Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vodka High Tea at Food Society

Posted by Kath

Nestled in the back streets of Darlinghurst, quirky, old world charm is the backdrop for what is probably one of the most laid-back and unique high tea experiences around town: the vodka high tea at Food Society.

Table setting at Food Society, Riley Street, Darlinghurst
Food Society is known for its unique eastern European offerings as well as being the original masters behind the Cuban themed food offerings at The Lobo Plantation. Head chef Fernando Sanchez ventures into the land of the high tea set on Saturdays, with an almost complete twist on tradition and plenty of flair.

An exciting arrangement of savoury and sweet canapés are matched with premium single origin teas, bubbles and/or vodka-based iced tea cocktails.

Watermelon Caipiroska (front) and  Spiced Apple Pie (back)
To kick off the high tea with a cheeky, boozy twist, we ordered a round of Food Society's signature vodka and tea infused cocktails. A perfect match for a summer's day was the Watermelon Caipiroska with a watermelon black tea, fresh lime and house infused melon vodka, finished with novel and refreshing watermelon ice cubes.

The Spiced Apple Pie cocktail was fuelled by house infused spiced apple juice, cinnamon, star anise, lemon zest and dangerously delicious Zubrowka bison grass vodka, served with crushed ice and a green apple garnish.

Goat's cheese tartlet
The allure of tiny pastries on pretty vintage tiered stands never fails to elicit an inner squeal of excitement from me, and the offerings at Food Society were definitely squeal-worthy.

The top layer of savoury canapés featured a delicate miniature tart of goat's cheese, pine nuts and mint; baked within a buttery shortcrust pastry shell and topped with a fine dice of caramelised fennel and parsnip, which added sweet notes to the creamy quiche.

Duck vol au vent
Next on the menu was an oh-so-retro vol au vent which, on first bite, overwhelmed the senses with a hit of white truffle. Divine with the flaky pastry and chanterelle mushrooms, the truffle flavour matched well with the soft confit duck, finished with a light chestnut cream - so much deliciousness in one little puff pastry case.

Salmon pastrami on truffle salt toast (left) and mini beef pie (right)
The second tier kept the flavours coming with my favourite offering of the day: smoky green tea smoked salmon pastrami atop a small crisp bread vessel of truffle salt toast, paired with pure chamomile flower jelly, celeriac cream and shiso leaves - unique and delicious at any angle.

To finish was a relatively substantial mini beef pie with a house made relish that was just as moreish as the other tiny offerings of the day.

Classic cucumber sandwich (top) and "The best chicken sandwich" 
On another tiered stand high tea tradition ruled with a selection of crustless finger sandwiches, beginning with a traditional cucumber sandwich of shaved cucumber ribbons, chervil cream cheese and pink peppercorns, topped with an added, luxurious surprise of salmon caviar.

Providing a more filling end to the savoury course was "The best chicken sandwich". Sandwiched between buttery, charred brioche slices were flakes of smoky Lilydale chicken with its classic herb partner - tarragon - as well as nasturtium flowers, all held together with a creamy duck egg hollandaise. Best chicken sandwich? Pretty close.

Tea set
At this point a spot of tea was more than welcome to provide some respite between courses. An impressive array of teas is available for selection, including a wide range of single origin tea leaves.

Berry macaron, sweet tea trifle, alfajores and dark chocolate truffle
The selection of sweets was brought forth on a beautifully arranged share platter, without a scone in sight. I started with a berry macaron that was lovely and light, bursting with berry flavour, while the dark chocolate truffle was all you'd want it to be with oozy chocolate inside and hints of lavender and earl grey tea.

The sweet tea trifle presented in a small glass jar was a nice transition from the darker, richer treats - and an exotic one at that. With a light custard of pomegranate and acai berry, a vodka-cured rhubarb jelly, vanilla sponge and sweet pickled Australian hibiscus flowers, the very modern trifle was finished with a salad of pomegranate and acai pearls.

Last of the small bites was the dulce de leche filled shortbread alfajores which had me wishing I could buy these by the box. Light buttery shortbread gave way to creamy dulce de leche that wasn't too sweet but bordering on the perfect, dreamy side of burnt caramel.

Czech style honey cake
What looked like the piece de resistance, lovingly surrounded by pretty white flowers, was the Czech style spiced honey cake. Unexpectedly soft, this delightful cake was crumbly and moist, laced with salted caramel cream and topped with some of the best honeycomb I've had, house made too, and finished with slices of sweet caramelised pears.

For a thoroughly delicious high tea experience that's not the same-old, Food Society provides a beautiful location and experience with a proper twist and all the quirk and flair you'd expect from an eastern European establishment - and with vodka, of course.

Food, Booze & Shoes dined at Food Society as a guest, with thanks to The Buzz Group.

Food Society on Urbanspoon


Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

First time I've seen grilled sandwiches on a high tea stand. They do sound tasty though!

Kath said...

Helen they were super tasty, i'm fairly sure due loads of butter.. :)

Amanda @ Gourmanda said...

That honey cake looks delicious!


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