Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Old Post Office Tearooms, Queens Street, Busselton, Western Australia

 "High tea with a local gallery to peruse."

Situated in the historic old post office at 4 Queen Street, Busselton you will find a most sumptuous high tea.  I recommend preparing well -  giving 24hrs notice and don't bother about lunch.

There is a lovely selection of teas, coffee or juices, my choice the favourite green sencha arrived with a timer (a first for me).

The three tiers were laden with freshly prepared treats including cucumber, egg, leg ham sandwiches, mini quiches, scones, jam and cream, custard tarts, macaroons, mini petit cakes, strawberries, fruit cake, lemon cake, apple crumble, brownies and the list goes on.  All done so very well, if not a little  overwhelming for three.

Busselton is a wonderful place to visit and high tea at The Old Post Office should be a priority for all tea lovers, Well done.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tea Salon, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Destination du jour for the entrepreneur.

The patrons of the Tea Salon at Starhill Gallery seem to be the business set - either freelancers or the bosses who can leave the office for a few hours and have no one miss them.  Lap tops, confidential tones and sombre expressions the side order with their tea and macaroons.  But don't let that put you off.

Fantastical store design, with gravity defying displays of giant tea canisters in yellow, orange, pink and purple, give the Tea Salon a nice injection of mad-hatter whimsy.  The tea selection, tea pots and tea cups are all very good.

On this occasion, we only had macaroons with our tea, but there is a high tea set available.  Therein lies the trouble with short trips - so little time for all the meals you'd like to fit in.  The Starhill Gallery is opposite the Pavillion Shopping Centre, look for Sephora and you can't miss it.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur

An encore at the Mandarin.

After the rave reviews of one of the inspectors, a group visit to the Mandarin Oriental was recently enjoyed by five(!) high tea inspectors in celebration of a milestone birthday. The big "six-oh" birthday indulgence was no secret from the staff at the Mandarin Oriental, who made the occasion especially memorable via an impromptu and soulful double rendition of "Happy Birthday" complete with violinist and bonus cake.

The collective inspectors found the earlier review accurate.  The food and tea selection is impressive and well executed.  Thoughtful details, such as the unique tiered presentation stands, and fruity derivations of standard favourites make this a standout high tea destination.  It is very handy to the Petronas Shopping Centre - use the Emporio Armani exit and skip on over!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Christchurch to Queenstown, New Zealand

Where, oh where, do you find high tea?

New Zealand is known for its mountains, lakes, sheep, rugby and some times cricket but for the last 10 days I could not find a place that offered high tea, ugh! It well may be my lack of research as I expected that there would be no problem in achieving my travel "fix". Our favourite jam is from NZ and the cream should be wonderful with all those lovely cows in the green green pastures. Alas no.

At Twizel we stayed at a lovely B & B and our hostess Mary (gourmet cook) was most interested in trying a high tea for the locals. I hope this proves to be a great success and one day return to experience more of her cooking.

We tried devonshire tea in Arrowtown after being assured we had come to the right place, one scone, jam, cream and green tea. The scone was a shocker and jam and cream very average. It was a shame because pretty Arrowtown is a great location with lots of tourists and a relaxed atmosphere, just the place to offer high tea.

Our time spent on the south island was most memorable, with some great food, including the infamous Fergburger. The people friendly and hospitable, hopefully next visit will include a holiday "fix". Any suggestions?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Art Gallery of New South Wales Restaurant, Sydney, New South Wales

High tea and Picasso, when you've had enough Picasso, it must be time for tea!

The view across Woolloomooloo Bay from the Art Gallery of NSW's cafe/restaurant is really spectacular - enough to lift one's mind and spirit toward the lofty heights of the finest of fine art - the partaking of tea with a little something.

The $55 per person, you get an all-day ticket to attend the Picasso exhibition (which ends 25th March 2012) and High Tea. The exhibition costs $25 per entry, so if we do the math, that leaves a food and beverage allowance in the mid-to-high range of Australian High Tea Price-o-meter.

