Barton really is a wonderful part of Canberra. It’s hard to list all the things…
Recently on the HerCanberra writers’ forum (oh yes, we have our own Secret Squirrel Facebook Group where we plot world domination) Belladonna Took had the fabulous idea of reviewing the high teas available around town. Today the first stop on HerCanberra’s High Tea Series is Adore Tea in Gold Creek.
Set among the federation style buildings in quant Gold Creek, Adore Tea is certainly a unique venue when contemplating high tea. While it can’t compare with the opulence and grandeur of the Hyatt lobby, a store and cafe devoted to tea is certainly a destination for tea lovers.
We were seated outside in Adore Tea’s extensive fully covered outdoor area, which makes up the majority of its sitting area. I spy several others here for the 2pm high tea, even some long tables of semi-riotous hens (as riotous as hens could be at a refined event such as high tea). The seating is versatile and caters well to small groups as well as large, and there is plenty of it so a large function or event wouldn’t be out of the question.
Adore Tea serves high tea morning and afternoon on weekends and has a rotating menu for each season. The menu comprises four ‘services’ each with a matching tea, plus a glass of champagne on arrival, for $48.
To start we enjoyed a glass of Veuve Ambal Blanc de Blanc french sparkling, which was clean and fruity. The first service, the ‘traditional service’ then arrived – a platter of delicate sandwiches served with darjeeling first flush tea. The sandwiches were a innovative takes on old favourites, including turkish apple tea infused cucumber and basil pesto with smoked ham and vintage cheese.
For those of you who have been there before, you’d know that Adore Tea doesn’t really serve tea in tea pots so much as tea ‘jugs’. These medium sized glass jugs, almost beakers, contained the already brewed tea, sit on stands which include tealight candles to keep the tea warm as it sits. There was enough in each tea server for two cups each, and we enjoyed the refreshing take on a traditional darjeeling in the daintiest of tea cups which were temptingly also available in the store.
The second service, the savoury service, was a collection of delicious morsels we enjoyed with the visually stunning white flowering tea, which as it hints is a flower that opens as the tea brews. We enjoyed favour packed delights such as mini bruschetta toast drizzled with chai infused olive oil, beetroot wafer topped with spiced capsicum and goats cheese and greek yoghurt on cucumber round infused with lemongrass and ginger tea.
I liked that the elements of the first two services focused on savoury services had traditional elements. Historically high tea was a late, pre-dinner meal which followed afternoon tea and was often a mishmash of leftovers and cold cuts, and almost entirely savoury based.
The third and sweet service was divine. It included berry cheesecake, double choc domes, passionfruit cream, green tea macarons and scones with tea-infused jams and cream. This was definitely the hardest service to get through in terms of the richness of its contents, and was as close as this high tea ever got to gluttony. The subtle but tasty green tea macarons and the fluffy scones were a highlight. This was served with a refreshing passionfruit iced tea which cleansed the palate during a heavy dessert session. It definitely gave my ideas about a summer cocktail or punch mixture with this tea.
The final service was a vanilla tea infused custard layered with berries of the forest jelly served in a tiny shot glass, and accompanied by the sweetie pie rooibos tea. This was a nice way to finish it off.
It sounds obvious, but the focus on tea is what sets this high tea apart. If you are a tea lover like myself you will enjoy sampling teas from their extensive range. The fine china stands and tea cups, sold in store, is pretty fabulous too.
I enjoyed that this wasn’t a gorging exercise. While the food was plentiful and I was certainly full afterwards, the small, delicate morsels that were prepared and served impeccably on the dainty china made for a refined experience. I also loved that the table service made for a relaxing time, knowing that you could sit back, relax and chat without needing to get up for food or hail down a waiter to order more tea. I’m not sure that you can really call it good value at $48, but that’s something we can more adequately assess as the HerCanberra high tea series rolls on.
Adore Tea is a worthy destination, whether for high tea or a straightforward morning or afternoon tea or casual catch up with friends. The menu is varied with delightful cakes and sweets and savoury treats such as dutch poffertjes, and the shop is full of all kinds of gorgeous things that you just want to take home. It’s also a charming setting that lends itself to sitting for hours chatting away with friends, an activity at the heart of the HerCanberra community.
You can find Adore Tea in O’Hanlon Place Nicholls .
Have you been to Adore Tea? What did you think?