High Tea Review: Pan Pacific Perth

High Tea at the Pan Pacific hotel is served in the Conservatory restaurant. The menu boasts a contemporary, somewhat non-traditional take on high tea.
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Venue:
The Pan Pacific is a four star hotel, and is located on Adelaide Terrace in the Perth CBD. The decor of the hotel and the lobby area is modern and stylish.
The Conservatory restaurant is a decent sized space which is capable of accommodating quite a large number of guests. The Conservatory overlooks the pool area of the hotel, and our table happened to be right at the window. My girlfriend and I agreed that the pool area was in desperate need of some maintenance work.
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Our table was laden with gorgeous colourful tea ware, white napkins and polished silver cutlery.
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Love The Tea Ware!
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Service:
Apart from our first tea order and one sparkling wine refill, the service was no existent. At one point my girlfriend actually asked for another pot of tea, and the hostess never returned. When we went to pay, the hostess never even asked us if we enjoyed it. Perhaps they could read the unimpressed expressions on our faces and decided that it was best not to ask. Staff at the Pan Pacific need to learn a thing or two about hospitality service.

Food:
My friend and I ordered the Rose and Vanilla tea. It wasn’t a particularly delightful tasting tea, so I opted to stick to my sparkling wine.
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Free Flowing Sparkling Wine
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The food was terrible. We received two plates of savoury food which included: a shot glass of balsamic vinegar accompanied by a skewer with a cherry tomato and an olive on it (DISGUSTING), a spoon of finely chopped avocado with red onion and coriander (which was the worst thing I’ve ever tasted), a red pepper finger sandwich that was so moist and soggy that the bread fell apart when I picked it up, and another spoon with finely chopped mixed vegetables on it. The only thing that was remotely tasty was the shot glass of cauliflower soup, however it could have used a good pinch of salt. I also received a cheese tart which I didn’t particularly enjoy. My girlfriend received her non-vegetarian option which included: A prawn cocktail, cauliflower soup, a seafood scroll, a ham sandwich and a savoury tart (which was the only thing she enjoyed eating).
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Now, this is the really interesting part! The scones were so dry that I choked. Yes, I actually choked. A piece of dry dough became firmly lodged in my throat and I began to choke. It was a good thing that I was surrounded by an assortment of beverages. Imagine the headlines: “Perth’s queen of high tea chokes to death while eating a scone”
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It was lucky that the sweets weren’t as horrible as the rest of the food. The selection included: Hazelnut and chocolate ganache cake, a chocolate and green tea tart, a chocolate and passionfruit cake presented on a spoon (enough with the spoons already!), and a strawberry and white chocolate mascarpone. For $52 (which was the only option) you got a minimal amount of food. My girlfriend and I ended up going to Jus Burgers afterwards because we were still so hungry.
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Overall Experience:
A dismal experience. If you cannot execute a proper high tea, don’t offer it at all. Simple. The place was crowded and noisy, infants were crying and it was just a generally unpleasant atmosphere. For $52, I wouldn’t recommend high tea at the Pan Pacific. There are other much nicer and snazzier establishments that offer a more reasonably priced high tea. My friend and I left the Pan Pacific feeling totally ripped off and completely unsatisfied. My advice is to save your money for somewhere else.

Pan Pacific Hotel
Origins Restaurant
High Tea is served on weekends between 2pm and 5pm
$52 per person (includes free flowing sparkling wine)
Bookings are Essential.
Telephone: (08) 9224 7777
Address: 207 Adelaide Terrace, Perth.

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High Tea Review: The Wild Fig

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High Tea at The Wild Fig Cafe first came to my attention a few weeks ago when I went there for breakfast with my mother. I wasn’t overly impressed with my breakfast, but I wanted to give their high tea a go, and who am I to turn down a high tea opportunity?

Venue:
This is the first time that I’ve been to a high tea with ocean views. Fancy hotels- tick, skyscrapers- tick, wineries- tick, river views- tick, and now the beach.

