On a lazy Sunday afternoon I joined a group of friends at Maddison Cottage for the high tea experience. The cottage is a cafe and a shop, so while you dine you are surrounded by all manner of floral and shabby chic homewares and knick-knacks. It’s a girls’ place really; though a few men braved the frills and frippery, they didn’t look super comfy. A gaggle of chatty women on a Sunday afternoon in a confined space can give a guy a headache, so I’ve been told, though I can’t imagine why. There is also an alfresco area in the front courtyard where you can dine amid the greenery and umbrellas and gaze out on the James St passers-by. The blokes out here looked a lot more at ease than their counterparts inside.
The thing I really love about this place is the choice of quality loose leaf T2 teas on offer. I’ve been to places that charge far more for high tea, and then have the gall to serve you a standard English Breakfast teabag in a thick mug. Definitely a no-no when it comes to high tea. Everyone knows that ladies love sipping beautiful tea from delicate china cups, and Maddison’s really delivers on this score. I chose the Gorgeous Geisha; green tea flavoured with strawberries and cream. Just delightful. The teas are served in floral teapots and the water in crystal glass decanters; the cups, plates and tableware are a glorious mismatch of china, glass and silver that add to the charm.
The tiered plates held little morsels of sweet and savoury delights. I started with the sandwiches of course; one should never go straight for the sweet treats. It’s an unwritten rule, right? So the fresh, moist sandwiches of cucumber, egg and chicken were eagerly consumed along with the tiny vegetarian quiches, before we tackled the main event.
All of the goodies on offer are home made, and the proof is in the eating. If a high tea is a bit much for you, try a devonshire tea or just pop in for a coffee and a cake. Their carrot cake and cinnamon buns looked amazing, so I’m eagerly anticipating a return trip to sample a few other delights that don’t appear on the high tea menu.
If you fancy some champagne with your high tea experience, you can BYO bottle for $2 pp corkage. Otherwise just enjoy the full range of teas or some Yahava coffee. Excellent value for $32 pp on weekdays, and $34 pp on weekends.