21 Daly Street, South Yarra
High Tea from $45.
The call came in last week. "Wanna do High Tea? I'm child-free next weekend?"
Never one to deny my parenting friends an outing I said yes. Evie suggested Fancy Nance, at the back of the Zumbo Cafe.
Did somebody say Zumbo!!
My joy was only tempered a little by the knowledge that this would mean a trip to South Yarra. This mean putting on make up, doing my hair and wearing something more than my normal leggings and tunic that I wear on weekends. See, South Yarra is full of posers and I feel completely inadequate going down Chapel Street, especially the Como end of Chapel Street (the Windsor end is fine - still full of hipsters, but better) You find lots of people like this down the Como end of Chapel Street.
Anyway, prepped in a little black dress, boots, hair done and make up on, Evie picked me up from home. I noted she was similarly decked out, making the comment that it's easier to fit in down there than go daggy.
After parking we found the place easily. The modern set up is great, a large, airy, part industrial, part bar, part ice creamery, part kitchen.
Sitting down, the first thing on order - a drink.
Evie went for some sparkling pink bubbles, where I went for a very reasonably priced Hendricks G&T.
We ordered the $65 "I'm so Fancy" High Tea, just so we could sing along with Iggy Azalea. Evie has also just discovered macarons, so with them on the list, it had to be done.
The interesting thing about the menu here is that they start with the sweet stuff before moving on to the savoury.
It works well.
The first course came. An apple, white cholocate and rosemary verrine (read trifle), a salted caramel tart, a rhubarb crumble with custard and a salted caramel macaron.
All were divine. The trifle thingy was great once you got past the foam. The salted caramel tart was incredibly rich, but lovely. The bite of rhubarb crumble and custard was glorious, as was the macaron, the goeey inner salted caramel was perfect. We were off to a great start.
Shortly after, the mandarin, chocolate and macadamia concoction arrived.
The cake was of the flourless variety, the white sheets on top, macadamia flavoured. Intense flavours and not too sweet.
Fancy Nance has the textures down to a fine art. Another wonderful dish.
What followed then was the scones.
Perfect scones. As a segue into the savoury courses, the scones came with peach and raspberry jam and cream and a capsicum jam with a savoury cream cheese. Evie wasn't enamored with the latter, but I couldn't fault the scones. They were amazing. Better than my grandmothers. Better than Barney's (and Barney makes a mean scone).
Grandma's treasure tin came soon after. A small chocolate biscuit, perfectly salted, along with a sliver of perfectly formed caramel slice . They do like their salted caramel here.
We settled in with a pot of tea. The tea list is longer than the wine list. Evie settled for a spiced cinnamon tea, my a black tea infused with vanilla - the Paris blend.
And then started the savouries - which really was a great way to end the tea.
First up, a chickpea cracker with basil hummus with tomato dust. Intensely flavoured and superbly light. However, as I've discovered, me and pesto don't get on - but that's nothing that a bit of antacid, some buscopan and a lot of water won't fix.
The 'mains' for savouries consisted of a carrot, orange, ginger soup with roasted pumpkin seeds. drunk through a thick straw from a mustard jar (to appease the hipsters). The Lamb Bao with cucumber and mint packed a punch without being too big. The Mac and Cheese with bacon and chilli aioli finished of everything brilliantly.
Fancy Nance gives a lovely experience. Okay, you're in South Yarra so you will find a number of expensive blondes, posers and women in their active wear showing off to their friends in similar clothing inhabiting the place, but the staff are friendly and attentive without being over the top.
The High Tea itself left us replete without being overly stuffed and I'm thrilled that they do $10 G&Ts with Hendricks - that's like better than pub prices.
Will I be back? Yes - for a special treat (Evie was celebrating being child free, I thought I'd celebrate being halfway through my Masters and the distinction I managed to procure last term).
Is it value for money. Yes, definitely.
Do I recommend the place. Hell yes, but do be prepared to dress a little better than normal so the hipsters, yummy mummies and sloane rangers don't thumb their nose at you.
Oh, and pop around the front to the Zumbo cafe. They have 100s and 1000s macarons that I will have to try one of these days.