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The interior design of The Wild Fig is interesting to say the least. It is very artsy and full of cool mismatched items. Our table was simple, with an ocean view. My friend and I received a gorgeous floral teacup each, and the rest of crockery was white.
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Service:
I rang a few days beforehand to make my reservation, and a $40 deposit was required in order to confirm my booking for two people. Our host was lovely. He was organised, prompt and very obliging. Overall, I was very impressed with the service we received at The Fig.

Food:
We were offered two pots of tea each during our sitting. My friend elected to try the Japanese pearl green tea (which I don’t think she was overly impressed with), and as always I went with English breakfast.

The Tea Menu
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Tapas or high tea?
When the savoury food arrived, I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for. In fact, I wasn’t the only one confused. Two ladies came over and asked us what we were eating. High tea should be fairly obvious. I have never had anyone come over and enquire as to what I was eating at a high tea before.

We received a three tier savoury stand with bruschetta on the top tier, ciabatta bread on the middle tier, and balsamic strawberries, Brie cheese, olives and beetroot dip on the bottom tier. I can’t say I was impressed with this. The ciabatta bread was far too big for high tea, and we received two slices each. I would expect ciabatta bread for breakfast, certainly not for high tea. The bruschetta was nice, but again, not appropriate for a high tea. Plus I think they went overboard with the red onion, which left an awful taste in my mouth. No amount or strawberries or english breakfast tea could get rid of the onion taste.
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Top Tier
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Bottom Tier
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My friend and I left the plain scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam till last. The scones were quite nice, but I was so full I only managed to eat half.
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There were three options on the sweets tier: lemon meringue tart, which was absolutely delicious, carrot cake, and raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake. The sweets were cut into large portions, again size is an issue at high tea. It is not a main meal.
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Overall Experience:
Big points for location. The ocean views were absolutely beautiful. Overall I can’t say I was overly impressed with the food at The Fig. The service was great, and I loved the 80’s music, however I don’t think they know how to properly execute a traditional high tea. Keep working at it Fig. If you’re a fan of tapas and you don’t mind an interesting twist on high tea, then this is the place for you.

The Wild Fig Cafe Scarborough
High Tea is served Monday – Thursday, 3pm -6pm and Friday – Sunday, 3:30pm – 6pm.
Delish Package: $32 (Monday – Thursday) $37 (Friday – Sunday)
Bubbles Package: $39 (Monday – Thursday) $44 (Friday – Sunday)
Tipples (Long Island Cocktail): $44 (Monday – Thursday) $49 (Friday to Sunday)
Luxe Baby (Bubbles & Cocktail): $50 (Monday – Thursday) $55 (Friday to Sunday)
Bookings are Essential.
Telephone: (08) 9246 9222
Address: 190 The Esplanade, Scarborough.

Afternoon Tea Review: The Ritz Hotel London

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The Ritz Hotel in London is often regarded as the ultimate and finest afternoon tea institution in the world, and is a member of the prestigious Tea Guild.
The Ritz Hotel first opened its doors in 1906, and has since been frequented by many celebrities and important public figures.
I always envisioned attending The Ritz later in life accompanied by my best friend, however as it turned out, my partner was transferred by his company to work in London for six months, so when the opportunity presented itself I didn’t hesitate to make a reservation. Firstly, I must warn you that if you are wishing to make an afternoon tea reservation at The Ritz, you must book at least 2-3 months in advance. Afternoon tea sittings fill up fast, and it can be rather difficult to get the time and date of your choice.

Venue:
I think it is fair to say that the venue speaks for itself.

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Afternoon tea is served in the Palm Court section of the hotel,
What words can I use to describe the decor of The Ritz Hotel London?
Elegant, sophisticated, traditional, regal, stunning, historical, posh, classic and prestigious are the adjectives that come to mind when I think of how to describe this gorgeous establishment.

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Beautiful high, decorative ceilings, stunning crystal chandeliers, columns made from marble, polished floors and golden touches. The Ritz Hotel London is truly fit for a king.

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Our table was decorated in a way that you would expect from The Ritz; besutifuk high quality linen, dainty crockery, polished silver and traditional tea ware. Elegant and traditional were the first two words that popped into my mind when I sat down at our table.

