High Tea Review: C Restaurant

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Two years ago my friend and I had high tea at the C restaurant and although I wasn’t really impressed with the food, we both decided that we needed to give it another go. I have also dined at the C restaurant numerous times before, and I thought that it would be a lovely idea to hold my 25th birthday tea party there.

Situated on level 33 of the St Martin’s Plaza building in the heart of the Perth CBD, the C restaurant has a reputation in Perth for being a classy and romantic restaurant serving modern Australian cuisine. The C restaurant is Perth’s only revolving restaurant and if you happen to be visiting Western Australia I highly recommend that you make a booking.

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Venue:
The first two things that I always notice when I step out of the elevator and into the restaurant is that one, the restaurant moves! and two, the views of the city are absolutely breathtaking. For those of you concerned about the dizziness factor, don’t worry, it takes approximately one hour to rotate all the way around.

The table setting was very simple with white linen and white china. While some people may find this plain and boring, I think it ties in nicely with the modern Australian and fine dining theme. On this occasion I decorated the table myself with the stunning Chanel inspired cupcakes and cookies that I had made. I simply placed one cookie on each person’s tea-cup, and the cupcakes sat at the head of the table. I also had a gorgeous balloon centrepiece made up in order to match the sweets on offer. The table was instantly transformed into a pink and white fashionista’s delight.

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Cupcakes by: Sweet Sorella
Cookies by: Kate’s Cookies

Service:
Wait staff were polite and friendly and I had no trouble when placing my reservation over the phone. However I did notice that the wait staff are often quite busy and can be hard to flag down. Therefore it is a good idea to ensure that you get everything you need when they are attending to you. The C restaurant has no problem accommodating dietary requirements, and as usual I requested the vegetarian option.

Food:
There are three high tea packages on offer: Classic High Tea (No Alcohol) – $44 Sparkling High Tea – $55 or Champagne High Tea – $66. Of course being the birthday girl, I opted for a glass of Moët with my high tea, while the other ladies selected the classic high tea.

The food arrived on a traditional three-tier stand and consisted of finger sandwiches, scones with strawberry jam and cream, and a tier of sweets. In addition to the three-tier stand there was also another plate of beautifully presented sweets.

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The finger sandwiches tasted freshly prepared and the fillings included cheese and tomato, avocado and carrot, ham, salmon, and egg. There were no savoury pastries to accompany the sandwiches which was disappointing. When people are paying a minimum of $44 they expect a substantial variety of food.

I found that the scones were a little on the dry side, however they did have a pleasant buttery taste to them and reminded me of shortbread.

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The sweets included petite lemon meringue tarts, petite chocolate cakes, petite strawberry tarts, and mango and mandarin desserts served in small shot glasses. My friends enjoyed the sweets, particularly the mango and mandarin dessert which they all agreed tasted “refreshing”. I enjoyed the petite chocolate cake, as it was moist and decadent.

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Overall Experience:
My 25th birthday tea party was definitely a memorable and classy affair. I think I can say with absolute assurance that my friends had a wonderful time. However, I feel that the C restaurant relies solely on the panoramic views of the city to impress patrons and therefore pays less attention to the finer details of high tea such as the food. Scones should be light and fluffy, not dry and stiff. I also think that there needs to be more variety on offer on the savouries tier. Other than a few tweaks to the high tea menu I think that the C restaurant is definitely worth a visit.

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The C Restaurant
High Tea is served 7 days a week, and bookings can be made between 2pm-4pm.
$44 Classic High Tea
$55 sparkling High Tea
$66 Moët & Chandon High Tea
Bookings are Essential.
Phone: (08) 9220 8333
Address: Level 33 St Martin’s Plaza 44 St George’s Terrace, Perth

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High Tea Etiquette

Have you ever wondered about the proper way to conduct yourself at an afternoon tea event?

Afternoon tea is a traditional and elegant affair, and there are certain etiquette rules that apply to the occasion.

In modern society, afternoon tea and high tea are often used interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences between them. Afternoon tea also known as “low tea” originated as an elegant and upper class occasion, intended to fill the large gap between lunch and dinner. It was made famous in the 19th century by Anna the Duchess of Bedford. Afternoon tea consisted of scones, petite cakes and finger sandwiches. Afternoon tea is typically served in low and comfortable arm chairs. High tea on the other hand, originated as a meal or early supper for labourers and the working class. Men would often arrive home famished after a long day at work and were served a meal consisting of meat, vegetables and bread, and in my family, we often refer to dinner as “tea”. “High” refers to tea served at a table with high back dining chairs.

Traditionally speaking, afternoon tea is served at 4pm. High tea is served between 5pm and 7pm in the evening. However, due to cultural differences and the evolution of social habits, it has become increasingly common for establishments to refer to afternoon tea as high tea and to offer sittings between 1pm and 3pm in the afternoon.

It is traditional to organise a three-tier tower in a particular order, with the scones on top, the sandwiches and savouries in the middle, and sweets on the bottom. Sandwiches are consumed first, then scones, and then sweets.

Afternoon Tea Etiquette:

1. Always remember basic table manners. In other words remember to keep the mess to a minimum, don’t slurp your tea, don’t blow your nose using your napkin, and chew with your mouth closed.

2. Dress for the occasion. Most establishments will have a “smart casual” dress code, which for men refers to a collared shirt, trousers, clean/ un-scuffed shoes, no ripped jeans, and no sportswear (including trainers). Ladies are encouraged to dress elegantly. As Coco Chanel once said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman”.

