Sunday, October 20, 2013

High Tea at Heide

Café Vue at Heide on Urbanspoon

Today was a designated birthday day - or more to the point, it was Jonella's birthday on Friday and it was time to celebrate.

I've come to the conclusion that giving experiences for gifts is far more pleasurable than giving gifts as you get to share in the adventure, so I made the offer to Jonella and her partner Nikos to spend an afternoon having high tea the Heide. After going there for lunch for my birthday two years ago, I've always wanted to return for High Tea there - a couple at the next table were having high tea and it looked incredible. All I needed was the occasion - and Jonella's birthday just happened to be it.

When I made the booking a few weeks back I noted that it was for a birthday celebration. They also asked if I knew about High Tea at Cafe Vue to which I replied, "Like, don't eat before and don't expect to eat after for a day or so."

That was about the sum of it.

We arrived at two and had a walk around the gardens. Being around 30 degrees in the shade we took it pretty easily. Jonella wanted to visit the cows.

There are a number of tin cows around the place. It's just a matter of finding your favourite.

I wanted to go back to the kitchen garden, remembering how much I liked visiting the first time round.

We then made out way to Cafe Vue for our 2.30 sitting. We were greeted at the door and taken straight to our table. A few minutes later, we were presented with a glass of bubbles and the promise of food.

If you want a lovely, relaxed, decadent high tea, this place might just be it. It's not that well advertised, but for those in the know, for $55 a head you are treated like royalty. We found the service friendly and attentive without being over the top. The place was busy, but not overly so.

So what is high tea?

Best way to describe it is savouries, cakes and tasty morsels in deceptively small servings. I say deceptively small as all three of us at the end of the afternoon wanted to be rolled back to the car. Unfortunately there weren't Oompa Loompa's available to do this for us a la Violet  Beauregard in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Maybe Shannon Bennett can invest in some to aid guests who come for High Tea. They could have come to good use. 

The savouries came first:

Finger toasted sandwiches with ham hock croque monsieur, oozing with Gruyere. Tuna melt sandwiches, little cups of veggies set off with edible flowers, smoked salmon on blinis and a quinelle of chicken salad on crusty bread.

The ham hock won the day. It seems to do that whenever we have it. In summer, the sandwiches might not be toasted - but even in the warmth of the day, we weren't fussed. Such a great start to things.

We were spoiled. I have no idea why but more sandwiches were brought out after this wonderful selection. More ham hock croque monsieur.

I'd love one of these every day, every meal if they weren't stuffed full of all the things I can't have more than once a month. That and living on them would give me a coronary in three months, but there were the highlight of the savoury dishes.

Then, the next course. Scones. Light, fluffy, better than grandma scones with cream, jam and butter. 

We jumped in before I could take the before shot. These were the fruit scones, which were just as good as the plain ones. My grandmother would be jealous.

After the scones came the sweets.

There were organised. The chocolate things were up the top - a lamington mousse and a chocolate lollypop - both lovely. Down the bottom, intense raspberry macarons - which Nikos popped his macaron cherry on. His eyes rolled for about five minutes after. There was also s vanilla cake, a mango and pistachio cheese cake, a frangipane tart with a coffee creme filled Paris Brest handle... all just to die for.

Now I can eat, as can Nikos - but this time we were both stuffed to the gills. I'd had a cup of tea and some raisin toast after Pump class beforehand. I'm glad I heeded the warning not to each much beforehand. I couldn't have done this after a light lunch. 

Oh, and the other nice touch. They presented Jonella with some birthday macarons (although I had to ask the next table if I could photograph theirs.) The words were written in nutella.

The staff are very understanding at Cafe Vue - a doggy bag was arranged for Jonella to take home the cake she and Nikos couldn't finish. It seems that this is a regular occurence. 

As for me, I just wished I didn't have to go out for dinner in the hours following. What a First World Problem to have - being replete with wonderful food, having to suffer it all again.

Somehow we made it back to the car after what was a splendid two splendid hours.

And I'm on salads, grilled chicken and All Bran for the next two weeks.

Take your Mum for a special occasions. It's worth every cent.


Bron said...

Ohhhhh nice! Will have to put that one on the list!

Elephant's Child said...

Serendipity. I have just been reading a biography in which Heide played an important and restorative part. And would love to go there. Love, love, love to go there.
Thank you.

Jackie K said...

Looks every bit as divine as it seemed on the day we saw it. Sounds wonderful.
How could you not pose James Bond style at the other end of that straw sculpture...?