I decided to be a lady last Saturday and went and had high tea at Tea and Niceties with one of my girlfriends. This isn’t the first time I’ve ventured into the world of civility, I’m actually quite fond of high teas. It’s even got me writing like some stuffy, old lady! The two places I’ve previously been to are High Societea (nice play on words but nothing else) and Joseph Alexanders.
High Societea in Clayfield is totally overrated and I would NOT recommend that anyone go there. I’ve given them two chances and both times I’ve gone, the staff has been rude, abrupt and they are very stingy with their offerings.
The first time I went there, we were a group of 6. I had my gluten free option and there were 5 normal ones. I was extremely disappointed with mine, I had to pay the same as a Royal Ascot High Tea ($45), but theirs included Pimms, mine didn’t. I got a few – $1 a packet – rice crackers and a few leaves of salad, no real attempt at any savoury offerings other than a wedge of cheese and some smoked salmon. The sweets weren’t memorable either. There were 5 regular high teas and two tiers came and the tier for two people had four cakes and the tier for three people also had four! So my friends ended up having to cut up pastries so that each could have some! EACH of them paid $45! Totally unacceptable in my opinion.
When we asked for our teas (this is thirty minutes after the tiers have arrived), we were met with, “Oh, do you want your tea now?” as if you don’t have tea with your sandwiches! The second time I went, they forgot our Pimms despite us asking for it – twice, and at the end of the meal, we suggested they give us a discount as they never ended up delivering the Pimms, we were told that that wasn’t possible! I guess the food weren’t bad, but let’s not kid ourselves, the food weren’t great either – certainly not good enough to justify the bad service and standards, which left a really sour taste in my mouth.
Joseph Alexanders were pretty good, I’ve been there a few times, and they do a great high tea, I get sandwiches each time and because I don’t get as many pastries, I always get a mini serve of their very tasty crème brulee. All the sweet offerings are fine dining restaurant quality too. The service is impeccable, and you usually get a good seat that looks out onto the river. The setting isn’t pink, floral or pretty, but the food, the bottomless pots of tea (I change my tea selection each time – they have a good range) more than makes up for it.
Tea and Niceties
Anyways, I digress, last Saturday, my friend and I made the drive to Mt Tamborine to Tea and Niceties. The outside was completely unremarkable but the inside is extremely pink and pretty with plaster – real looking – roses everywhere. The table is set with flowers, white table cloths, pink napkins, floral dishes and silverware. Water glasses have their own rose petal and a sliver of orange, sugar cubes were topped with sugared flowers, even the sugar in the sugar bowls were pink!
The service was homely and friendly and we were seated and served quickly. My friend ordered the elegant high tea with vanilla black tea, and me the gluten free option with Sydney special tea which is a combination of different types of teas and flowers (both $35). The gluten free option was very similar to the elegant high tea, I didn’t get some of the savoury items that my friend had, but I got instead, an extra savoury muffin. The number of food items were definitely the most generous compared to any other high tea places I’ve been to – there must’ve been at least 15 – 17 pieces of food items each.
The savouries were delicious; sandwich fillings of Salmon, cucumber and cream cheese, ham and pickles, curried egg and chicken and celery. I got gluten free scones which looked like mini cauliflower heads – very cute with fresh cream and jam, a very special treat because I never usually get scones. The scones were delicious, but I did notice it did seem to coat my mouth a bit, like corn flour would. The sweets had a very homemade quality, not quite as high a standard as I would expect and were all very sweet, not overly imaginative, the mini pana cotta tasted like jellied sweetened condensed milk.
The ladies (owners) were welcoming and attentive, together with the pink décor (definitely one for ladies) made for a lovely, civilised outing. Was it worth the drive? Let’s just say the drive back was hard given that I was in a sugar-induced coma.
Tea and Niceties | Shop 1, 21 Southport Ave, Eagle Heights, Mt Tamborine | 07 5545 3645 | Bookings essential