High Tea at The Tea Collective in Newcastle, NSW
The Tea Collective is not only a fantastic tea shop in Newcastle (that serves DUMPLINGS, what a divine mix of treats) – they host High Tea as well. I quite fancied spoiling my Mum a little for Mother’s Day in 2018, so we headed there to see what was on offer.
I’ve drunk a lot of tea in my time (and sampled many delicious sweet and savoury treats) and the experience at the Tea Collective rates firmly in my top three.
As far as traditions from the mother country of the United Kingdom go, Afternoon Tea (or High Tea, as well call it in Oz) is one certainly worth getting behind.
Australia has certainly taken this experience and made it next level. No matter where you go around the country, you can experience high teas with a twist.
There are themed high teas set in fancy hotels, bottomless bubbles and vodka high teas. Petite fours cooked out of a granny flat on a farm using only seasonal produce, to high teas in old, renovated churches. Melbourne even has one on a boat.
In particular, Newcastle in New South Wales has some varied and interesting high tea experiences on offer. So, here’s what you should expect should you book in for High Tea at the Tea Collective on Darby Street.
The Tea Collective is located in the area above the café The Autumn Rooms (for long time Newcastle residents – this used to be Grind).
It is a small, intimate space, filled with flowers and kitschy antique furniture. Sort of like your very stylish and classy Grandmother’s dining room, which is something I can certainly get behind.
Once you’re settled into your seat (at a table laid with flowers and sporting a card with the bookee’s name on it), a staff member will come around and spritz some lavender scent into the air.
You’ll then be presented with an iced tea (I don’t want to spoil the flavours, but they are exciting and will vary per person) followed by an amuse-bouche to kickstart you off.
We overheard Lilly the manager asking the tables nearest us if they’d fancy a glass of prosecco to go with their food – by the time she reached us we responded with a unanimous “Yes” before she could even ask the question.
Nothing like a glass of bubbles at 3pm on a Sunday to liven things up a bit. Not that this needed it at all. Prosecco is just great fun.
As with most traditional high teas, the Tea Collective serves both a savoury and sweet platter.
I don’t have a big sweet tooth, so I put a lot of emphasis on the savoury. The Tea Collective didn’t disappoint.
We were presented with three tiers of quiches, tarts, stuffed mushrooms, crudités and ribbon sandwiches. I think I could have eaten around five of the pumpkin tarts alone and been wholly satisfied.
The second course consisted of a collection of petite fours, with fruit and whipped cream.
A little part of me had wondered where the scones were on the sweets plate – as a traditionalist, I don’t believe you can experience high tea without scones.
At the end of the meal, when we were close to being unable to fit in another bite, we were presented with perfectly baked scones, lined with rosewater jam, topped with cream that was sprinkled with lavender and rose petals. Phew. Crisis averted.
I managed to shift things in my stomach to make room for this one last treat.
Rather than provide you with one pot of tea at the start of the meal and leave it at that, the Tea Collective offers a sampling of different teas.
We had four cups of tea all up, ranging from green sencha, to lovely fruit teas and finishing off with an earl grey. All the brews are available for purchase in the tea shop, after the meal.
I may have bought two.
I can’t fault the service. The staff were friendly and attentive, with Lilly the manager personally overseeing everyone’s meal and making sure we were kept happy at all times.
Indeed, one of the reasons I love eating out in regional cities, is the familiarity of the service. By the end of the experience, both Mum and I had introduced ourselves to Becci the owner of the Tea Collective and chatted about all sorts of things.
The standard high tea is priced at 65pp (the menu is adaptable for vegetarians for the same price and vegans for 10 dollars extra). A Champagne High Tea will set you back another 10pp.
I can’t really think of anything better to have picked for Mother’s Day. We left the Tea Collective feeling well fed and very satisfied with how the afternoon had progressed.
More details about the High Tea at The Tea Collective can be found on their website.
Looking for other cool high teas in the area? Here’s a review on High Tea at Ducks in the Field, near Maitland.
And just for a fun, here are a few reviews of popular afternoon teas in London.
Are you a fan of high tea?
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All priced are in $AUD.