Monday, July 20, 2009
High Tea at The Loft
I can’t think of many ways I’d rather spend an afternoon than sitting in the sunshine with a few girlfriends, leisurely sipping tea and eating dainty cakes. But when you add in teapot cocktails and a beautiful view, there’s no wonder we were at the Loft two Saturdays in a row for High Tea! The first time, Steph, Karen, Lili, Betty and Jen and I sampled the Loft’s regular High Tea package, available every Saturday and Sunday between 1-3pm. We decided on High Tea with a Twist which comes with a tea-infused cocktail or glass of sparkling in addition to a tiered stand of petit fours and tea or coffee. It was a real treat to be served cocktails out of cute teapots, which gives the Loft’s High Tea a real difference from others in Sydney.
The teapot cocktails come out first amongst a flurry of camera snaps. With one teapot shared between two, we decided to share the Sencha Quince Fizz (Lillet shaken with a hint of vanilla, fresh passionfruit pulp, pink grapefruit and chilled T2’s Sencha Quince Tea), the Turkish Delight (Plymouth gin and a touch of Tuaca shaken with homemade rhubarb puree, pear cheek, fresh lemon and chilled T2 Turkish Apple Tea) and the Strawberry Pash (Zubrowka Bison-grass vodka, crème de fraise shaken with home made apple puree, strawberries, basil and sweet T2’s Mardi Gras). The Sencha Quince is a favourite, though tastes more of passionfruit than anything else and Turkish delight is lovely, fruity and light.
The sandwiches were nice and fresh, however the fillings were quite standard – smoked salmon and dill, cucumber and cream cheese, and chicken and mushroom. The roasted vegetable frittata however was quite disappointing, tasting very eggy with a strangely shiny surface.
The scones looked a little flat but were surprisingly light and fluffy, served with strawberry jam and whipped cream. Though apparently it’s hard to compare them with the Tea Room’s scones… I think that might be our next High Tea outing, in fact.
The tiny lemon meringue pies are cute, and very sweet, but I think I’ll love any lemon meringue pie you put in front of me. The brownie was a tiny bit overcooked, but I really liked the pear and almond tart. The dark chocolate truffle dusted with cocoa powder was also delicious. Having tasted the tapas plates that the Loft prepares in-house and loving them, it seems that the quality has taken a little step down on the food that is ordered in.
Next up, the girls came back to take our tea orders. We each ordered something different, which meant there was little room left on the table. The tea was served in elegant fine glass teacups, which proved a little too delicate when Lili swapped one cracked teacup for another! I had the Madagascan Vanilla tea, which was a lovely black tea scented with vanilla bean, but Lili’s chai and Steph’s Blue Mountain tea smelled incredible as well. I also had a taste of Betty’s Gorgeous Geisha, a beautiful and slightly fruity green tea. The high tea had it’s ups and downs. The highlights were definitely the teapot cocktails, the wonderful company and the beautiful view, which made it a very memorable afternoon indeed.
The next Saturday we were back for a special Christmas in July High Tea, which I was excited about from the very beginning. Though not a white Christmas, it was unseasonably warm, an absolutely gorgeous day to be sitting in the sunshine. Steph and Karen were back, as well as Lorraine, Betty the Hungry Girl, Suze and Helen, and Leona was unable to make it at the last minute.
We started with teapot cocktails again, and I don’t think they ever get old. Santa’s Little Helper had fresh berries crushed with cranberry juice, bourbon and fruit liqueurs balanced with a hint of citrus, topped of with red fruits tea. It was quite strong, and the bourbon seemed quite out of place in this otherwise very girly cocktail. Silent Night was chocolate liqueur combined with Martel VS, a touch of chilled espresso rounded off with peppermint tea. This was intriguing as I love chocolate and espresso together, but it didn’t quite live up to expectation. The highlight however was Rudolph’s Nose, with rhubarb puree and fresh cherry shaken with bison grass vodka and a hint of citrus with Turkish apple tea. We also couldn’t resist a repeat performance of the gorgeous Sencha Quince Fizz.
The sandwiches were an improvement on last week, with more festive fillings such as turkey and cranberry, baby prawn mayo with sprouts and honey roasted leg ham with mustard pickle. They were all quite nice, with the turkey being a favourite. There was also a slice of chicken & pistachio galantine, a baby red pepper stuffed with goat’s cheese and a ham and roast onion frittata, which was a huge improvement’s on last week’s.
This week there were raisin scones with jam and cream, just as nice as last week’s. The White Christmas rum ball was white chocolate with a tasty alcoholic kick.
The sweets were also an improvement on last week in my mind, with the mince pie being one of the best I’ve ever had. I’m not usually a fan of them, but this had beautiful buttery pastry and a tasty spicy filling. The baked custard tarts had the same pastry base, and the sour cherries were a nice addition. The macadamia nut brownie was not overcooked, still slightly molten in the center.
This week I decided to try the chai tea – wonderfully spicy and seductive in flavour, definitely a favourite. So while the food was much improved, the cocktails were a little average, and as Karen mentioned, the atmosphere could have definitely been more festive with a Chrissy carol or two by the piano man, or some decorations. I think we’ve proven that you can never have enough high tea, and so, even after two in as many weeks, we are still planning another for the near future – the QVB Tea Room, perhaps?
High Tea is available every Saturday and Sunday between 1-3pm. Bookings Essential.
Christmas in July High tea is available for one more weekend - Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July. Bookings Essential
The Loft, 3 Lime St, King St Wharf Sydney