Now, The High Tea Inspectors make a point of following the old adage of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". This policy means that we sometimes eat a good deal more High Tea than we review. Given this, I might be a teensy bit bold on this occasion, and note that the service was, unfortunately, not first rate. But really, we all have bad days and therefore this can happen pretty well anywhere you go. Moving on to more pleasant things, the view is divine and the food was very good - it was fresh and there was plenty of it. An interesting and non-traditonal inclusion was pumpkin soup served with a teaspoon - curiouser and curiouser!

If you are in Sydney and have the merest artistic inclination, I highly recommend the Art Gallery. I enjoyed the magnificent Australian collections - all beautifully curated. I have a soft spot for "The sea hath its pearls" by William Henry Margetson - so keep an eye out for that. Then when gallery fatigue sets in, take yourself off for a coffee/pot of tea/slice of cake at the cafe and admire this brilliant city.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lounge on the Park, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur

"A slice of Mandarin"

As a foodie’s paradise it could only be so long before Kuala Lumpur would be on the High Tea Inspectors’ radar, and following our colleagues a week after their Ritz-Carlton experience, we took one for the team at the glorious Mandarin Oriental Lounge.
Situated in the heart of KL, the Lounge is perfectly placed to rest and indulge for an hour or two, after a morning of sightseeing or shopping at the Petronas Towers and Suria KLCC mall, which are mere metres from the Mandarin.
The plush surroundings, live music and friendly staff create a beautiful space of relaxed comfort, and with a view of tropical gardens we were left in no doubt that we were still very much in Malaysia.
With a tough choice of two afternoon tea spreads - the traditional ‘Royal English’ afternoon tea just edged out the chocolate version for us.
The dainty treats that arrived were faultless. Four perfect, pillow-like sandwiches were fresh and full of delicious flavours – smoked salmon, chicken, egg salad and cucumber. Traditional but unbeatable classics.
A seemingly endless variety of tiny sweets were like jewels in both appearance and flavour Рcaramel cheesecake, cr̬me brulee, lemon macaron, Madeleine, Dundee cake, raspberry mille feuille, fruit tartlet. And the small scones (plain and raisin) served with high quality jam, marmalade, lemon butter and cream were delicious.
I can’t go past an Osmanthus Green Tea when it is on the menu as it was at the Mandarin, and it was served in an elegant but understated china teapot to match the rest of the service.

As with KL in general – the Mandarin is a great value, 5 star experience – and if your hunger pangs aren’t satisfied, there is a lovely cake shop next to the lounge for takeaways.

Just a little extra;

At the end of May the High Tea Inspectors returned to the Mandarin in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate yet another 60th Birthday.  Thank you to the wonderful staff and violinist for the two rounds of happy birthday and to chef for the tasty birthday cake.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

"A nice cup of tea and a sit down"

After an eventful trip to India, the three intrepid inspectors landed in Kuala Lumpur in need of some respite/shopping. However, we can't be all play and no work so we decided to put our backs into a high tea marathon at the Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur.

Arriving a full hour too early, we were invited to have a nice cup of tea and a sit down until the food begins (from 3 - 5pm). We all agreed that this was most excellent service, fully anticipating a "computer says no" approach to early arrivers and so happy to be able to rest one's tootsies and build up an appetite with some jasmine tea.

Part of the charm is in choosing and for your process of discernment, the entire range of 42 teas is wheeled around along with vials so you can get a whiff of the good stuff before getting the usual. The teapots and teacups are stately china, and a nice touch is the tealight teapot keeper-warmerers.

When 3pm rolled around we were greeted by the familiar sight of the three tiers of treats, the top consisting of mini chicken pies, quiches, plain scones and apple caramel scones - a new twist on an old favourite. The second tier was gourmet open sandwiches, artfully arranged, though if one was to be picky (and one is) we might suggest that these may not have been made in the recent past. The bottom tier was full of jewel coloured sweets, cheesecake flanked in dark slabs of chocolate and studded with fresh mango pieces and raspberries! The way to anyone's heart to be sure. There was also raspberry macaroons, orange eclairs and pastry cups with fresh berries and gold leaf, to put that extra sparkle in your step.

All in all, a great high tea in the surrounds you'd expect from the Ritz-Carlton - the service was really superb and all for just 69MYR (A$23) - no dinner required.