High tea is an indulgently lovely way to spend a few leisurely hours, chatting with great friends while sipping tea and enjoying an elegant tower of sweets and savouries. Throw in free flowing sparkling and celebrity chef and Dilmah ambassador Peter Kuruvita and you’ve got yourself a very special afternoon ahead.
I was recently invited along with my friend, Mrs M, to the Dilmah Masterclass High Tea at Pan Pacific Perth in their Origins Restaurant. I’d been to Pan Pacific for work breakfast and lunch functions before and also tried out the buffet at the other restaurant, Monterey’s, but this was my first visit to Origins. It is a well presented restaurant with striking views of the Swan River through the expansive glass windows.
So it was a beautiful setting and for the view alone it was wonderful, but then there was the amazing tea, cups and saucers and tea pots! So decorative, entirely beautiful and so very, very fancy. It really adds to a high tea experience when the tea itself is showcased in such a stunning way!
The afternoon proved to be as informative as it was delicious, as we worked our way through a variety of different Dilmah t-Series Designer Gourmet teas. Peter Kuruvita is an excellent ambassador for Dilmah and speaks passionately about the tea making process and the different varieties. He suggested we work our way through different teas, starting with the white varieties before tackling the bolder black teas. Almost like a wine tasting!
There were a few interesting things that I learnt about tea:
- All teas are from the same plant and it’s the way they are processed that results in the different colours, with black tea roasted and green tea steamed
- Given tea is from the same plant, they all have the same caffeine content
- A cup of tea takes between 3 to 4 minutes to properly brew
In the past I definitely haven’t followed this 3 to 4 minute brewing rule but it was definitely a time frame I decided to be more conscious of in the future.
Peter spoke about the skill involved in being a tea taster and the mastery of carefully infusing tea with other flavours. He also outlined a few interesting ways that tea could be incorporated into recipes. Lemongrass tea steamed prawns or Chocolate with Earl Grey Tea…. They were some creative pairings and I did agree that they sounded delicious!
So now that we were all a little bit wiser about tea, it was onto the food side of proceedings. It began with an elegant plate with three savouries:
- Roast cauliflower velouté with Parmesan foam
- Braised pork belly with sage, shallot and crackling crumble
- Salmon with crispy croûte and caviar
The warmth of soup is always welcome in Winter and I really enjoyed its wonderful creamy cauliflower flavour and the bold punchiness of the parmesan foam. Delicious! The salmon was a mere morsel, but well paired with the contrasting crunch from the disk shaped crouton and it just melted in your mouth. The braised pork belly presented well on a ceramic spoon with its dramatic and generous sprinkling of crackling crumble. I really enjoyed this and was fairly impressed with just how crunchy that crackling crumble actually was! Snap, Crackle, Pop!
With this first course, as advised by Peter, Mrs M and I opted for a white tea, the delicate Darjeerling White Treasure Tea. This was the first time I’d tried this blend and it did provide a nice soft start to our tea adventure. It was mellow and relaxing and something you could sit and keep on happily sipping. It complemented the food without being too overpowering.
As the three tiered tower arrived, we decided to step things up slightly on the tea front and our next beautiful tea pot to share came with French Vanilla and Rose. Oh the bouquet! To me it smelt like a musk stick, those delicious pink lollies that were sold so readily at my high school canteen (not sure whether any high school attendees out there were as addicted as I was to these back in the day….. I actually wonder if they still sell them there in canteens in 2014). But I digress, it often happens. It was really delicious tea and the flavour was beautiful. A little floral, but not at all like it’s musky aroma. I enjoyed it.
And all those delicious morsels of food! Here’s what was on the menu:
- Tuscan vegetable tartlet with basil and vintage cheddar
- Seafood salad shooters with baby cos and heirloom tomato
- Cream cheese, sweet chilli and prawn roulade sandwiches
- Air dried ham and tomato pesto triangles
- Herbal tea and cranberry scones
- Piña colada mousse
- Mascarpone, white chocolate and lychee shooters
- Hazelnut cake with orange ganache
- Chocolate sable and green tea mousse
It was a really interesting selection and I enjoyed how they incorporated tea into a few of those delicious items. Would be hard to pick a favourite, but I do so love a good scone with jam and cream and they were that little bit more special with the cranberry and subtle herb tea infusion. I also thought the seafood salad shooters were tasty, a more modern salute to the classic prawn cocktail and it worked a treat in amongst the other dishes. I’d have to also give special mention to the mascarpone, white chocolate and lychee shooters too. I enjoy the tropical flavour of lychee and it was well paired with the creamy mascarpone and sweet white chocolate – not a flavour combination you get too often. There was also a lot of praise around the table for chocolate sable and green tea mousse. The green tea was fairly understated but it made for an interesting little dessert.
Our final pot of tea was the Italian Almond. I’ll admit that it wasn’t my favourite. Quite a strong almond flavour like drinking tea infused with marzipan. And the thing is that I don’t like marzipan, but I’m glad I gave it a go. And I think that’s the wondeful thing about the Dilmah t-Series Designer Gourmet teas range. There is something different for every tea fan!
It was an entirely lovely afternoon. The Pan Pacific staff there have the high tea service down to a refined art, whisking out the food in an unobtrusive fashion, you are frequently asked if you’d like more tea and no tea cup is left empty for very long. Around the room you could see many happy folk enjoying all the delicious food and cheers-ing with glasses of sparkling before carefully cradling the decadent china tea cups and savouring the warmth of the fragrant Dilmah teas. There’s something quite comorting about a cup of tea. All the more so in the Winter.
You can head along to enjoy High Tea at Origins Restarrant at Pan Pacific each weekend on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm til 5pm for $52 per personinclusive of free flowing sparkling wine, loose leaf tea and organic coffee.
My thanks to the team from Pan Pacific and to Dilmah for the invitation to this lovely event. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn a little more about the Dilmah story and about tea in general, all the while being spoilt with delicious food and in lovely surroundings.