High Tea is always something I love. Little morsels of delicious things and tea and talking and relaxing and now something else that I love more, inserted right into the middle of that, Vodka. Come on, I don’t mean swilling gallons of the stuff and falling on your head in broad daylight, no, I mean inserting delicious flavoured and crafted vodkas into a refined food and tea experience and feeling very (very) satisfied at the end.
Food Society Restaurant and Vodka Bar in East Sydney is a place where they take vodka quite seriously, there are over 70 to choose from. It’s an eclectic looking place that makes for a fun quirky experience. Its a kind of a cross between Grandmas lounge room and a bar from the 50’s. The food is based on share plates and a twist on Eastern European foods so Vodka matching is easy.
High Tea starts with a Canapé degustation consisting of 5 savoury bites and then 4 sweet. Often High Tea means a big mix up of flavours with all of the food turning up at one time. I find it very hard not to jump from savoury to sweet and back again. This is nicely paced.
Food Society’s standard high tea includes a flight of Tea 2 teas, to match the food, ranging from savoury citrus to sweet and fruity teas to finish($45 pp)
There’s the choice of an iced tea vodka cocktail to go with your degustation ( $60)
Or you could add a glass of Veuve Clicquot to all of the other treats. ($65 pp) .
But, if like me you love Vodka go for the top shelf, degustation plus tea and vodka sippers matched to the food. ($70 pp)
We start our High Tea with these delicate morsels and a Polish Cherry Vodka that is orange infused and fruity and savoury with a hint of sweetness. I love the goat cheese tartlet with caramelized fennel.
The Food: 1. A goat cheese tartlet topped with caramelized fennel, 2. Green tea smoked salmon, chamomile jelly, and celeriac cream 3. Duck vol au vent with pan fried chanterelles and chestnut cream 4. Ricotta and Basil phylo parcel with Plum sauce
The next plate arrives. Finger sandwiches.
1. Brioche finger sandwiches with free range chicken. tarragon, duck egg mayonnaise and baby herbs 2. Shaved cucumber, chervil cream, pink peppercorns and salmon caviar. The sandwiches are quite thick but the fillings are fresh and delicious.
The vodka with the sandwich course is from the USA. It is distilled rye and cucumber and it’s refreshing qualities mirror the cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches. We have a bit of a giggle about flavouring a vodka with cucumber, because cucumber is not the most flavoursome vegetable, but drinking it while eating the sliced cucumbers, reveals an astonishing cucumber flavour. This Vodka though is probably the purest of all, no sweetness just pure vodka.
The first tea we try is Citrus Punch filled with Rosehip peel, apple pieces and hibiscus flowers. It’s a luridly pink sweet and zesty blend, it’s got a great aroma and satisfying fruity flavour. I am a big fan of the holy trinity, a tea, sparkling water and vodka. They all go surprisingly well in unison.
Just before the desserts arrive we are given another sipper, it is a another Polish Vodka with lovely orange notes. Along with a pot of Green Tea with Rose. Although the tea is a refreshing green tea with a lively hint of rose it is in the ugliest cosy imaginable. This ugly duckling is my companions favourite tea. I just can’t give it a chance with that ugly coat on.
The dessert is delivered and it’s a delicate mix of tiny desserts.
This course comes with my favourite tea, Strawberries and Cream. It has a special Caramel Vodka to accompany it called Carvo from South Africa. It tastes like the caramel syrup you put into a milkshake, but our waiter tells us they sell about 6 bottles a week. Although I would disagree if you said it to me, I have been clearly affected by the vodka because I forgot to take a picture of this one. The desserts are a nice mixture of textures and flavours but the Alfajores are disappointingly soft.
The desserts 1. sweet tea trifle – rhubarb jelly, pomegranate and acai custard, vanilla sponge. 2. ‘alfajores’ – shortbread biscuits filled with dulce de leche 3. Czech style honey cake with salted caramel cream. 4. housemade honeycomb Chef’s selection of handmade chocolate truffles.
By later in the afternoon there’s a large table of about 15 women enjoying themselves. There are several tables with couples and a few men enjoying a Vodka High Tea.
The service is a high point. It’s friendly and informative. It’s relaxing and fun and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the city.
High Teas are served Saturdays only
My Kitchen Stories was a guest of Food Society and the buzz group