I could wax lyrical about the setting of the Peninsula Tea Gardens, riverside in Maylands and next door to Tranby House. Sadly I can’t do the same about the fare on offer, but that’s not why I visited. I had a few hours to spare on a pleasant mid-week afternoon, and thought a spot of afternoon tea would be just the ticket. As soon as I spied the massive oak trees, white umbrellas and wicker furniture against the backdrop of the Swan River, I was sold.
The scathing reviews of this delightful venue all relate to the food on offer, but I was hopeful of a different experience. I can say that my long macchiato was pretty darn good which is no small thing for a coffee lover.
There is a menu of lunch items, and a ubiquitous cake counter featuring a bevy of try-hard cafe cakes of the kind that often fail to live up to their glossy appearances.
Against my inner voice exhorting me not to choose one of the said cafe cakes, I threw caution to the wind and ordered this grand looking carrot cake. Well I hadn’t eaten lunch and I had to have something to go with my long mac, and the icing did look creamy and luscious.
Well, I should have heeded my inner voice. Carrot cake, albeit with glorious cream cheese frosting, you were in a word, awful. Stodgy and uninspiring and I couldn’t get past a few mouthfuls. An ill-spent $6.95.
High tea is a drawcard here, and there were a few tables featuring the tiered plates for $33 pp during the week and $38 pp on the weekend. As far as peaceful, scenic cafes go, Peninsula is right at the top of the list. It seems however, that there are valid reasons why it has such a poor rating on Urbanspoon, and it’s a shame that the owners haven’t taken the negative comments on board over the years and tried to improve the service and food on offer.
I would happily return here to sit with a book for an hour or so on a sunny afternoon to just enjoy the beautiful setting. I would forego the food and order a coffee or one of the pots of quality teas on offer. Come and enjoy the experience, and as long as you don’t have any expectations about the food, you won’t be disappointed. You could combine your visit with a tour of the heritage-listed Tranby House, and learn a little of our local history at the same time.