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Service:
Unfortunately, for the purposes of an honest review, I cannot continue to discuss how beautiful the venue is. Instead I must move on to what I regard as terrible service. I was very disappointed with the service at The Ritz. Firstly, I felt that service we received was impersonal. My partner remarked that it felt like the waiters didn’t care about us. Unfortunately I have to agree with him. Our tea and coffee arrived 45 minutes after we ordered it, and we had to ask staff multiple times where it was, and when it would be coming. Our scones didn’t arrive until an hour after being seated, and by the time we received them, we didn’t feel like eating them anyway. Lastly, when my partner eventually received the coffee he ordered, the handle of the mug was far too hot to touch, and therefore he was unable to drink it. He was quite upset about this because not only had he waited 45 minutes for it, but he was thirsty and needed a drink. Once again, he waited about 20 minutes for the cup to cool down. When it still hadn’t cooled down, I managed to flag down a waiter. I asked the waiter if there was anything he could do for my partner because the cup was too hot to handle. The waiter’s reply to me was very condescending; as he then picked up the cup, looked at my partner and said “there is nothing I can do, maybe you need to wait for it to cool down?” My poor partner then asked for a glass of water instead, before the waiter simply just walked off. We had very minimal interaction with the waiters. One of the waiters explained the selection of food on the three-tier stand to us, and another waiter poured my tea. For a prestigious establishment such as The Ritz, I would have expected a very high quality of service.

Food:
I am pleased to report that the food was delicious.
For drinks, we had a glass of champagne each. From the tea menu, I selected The Ritz Royal Blend, while my partner ordered a latte. I thoroughly enjoyed my tea, and I highly recommend it.

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The finger sandwiches were tasty and the bread was fresh. There were also different varieties of bread on offer; including white, rye onion and caraway. My vegetarian fillings included: cheddar cheese and tomato, cheddar cheese and chutney, egg mayonnaise, hommus, and tomato and salad. My partner’s selection included: ham with grain mustard mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise, cucumber with cream cheese, Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter, and chicken breast with horseradish cream. We received an ample amount of sandwiches (12 each!). A waiter also came around to offer us some more. I think they should offer guests a different savoury option, such as a quiche or a tart. Otherwise people fill up too quickly on bread.

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The scones were the last to arrive, and I am happy to report that they were well worth the wait. They were warm and fresh, and light and fluffy. The clotted cream and strawberry jam were the perfect accompaniment to what I now regard as the best scones that I have ever tasted.

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The sweets on offer were sensational. If I took anything away from this experience, it’s that those sweets were to die for! Unfortunately there were only four varieties, and one of each (except for the two macarons). This meant that everything had to be cut in half. However, they were all so delicious that I just couldn’t share them with my partner! (Horrible, I know!) There was one passion fruit and coconut tart, one chocolate cake, one vanilla slice and two
salted caramel macarons. My favourite was the vanilla slice, however that passion fruit and coconut tart was simple incredible!

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Last but not least, at the end of the sitting, a waiter with a cart went around to each table and offered a choice of two cakes. Unfortunately I cannot remember the first option, but I chose the second option which was a slice of lemon drizzle cake. It was a lovely moist cake with a nice hit of lemon zest.

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Overall Experience:
The ambience of The Ritz hotel was wonderful. The sounds of the pianist and the string quartet filled the room and added to the posh image projected by the hotel.

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When I looked around, I noticed that everyone was wearing their finest garments; men in their suits and ties, and ladies in their gorgeous frocks.
Overall, I was impressed with the absolutely stunning venue, and the quality and taste of the food, however the service was lacklustre, and I feel that this is just totally unacceptable for The Ritz. Despite my poor experience with the service, I still recommend making a reservation if you are determined to have The Ritz experience. However, I don’t think The Eitz even comes close to making the cut for the number one afternoon tea venue in the world. As I previously mentioned in my most recent review of The Royal Horseguards hotel, service is imperative in hospitality and can have a profound impact on one’s afternoon tea experience. I feel that The Ritz needs to work on this.

