When I arrived at Rochelle Adonis’ studio in Highgate, one thing was immediately noticeable: everyone waiting for the start of the 2pm high tea session was female. I felt conspicuously, disgracefully tomboyish for not wearing a summer frock or carrying a handbag. All around me, non-stop chatter. I don’t do girly glamour but I can talk!
My friend Crystal and I had discussed catching up over high tea ever since Rochelle Adonis and her team moved into their new studio on Beaufort Street last winter, but we only managed to get our act together last month, finally agreeing on a date and making a reservation.
A gauzy curtain was drawn across the entrance to the dining room while final preparations were made for our high tea. Still, I couldn’t resist peeping through the gap and poking my camera lens through for a picture.
High tea is AU$49 per person and served as two courses – savoury, then sweet, with a palate cleanser in between. It is an indulgent two hours of decadent treats, served to guests sitting around two high marble-topped communal tables. The cutlery and crockery are deliberately mismatched and elegantly vintage; water is served in crystal jugs and decanters at the table. Included in the high tea are two pots of loose-leaf tea (black, green and herbal varieties) or French press coffee. Our tea orders were taken shortly after we were seated, and we were asked for our choices for the second pot of tea before the sweet course was served. Note: there’s no soy or skinny milk.
Rochelle Adonis’ high tea is renowned around Perth, and my expectations were exceeded. The food was exquisite and delicious. The menu varies daily. No scones, but there were cucumber sandwiches spread generously with dill aioli, made with soft fresh bread. The exclusively blended Vanilla Berry ‘Queen of Hearts’ was superb, with flavours of lemongrass, vanilla beans, juniper, raspberry leaf, rosehips, blueberries, elderberries, pomegranate flowers and hibiscus. For such a complex blend, it was subtle and a wonderful accompaniment to the savoury course.
It was the perfect setting for friends to catch up. All we had to do was relax and enjoy; the only decisions were which teas to have, which item to eat first and which item to eat next. There were things to surprise and delight us in each course. Everything tasted fresh, not a hint of ‘fridgey-ness’. We thought the serving sizes were well measured – we finished everything without feeling like we’d have to force the final items down to get our money’s worth.
The only minor criticism I have about the high tea is that it felt rushed towards the end of the allotted two hours. We managed to have just a cup from our second pots of tea, hastily downed after a gentle reminder about the time, delivered 10 minutes before the end of our session – understandably, the staff needed to get ready for the final session at 4pm. Perhaps the way to avoid this is to book for the final session instead (though obviously we can’t all do that). Having said all that, there was no need to bolt down the last piece of cake; we were offered the option of having any uneaten items packaged up to take away.
Out of all the high teas I have experienced, this was easily one of the best.
Telephone: (08) 9227 0007
2 St Albans Avenue (corner Beaufort Street)
Highgate WA 6003
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 5pm
High tea is served:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 12pm and 2pm
Saturdays and Sundays at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.
Bookings for high tea are essential. A 50% deposit is required at booking.
BYO champagne only for AU$10 per bottle
High tea FAQs
Crystal and I had lots to talk about – we each had news to share. I told her about my plans for the year ahead – photographic, travel and culinary adventures await. More on that soon, I promise.