3. As my grandmother would always say, “elbows off the table!”

4. “Should the teacup accompany the saucer when I pick it up?” Some etiquette experts say yes, however other experts disagree. It really comes down to your own personal preference. If you do choose to drink your tea whilst holding the saucer, remember that the saucer is held in the left hand and the teacup in the right (reversed if you are left-handed). The saucer is held in the palm of your hand, resting on four fingers (slightly spread apart) with the thumb resting on the rim. The teacup is held by placing your index finger through the handle, the thumb just above to support the grip, and the middle finger just below the handle for added security. If you choose not to use the saucer, then the same rule applies to holding the teacup, and once you have finished gently place the teacup back onto the saucer.

5. It is an affectation to raise your pinky finger even slightly. Tuck it away ladies, because it’s a big no-no at the afternoon tea table.

6. When it comes to stirring your tea, ensure that you place your spoon in the cup at a 6 O’clock position and fold the liquid in a gentle back and forth motion towards the 12 O’clock position. Be mindful not to hit the sides of the cup with your spoon to avoid making “clinking” sounds. When you have finished with the spoon place it on the right side of the saucer.

7. Never fill your cup to the rim. The last thing you want is to spill tea onto your saucer.

8. If you need to leave the table temporarily, always place your napkin to the right side of the place setting. If you leave a soiled napkin on your chair, you could potentially damage the upholstery.

9. If you are offered biscuits, avoid dunking them into your tea.

10. Scones should be consumed in bite sized pieces. Simply break off a piece, put it on your plate, and use your knife to apply the jam and cream.

11. Macaron vs Macaroon.

This is a Macaron
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This is a Macaroon
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High Tea Review: Cottage Tea Rooms

Nestled in the idyllic Swan Valley, Cottage Tea Rooms is one of Perth’s best kept secrets. Whilst driving down West Swan Road you really get to experience the tranquility of the Swan Valley as you pass by the wineries. Situated on a corner, Cottage Tea Rooms is easily accessible and there is parking along the side of the building and also further down Forrest road.

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Venue:
When you first arrive you may notice that the venue itself looks a little underwhelming. There is no doubt that the place needs some serious maintenance. Perhaps a few coats of paint and some new outdoor furniture would improve the exterior. However I think it has that real authentic vintage appeal and it certainly adds to the heritage feel of the Swan Valley. As well as serving high tea, Cottage Tea Rooms also sells a variety of beautiful knick-knacks and homewares, home made preserves and bags of loose leaf tea. I purchased the adorable hanging plaque in the above photo, and a packet of Turkish Delight loose leaf tea. When we arrived inside, we were promptly seated at a gorgeous little table laden with beautiful linen and cute floral teaware.

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Service:
Having been to Cottage Tea Rooms half a dozen times before, I can honestly say that I have never experienced bad service. Staff take phone bookings in a prompt and polite manner and they also accommodate dietary requirements. Staff are very obliging and you get service with a smile. Two pots of tea are offered per person, and on weekdays you are given an extensive tea menu that has approximately 20-30 loose leaf teas to choose from. My favourite is the Turkish Delight. However on busy weekends, guests are given a choice of English Breakfast or tea of the day. If you happen to try a tea and you really like it, you can purchase a packet of it to take home from the counter when you settle your bill.

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Food:
My friend and I enjoyed a plate of petite, freshly baked scones with a generous side of raspberry jam, lemon curd and fresh whipped cream. There are usually two varieties of scones offered, and on this occasion we were given plain scones and cranberry and almond scones. The scones were light and fluffy and just the right size. We then moved on to the bottom tier consisting of a variety of sandwiches and an assortment of hot savoury pastries. We enjoyed fresh, bite sized sandwiches with a variety of fillings. I am vegetarian, therefore I ate the curried egg, cream cheese, and a delicious sun-dried tomato and avocado filling. We also enjoyed a variety of delicious savoury treats consisting of creamy mushroom Quiche, spinach and cheese risotto balls, asparagus and ricotta Quiche and sausage rolls. The petite selection of sweets on offer consisted of a ginger slice which I didn’t particularly enjoy, a delicious lemon meringue tart, a strawberry cheesecake tart and two coconut and mango macarons. There were also two adorable little chocolate hearts which we didn’t hesitate to gobble up. Considering that high tea is regarded as a light afternoon snack before dinner, you are given an ample amount of food. I can certainly guarantee that you will not leave the establishment feeling hungry! My only recommendation for the food would be to include a palette cleanser such as sorbet. There are so many different flavours in the sandwiches and the Quiche that you need something other than tea to cleanse the palette in preparation for the sweets.

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Overall Experience:
What can I say? Apart from needing some maintenance work, there is just so much to love about Cottage Tea Rooms. The ambience is always peaceful, rarely busy, nor noisy, only the beautiful sounds of Dean Martin and The Righteous Brothers softly fill the room. The food is always plentiful and delicious, the service is impeccable and it’s great value for money. If you are in need of a relaxing afternoon out, I recommend getting the ladies together and taking a scenic drive down West Swan Road to Cottage Tea Rooms.

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Update*
Visited Cottage Tea Rooms again on the 20th of June 2015 and noticed that the prices have increased from $30 on Weekdays to $35, and from $35 on Weekends to $40. The food is still amazing, and the staff were very polite and obliging as always.
Cottage

Cottage Tea Rooms
$35 on Weekdays
$40 on Weekends
Bookings are Essential.
Phone: (08) 9296 6886
Address: 8560 West Swan Road (corner Forrest road)
Henley Brook