The Ritz Hotel London
Afternoon Tea is served daily, with sittings at 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
£47 Traditional Afternoon Tea
£59 Champagne Afternoon Tea
£58 Celebration Afternoon Tea (with Birthday Cake)
£74 Celebration Afternoon Tea (with Champagne)
Please note that there is a discretionary charge of 12.5% that is added to the bill.
Please note that there is also a strict dress code.
Bookings are Essential.
Reservations can be made via The Ritz website: http://www.theritzlondon.com/tea.html
Or by Telephone: +44 (0)20 7300 2345
Address: 150 Piccadilly, London. W1J 9BR

Mother’s Day High Tea at The Melbourne Hotel

On Sunday I took my mother to The Melbourne Hotel in the heart of the Perth CBD. This was my second high tea experience at The Melbourne Hotel, and after being so impressed the first time I thought it would be lovely to take my mum there on Mother’s Day. My grandfather used to frequent The Melbourne Hotel quite often in the early 1980’s so it was an extra special experience for my mother.

Venue:
Located on the corner of Hay Street and Milligan Street in Perth, The Melbourne Hotel is one of Perth’s oldest and most iconic hotels. From the outside, the hotel has a lovely heritage appeal, and the decor inside the restaurant is simple, yet elegant, and includes arched mirrors, decorative ceilings, and chandeliers.

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The table settings were decorated in a very simple manner. White table cloths and floral pattern tea ware. Nothing out of the ordinary for a hotel high tea.

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Service:
As soon as we were seated, two glasses of sparking wine arrived, and two minutes later the food arrived. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes into the sitting that were actually offered a choice of tea or coffee. I would have preferred to have been offered tea before the food arrived, which is what normally happens. The wait staff appeared to be rushed off their feet, and I think they may have been slightly unprepared, because none of the tables had teaspoons on them! Having said that, the staff were very pleasant and quite obliging. The only problem I encountered was that one particular staff member wasn’t very fluent in English which made communication difficult.

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Food:
I have to say that unfortunately this time around the food wasn’t as good as my first experience at The Melbourne Hotel. I think the this time the food was more contemporary, where as last time it was quite traditional. Instead of finger sandwiches, we received open sandwiches with the fillings on top of the bread.
The varieties included traditional egg and sun dried tomato, red capsicum and olive. Both fillings were quite enjoyable, and the bread was fresh with a light crunch. Also on the savoury tier were two petite pastries with a mushroom filling. I personally didn’t enjoy mine, however my mother said that she enjoyed hers.
The scones were on the top tier and were similar to the scones from the first experience in that they included a slice of strawberry between the raspberry preserve and the clotted cream. I think it looks quite creative and visually appealing, however if you’re not into strawberries you probably won’t appreciate it. The scone itself tasted artificial and had more of a cake like texture. I would have preferred a fresh and more traditional scone. Sometimes less is more.
The sweets tier was certainly a highlight. We had two macarons, one lemon and the other chocolate and pistachio, two delicious profiteroles covered in decadent Belgian chocolate, and two creme brûlées. There were also two pies, which at first glance we thought were savoury quiche. My mother and I didn’t enjoy these at all. My mother described it as a Christmas pie/tart, and to me it tasted like a fruit mince pie infused with cheese. It was strange and I don’t think it belong on the plate. For drinks, we both had the sparkling wine which had a pleasant sweetness to it, and for tea we had our usual English Breakfast.

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Overall Experience:
The ambience was lovely, and the soft music playing in the background was appropriate for Mother’s Day. It wasn’t too busy or noisy which made it pleasant. Unfortunately, I have to say that my high tea experience at The Melbourne Hotel this time was no where near as wonderful as it was the last time. The previous experience was close to flawless and I wish I had reviewed that one instead. This time around I feel that the food was disappointing, with my mother stating that it was not the best high tea she’s had. Here is a photo from the last high tea:

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Regardless of my seemingly negative experience, I would still recommend The Melbourne Hotel because I know from the first experience that this place can in fact execute a really delightful high tea. It was obvious that the wait staff were struggling under pressure, but it was Mother’s Day after all.

The Melbourne Hotel
High Tea is served on Saturday and Sunday between 1pm – 4pm.
$39 for Classic High Tea
$59 for Sparkling
Bookings are Essential.
Phone: (08) 9320 3333
Address: 942 Hay Street (Corner Milligan Street), Perth.