There are all sorts of high tea offerings around town these days, but I had never heard of a Vodka High Tea…until now! This special High Tea is offered at The Food Society, where they’re big on their vodka (they do serve up modern Eastern European cuisine after all) and channel this passion into gorgeous cocktails for the High Tea. The price is $60 a head for the High Tea, including a signature vodka iced tea cocktail and your choice from the premium tea selection.
The Food Society is a cosy spot tucked away in Darlinghurst and is decked out to look a bit like a funky grandma’s living room. It’s all about the mismatched crockery, comfy furniture and traditional prints mixed with bright coloured accessories.
We settle in and pick our drinks from the premium tea menu (Earl Grey, Jasmine and Pear for my friend and Black Tea, Nougat and Toffee for me) as well as the vodka iced tea cocktails selection of course. I opt for the Watermelon Caiprioska, while my friend decides on the mocktail version of the Rosemary and Strawberry Fix. The Watermelon Caiprioska is absolutely beautiful, great for a summer’s afternoon with watermelon ice cubes paired with house infused melon vodka, fresh lime and house infused watermelon black tea. It’s sweet but still manages to taste fresh, making it a winning concoction in my eyes. My friend’s non-alcoholic Rosemary and Strawberry Fix is also lovely, with plenty of pulp from the fresh strawberries in there and I can imagine it would taste pretty good with gin too, which is the alcohol it is usually served with.
Earl Grey, Jasmine and Pear tea, Black Tea, Nougat and Toffee tea, Watermelon Caiprioska, Rosemary and Strawberry Fix
Their High Tea delivers in the flavour stakes too – starting off with a platter of savoury canapes showcasing their modern Eastern European cooking in miniature form. There’s the flavoursome Salmon Pastrami, which features green tea smoked Tasmanian salmon pastrami with an intriguing, sweet chamomile flower jelly and a dollop of celeriac cream on truffle salt toast. Quite a lot to pack into one little canapé.
Savoury Canapes Platter
I also enjoyed the Retro Classic Duck Vol au Vent which consisted of confit pepe’s duck, along with pan fried chaterelles, a chestnut cream and white truffle. A lot of gourmet ingredients all rolled into one tasty bite. The Goat’s Cheese Tartlet was surprisingly sweeter than I expected thanks to the caramelised fennel and parsnip on top of a mix of goat’s cheese, pinenuts and mint on a shortcrust pastry. The most laidback canapé of the bunch was the chef’s daily warm pastry, which was a tiny beef pie with a tasty tomato relish on top.
The savouries continued with two types of finger sandwiches, both of which were delicious in different ways. The Classic Cucumber Sandwich was a light combo of shaved cucumber, chervil cream cheese as well as a luxe twist in the form of pink peppercorns and salmon caviar. I preferred the flavour hit of the “Best Chicken Sandwich” (which largely lived up to the name) with house smoked Lilydale free range chicken and a duck egg hollandaise sandwiched between char grilled brioche.
Moving onto the handmade sweet treats platter, I was quite impressed by the selection on offer which spanned from alfajores (a Spanish/South American dessert of shortbread biscuits with dulce de leche) to a delectable Czech style honey cake with salted caramel cream, housemade honeycomb and caramelised pears. The other sweet goodies consisted of a decadent dark chocolate truffle with lavender and earl grey, a nice mini berry macaron and a sweet tea trifle with an intriguing vodka cured rhubarb jelly, pomegranate and acai custard with vanilla sponge. The trifle was a bit too adventurous for my tastebuds, but I enjoyed all the other elements of the sweets platter.
Handmade Sweet Treats Platter
Of course, the premium teas we had selected were a lovely accompaniment to the desserts platter, with the floral, fruity notes of my friend’s tea going well with the lighter elements of the sweets, while the caramel and toffee undercurrents in my black tea paired nicely with the more chocolate focused sweets.
The Food Society is a hidden gem and really not that far from the CBD (about a 10 minute walk from Town Hall down the hill from Hyde Park). It was a charming way to spend an afternoon catching up with a close friend over good food and drinks, which I would recommend if you feel like a slightly indulgent twist on your standard coffee or lunch catch up!
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of The Food Society.