Thursday, January 10, 2013

The White Hart High Tea: Cocktails with a twist

Traditional English high tea isn't quite my cup of tea - I mostly blame my prior experiences with stodgy scones. But when The White Hart in Neutral Bay - renowned for fun, novelty cocktails - invited me to their weekends-only "Smokin Speakeasy Iced Tea", hinting that it was high tea but not as I knew it, I was intrigued and arrived thirsty.

Twisted High Tea at The White Hart, Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay
The alluring offering sat pretty on three tiers and looked the part of high tea. But the fact that every morsel and drink required a detailed explanation proved that it was certainly high tea with a twist.

Every component on the three tiers, some very unusual and innovative, was alcoholic; most a classic cocktail or drink in a new, deconstructed and edible form. It was recommended that we start from the top tier and work our way down to the sweeter cocktail treats.

Long Island Iced Tea - served with dry ice
We started first with a cup of tea: Long Island Iced Tea chilled with smoking dry ice, that is. Served separately in a dated, non-matching tea set, the sweet cocktail was more ladylike than lethal.

Martini jelly
To the top tier I couldn't resist the classic martini, made as a clear jelly with a green olive submerged within. Getting through the foam, there was a noticeable kick to the jelly with the martini definitely on the dirty side.

Vodka and tonic jelly (left) and white peach bellini
Prettily pink, the other slender shot glass held a white peach bellini topped with sparkling wine and "peach air" that was impressively true to taste.

The top tier also featured two clear jelly squares: a gin and tonic jelly (with the British flag) and a vodka and tonic jelly (with the US flag) - both of a delightfully wobbly texture and true flavours.

Deconstructed Mojito
Things ramped up on the second tier with a syringe appearing as part of a deconstructed mojito. Filled with white rum and sparkling water, the idea is to squirt liquid onto the spoon with the teal green mint jelly and taste as one mouthful.

The only trouble was that the mint jelly tasted more like toothpaste mintiness and I then inhaled a spoonful of what tasted like straight rum. Hello!

Shandy (back, left) and deconstructed Bloody Mary (front)
I've always liked shandy - that slightly daggy but refreshing mixed drink of beer and lemonade. This version of beer with a lemonade foam was probably more suitable as a drink on the top tier rather than second given the bitterness of the beer.

We were most impressed with the deconstructed Bloody Mary, comprising a piece of cucumber; a vodka jelly with tomato and Bloody Mary spicing; and wasabi foam. Consumed as a savoury mouthful, it was an ingenious eye-opener and the closest it got to the real thing.

Long Island Iced Tea marshmallows
We ended with the sweeter stuff: dreamy Long Island Iced Tea marshmallows, melting Clover Club and PiƱa Colada sorbets, an espresso foam (presumably of the martini variety) and The White Hart's signature pot of edible chocolate soil with absinthe jelly snakes.

Apart from the resultant sugar high, I'm not too sure of the total alcoholic content of the high tea, especially with the Long Island Iced Tea - so do check with The White Hart if you're driving and definitely come with your sense of novelty and adventure on hand.

The White Hart is serving its "Smokin Speakeasy Iced Tea" for $55 every Saturday and Sunday from 2-6pm. Bookings essential.

Food, booze and shoes sampled the "Smokin Speakeasy Iced Tea" as a guest of The White Hart.

The White Hart on Urbanspoon


billy@a table for two said...

Oh what fun! never really into bloody mary unless is on a long flight, but this deconstructed version sounds like a delightful bite.

Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said...

This is a definite high tea twist! One with cocktails, how interesting indeed.

Jacq said...

I had exactly the same thoughts about the deconstructed mojito - toothpaste and then a massive hit of pure rum! Loved the long island iced tea in the teapots though

Vivian - vxdollface said...

oodles of fun :) haha im a fan of shandy too! never knew there was a name for it though

MoMo and Coco Dessert Correspondents said...

How excellent! God I wish there was something like this in Melbourne -- we are getting rather drabby afternoon teas here. :(

CQUEK said...

Yum! Looks absolutely scrumptious. And, as always your photos make the food look so tempting.

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

Now, that's my kind of high tea!

Tina said...

Hi billy - It sure was! Bloody Marys anytime though ;)

Hi Sherrie - Yep, clever too cos you need to do some eating before or after :)

Hi Jacq - Haha, wasn't just me then... The Bloody Mary was my favourite part :D

Hi Vivian - Shandy, radler - all good and lower in alcohol ;)

Hi Momo and Coco - Yes, there's a lot of the same old high tea getting around; some of it sub-par.

Hi cquek - Aw, thanks!

Hi Sara - Mine too (although wouldn't have minded some sandwiches...)

hanna said...

Have you ever tried a bloody holy mary mixed with a strong tulsi tea then a twist of lime on the side? I think you will love it if ever have a chance of getting one then try it.


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