The Swan Valley is a stunning part of Western Australia and for those who live in Perth, it’s literally right on our door step! An abundance of amazing wineries, brilliant restaurants and cafes, a range of different gourmet producers and also a Golf Resort that has long been part of the Swan Valley landscape. The first stage of the Novotel Vines Resort & Country Club was built back in 1989 before the resort followed in 1996.
This beautiful Swan Valley Resort has 103 resort rooms and 54 condominiums along with the restaurants, bars and abundance of resort facilities.
I recently headed out to the Vines with my mum to try out their new High Tea menu. I just love high tea. It’s an indulgent way to spend a few hours. There’s the tower of delicious food, with something sweet and something savoury, oh and something scone, usually always something scone too. There’s freshly brewed tea and a solid few hours for chatting. Just delightful.
The Vines hold their High Tea from 2.00pm til 4.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays with packages starting from $45 per person.
It was a lovely sunny day on the drive through the Swan Valley. We wound our way through the vines and some Summer-sun kissed paddocks before we turned into the entrance of the Vines and saw the rolling green hills of the golf course. It only took half an hour or so to get there but as we walked inside it felt nice, like a little trip to the country. We wandered through the lobby and towards Muscat’s Restaurant where they hold High Tea. We’d actually been to the Vines for my cousin’s wedding many years ago and we both thought the place was still looking pretty good, clearly well maintained.
We were the first pair to arrive at Muscats and were shown to a lovely table for two overlooking the resort. It was all very picturesque. You could see that the pool was getting a solid workout given the sunny weather and there was also a healthy crowd wandering the golf course. It really felt like we’d taken time out to enjoy our leisurely high tea.
So at the Vines there is the option of three packages. Standard comes with tea, then you can choose to upgrade to include either a glass of sparkling or champagne. We were guests of the Vines and as we would soon discover would be enjoying the sparkling package. Spoilt! Nothing like some bubbles to up the la-di-dah factor :)
High Tea Fare $45 per person
High Tea Fare with a glass of sparkling wine $50 per person
High Tea Fare with a glass of French Champagne $58 per person
We looked over the tea menu, which was from the Dilmah Exceptional Range, and I’ll admit it was a tough choice. I’m a long time peppermint tea fan but green tea with jasmine reminds me of uni days when a good friend used to bring along a thermos of tea for us to enjoy while we studied :) So with that fond memory in mind I ordered the Jasmine Green Tea, while mum went for the French Rose with Vanilla.
Soon enough two very posh looking tea pots arrived. Sleek and modern with their stainless steel finish, they both filled the air with their heady herbal aromas. Mum’s brew really did smell divine and as we would soon find out tasted just as amazing. A new favourite perhaps :) I also really enjoyed mine. It was very hot when it arrived (which yes, yes I know tea should be) so I took the opportunity to finish my glass of fizz while I waited for it to cool slightly.
A steady stream of people had arrived while we enjoyed our beverages. Clearly a popular spot and there appeared to be a few birthday and post Christmas celebrations in the mix.
Our tower of food was a vision when it arrived. Three tiers each filled with various delectable morsels – 1 savoury tier and 2 sweet. I’ll admit that both mum and I had skipped lunch that day knowing that high tea beckoned in the early afternoon, but we each felt that it would be a challenge to complete this very generous selection!
First tier: Allsorts cucumber sandwich, Traditional egg sandwich, Salmon Roulade with malt bread, Quiche with gruyere and spinach, Prosciutto and asparagus blinis
Second Tier: Freshly baked scones with butter, jam and cream, Pain au chocolate, Red velvet muffin
Third Tier: Macarons, Friands, Truffles, Vanilla Slice, Raspberry Roulade, Petit Fours
We kicked off with savouries. Everything looked so wonderfully fresh! I started with the Smoked Salmon Roulade on Malt Bread. I had thought the dark malt bread would be quite heavy but it was pleasantly much lighter than I had expected. And while I was somewhat apprehensive about the smoked salmon (concerns it would have a strong fish flavour) I need not have worried. It was well smoked and I actually really enjoyed the flavour. A delicious introduction and with my appetite kick started into action I eagerly reached for the dainty blini. Topped with crunchy asparagus spears and wrapped in a slightly salty prosciutto it was a lovely mouthful. What next? I do enjoy gruyere so polished off the slice of spinach and gruyere quiche, enjoying its cheesy goodness. I’ve never been overly keen on the idea of an egg sandwich but on eating this one I’m really not sure why! The egg was just so fluffy and creamy! A seriously amazing egg sandwich, I’ll have to have them more often….. and also learn how to get egg tasting so creamy! Finally I turned my attention to the Allsorts cucumber sandwich. A spin on the classic, it presented well with it’s three tiers of tri-coloured bread and tasted very nice. Much like scones, cucumber sandwiches I feel are a high tea essential. There’s something a little bit fancy about them…. Especially with the crusts cut off! :)
Wow. One tier down and I was all the more convinced that there was just no way that mum and I were going to finish this impressive tower. But onwards and upwards to tier two. We had to try the scones next! I’ll admit that they perhaps weren’t the prettiest scones I’d ever seen but the test was in the tasting. We cut them in half and it was a bit of a surprise to see chunky pieces of date in them. I was happy with that. I quite enjoy date. We’d also been given a dish with some strawberry jam, butter and an elegant quenelle of cream. We generously lathered some of the jam and cream onto our scones and took our first bite. Yum!! They might not have been pin ups to look at but the flavour was perfect! They were quite light and you can’t go wrong with jam and cream. Thoroughly enjoyable!
It was at this point that we surveyed the second tier and decided that while we were both keen to try the additional items that it would serve us best to split them so with that I sliced one of the chocolate croissants and also the red velvet cupcakes in half. The chocolate croissant was a flaky wonder with a generous line of chocolate baked through the centre. We had chosen the red velvet cupcake with the pink icing and it had almost a musk flavour through it. As someone who ate her fair share of musk sticks throughout high school I really liked it.
We took pause and sipped on our second round of tea and wondered what to tackle on the top tier. It’s definitely not that it didn’t look amazing but we were both nearly maxed out and we continued to marvel at the generosity on the food front. Mum opted with one of the vanilla slice squares, which from all accounts was very nice, while I sampled a rich dark chocolate truffle and also a macaron. I thought both were great, but after the richness of the decadent truffle I was done. I had to tap out. As I longingly looked at the pretty petit fours and just knew that the raspberry roulade would be delicious, I just couldn’t do it.
So we sat and savoured our cuppas, reflecting on all the tasty food we’d enjoyed. We then thanked the friendly staff for their hospitality and made our exit. Yes I was disappointed I couldn’t put more of dent in that top tier, but I knew it would have spoilt the experience if I had overindulged on a few more items at that point.
The Vines is a lovely spot for a High Tea and it had been a great afternoon out with my mum. It is definitely worth the drive and it’s a scenic cruise through the Swan Valley. So book in an afternoon with your nearest and dearest, pack a big appetite, and head on out to the Vines. You will not leave hungry! :)
Note: I was a guest of the Vines, with thanks