. And much, much too sweet. The cupcake itself was okay, nothing to write home about. It was the only part of the high tea I did not finish.
Sweet tooth satiated, we ordered a pot of Buddha’s Tears to finish off. The service here is very prompt and friendly, if not a little formal and that adds even more to the ambiance. The green tea was one of the best I’ve tasted – made better by the effort to not burn ourselves whilst pouring it!
Peninsula Tea Gardens is popular so it is best to book. The Parisian High Tea requires a $10 deposit per head (which is taken over the phone via credit card) and they are often booked well in advanced. We noticed some tables had champagne – BYO is accepted (corkage applies) and champers is always a welcome idea with high tea.
Peninsula Tea Gardens may be one of Perth’s best high teas in terms of atmosphere and decor. It is by far, the most traditional high tea in Perth we’ve experienced. So take your girlfriends out, while away an afternoon by the river with a glass of champagne and enjoy the view.
Up’s: BEAUTIFUL tableware setting, transforms the high tea to a far away colonial yesteryear. River views. Good scones, most of the sweets were delicious.
Down’s: I’d rather a delicious cupcake rather than a good looking one. Sandwich bread quality is dire. The deposit for each reservation is off putting – I understand the reason behind it but it makes reserving high tea troublesome.
Peninsula Tea Gardens, Tranby House, Johnson Rd, Maylands WA 6051
T: (08) 9272 8894
Tue – Sun 10 – 5
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