*I dined as a guest of the National Gallery of Australia, however all opinions are my own.
I was kindly invited by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) to try out the Tom Roberts High Tea in the Wedgwood Tea Room. Tom Roberts (1856-1931) was an Australian artist and part of the Australian Impressionists group. He painted many Australian landscapes, cityscapes and portraits. My favourite is his painting of the first Parliament – if you get a chance to check out the exhibition, you’ll know which one I’m writing about. Just magnificent!
As part of the Tom Roberts exhibition, the NGA has joined forces with Wedgwood to create the Wedgwood Tea Room on the mezzanine floor (member’s lounge area). High tea is being offered daily (until 28 March 2016) for $43 per person or $55.05 for the High Tea Package + exhibition ticket. It is open between 11 – 4pm, with the last sitting at 3pm. Apart from high tea, there is also a lunch menu available. An elevator will take you up to the mezzanine. You’ll know you’ve reached the right spot with Wedgwood decor greeting you.
My friend and I were shown to our table right next to the large floor to ceiling window overlooking the Sculpture Garden towards the lake. The decor inside matches the Wedgwood colours of bright blue and teal with plush seating and scatter cushions.
Menus were provided listing the items that would be served for high tea including the drinks menu. High tea comes with either tea or coffee. Sparkling, red and white wine, and beer, is also available at an additional cost. I didn’t feel like tea and decided on the Morks mocha instead.
My friend had the Wedgwood Original tea. We were informed that the tea is like an English breakfast but with notes of caramel in it. How cute is the teapot?
Some of our high tea treats were presented on a 2 tiered stand with sweets on the top and savoury items on the bottom.
Freshly baked buttermilk scones with local berry preserve and double cream were presented on a separate plate. I was super excited when I saw 4 scones on the plate. That’s 2 scones each! I thought the scones were a tad dense but they were served warm and soft. They were also quite large so that filled us up.
The bottom of the tiered stand of goodies provided us with two types of ribbon sandwiches – citrus poached chicken with herb mayonnaise and cucumber with lime sour cream and fresh mint. Soft white bread, fresh cold filling with lots of chicken in it. The mini asaragus, leek and melted gruyere tart was still hot and a delicious vegetarian morsel. The mini brioche with cured salmon, dill creme and mustard leaves had a good amount of salmon in it sandwiched between a soft moist brioche (I dislike the dry kind).
The top tier provided the sweet elements of high tea. My absolute favourite was the opera cake which was just divine. Very soft layers and I don’t think I chewed, I must have inhaled it. It wasn’t too chocolatey, too sweet or overly complicated. It was just simplicity at its best. The peach melba mini cupcake with peach buttercream had bits of the fruit baked in and was surprisingly moist. The jam drop shortbread tarts with lavender sugar took me back to my childhood days eating jam tarts. Very sweet with more shortbread to jam but it worked well. To offset the sweeter elements, the lemon and yoghurt curd tart with toasted meringue provided some citrusy sour to the high tea.
Everything was served on Wedgwood china and it was just so pretty. We found the atmosphere to be calm and relaxing until we were surrounded by a very large group that were standing around chatting right next to us. The view is gorgeous and not something you get to see everyday.
We both really enjoyed the high tea and didn’t finish everything. There were two sandwiches, half a mini cupcake and half of a scone left over. The price is average for a high tea in Canberra. The Tom Roberts High Tea in the Wedgwood Tea Room is on until the end of the exhibition on 28 March 2016. Bookings are essential.
Value for money 7/10
FPJ score 24/30
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