Plan a day trip to gorgeous Olinda for a refreshing High Tea experience within the peaceful sanctuary of Olinda Tea House.
Only an hour out of Melbourne lies the quaint and charming township of Olinda, surrounded by the towering, lush rainforest within the Dandenong Ranges. Nestled in the mountains, only a few minutes from the town centre is the extravagant entrance to Olinda Tea House. A great wall separates the establishment from the many parked cars of keen visitors, speaking to its popularity as a secluded dining destination in the hills.
The juxtaposition of the Chinese-themed garden against the backdrop of tall gum trees provides an interesting contrast between two worlds of absolute serenity. Our host Zoelle guides us through the grand restaurant to outside where on a warm summer’s day you can be seated at one of the gazebos and breathe in the fresh mountain air. We explore more of the grounds discovering the resident alpacas and pony that guests of the House are welcome to feed and photograph.
We are finally brought to the Floral House Private Room where we are presented with an exquisite list of teas. Although I’m in desperate need for caffeine I feel it would be a crime to start with a coffee at such a gorgeous tea house. Therefore, I select the Turkish Delight black tea to begin with and I’m very glad I did! The tea is delicious and I’m quick to finish the pot.
At first glance of the High Tea menu I recognise some high tea classics and I’m overjoyed to see that it has an Asian twist. We know we are in for an incredible feed.
We start our savoury course with the soft and light Mayonnaise Egg Sandwich. It’s everything it needs to be and satisfies my comfort food craving while cleansing the palate. Next up I opt for the Chinese BBQ Pork bun which I’m so excited about. It’s not common to find Asian savoury delights on a high tea menu however the soft and delicate bao filled with sticky, baked char siu goodness has us thinking, ‘Why on Earth not?’
Truffle Mushroom Bouchées are the next savoury items to taste. I am not familiar with bouchées however I do know truffle and mushroom are a match made in heaven, so I know this is going to be good. The bite sized crisp choux pastry puffs are packed with the most delectable creamy umami filling and suddenly I have a new favourite canapé.
We finish our savoury course with the Chorizo Croquette. This is served with a dollop of aioli for a pinch of extra flavour. It’s perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Once bitten, your tastebuds awaken to the smoky, rich, cheesy deliciousness.
I couldn’t think of a more indulgent start to a high tea. All four savouries are incredible and completely faultless.
Our sweets are delivered on an Oriental styled high tea stand so that they equally standout to us. However, it’s impossible not to pay special attention to the pig and rabbit mousse moulds which look just too precious to eat! Like how I started my savouries, I begin my sweets course with the softest and lightest looking dessert which happens to be the Peach Lychee Trifle. As a child I loved trifles and the contrast of all the delicate textures. This Asian fusion take on a traditional trifle is well executed. I was thoroughly impressed and can admit shamelessly that I scooped the dessert cup clean.
There is only one type of Macaron to taste which is decorated with some shimmering gold leaf. It is a vibrant pink colour, so I believed it to be a strawberry or raspberry flavour however was surprised to taste melon on my first bite. The macaron filling is a pale green coloured cream, and this explains the distinct melon flavour. The Macaron has a great consistency and is chewy on the inside as it should be however the meringue was perhaps a little too sweet for my liking.
The Rabbit Passionfruit Mousse was a favourite confection of mine. The entire outside of the dessert is mousse and so it is cool to the touch. It is a pleasant white chocolate flavour that isn’t overly sweet before you reach the tangy passionfruit jelly centre. This is big compared to the typical petit four however I had absolutely no trouble finishing it.
At this point our host Zoelle checks in on us and I’m in need of more tea. She recommends the Milky Oolong-flavoured tea, and it arrives just in time for our final course of Scones with Jam and Cream.
An absolute stand out of the High Tea are the Plain and Date Scones. These scones are not small. They are fresh to order, large, golden and easy to half with your hands by pulling apart at the crusty outside. While hard and rustic on the outside they are soft and savoury on the inside. We could eat them every single day. And the Homemade Raspberry Jam is simply to die for. We couldn’t get over how Olinda Tea House absolutely nailed this staple high tea course.
Other desserts we delighted in were the Caramel Almond Choux, Cheesecake Cupcakes and Piggy Mandarin Mousse which also contains a mandarin jelly, chocolate feuilletine (crêpe base) and chocolate sponge cake.
It was a real treat to experience such a satisfying High Tea at Olinda Tea House surrounded by charismatic animals, postcard-perfect scenery and the Oriental Garden.
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