After waiting 45 minutes I was ready to walk into the kitchen and start making my own sandwiches. With four very hungry (and remarkably patient) little girls, we could not quite comprehend the long wait for High Tea at C Restaurant. It was almost unforgivable.
The appeal of C hasn't changed over the years, even as its fortunes have ebbed and waned. If you want to have a full 360 view of Perth, from the escarpment to Rottnest, there is nowhere else in Perth that matches it. It's dramatic – from the stomach churning elevator ride to the 33rd floor, to the momentary confusion when you come out of the toilets and think 'where has the table gone?'
The view and experience are awesome. The service, not so much.
C is one of the few places in Perth to offer high tea every day of the week. Bookings can be made from 2pm to 4pm (from 1.00pm on Saturdays) and you can leisurely sip your tea until 5pm (4pm on Saturdays).
However, because you must book in advance, and effectively pre-order your meals, then I cannot understand why it took so long for us to be served our meals. We arrived just before our 2pm sitting and were shown to our table (unfortunately, not one with the luxurious leather armchairs, rather we were in the trestle-tables-and-wobbly-office-chair-section. Maybe it was because we were a big group (of 6). Maybe it was because they knew we had kids.)
It was 2.15 before we were offered a choice of tap, still or sparkling water. By 2.30pm we finally had our drinks, and after asking passing staff twice where the food was, we finally received our food by 2.45pm, almost an hour after arriving.
The explanation we were given is that there is usually a 20 minute wait between receiving drinks (a choice of loose leaf teas or percolated coffee) and the food arriving, so people can leisurely enjoy their pots of tea. If we had been told this when we arrived, then we would have requested to skip the tea ceremony and go straight to eating. Four year olds don't have a tendency to appreciate the delicate aroma of green sencha or the warmth of chai. They just want to eat.
C happily advertise that they offer a high tea at a lower rate for 'little darlings ' ($29 as opposed to $44). Maybe this is just semantics, but when I see that a place offers high tea for children, I expect a specific meal designed for children. Maybe this is unrealistic, but I was thinking simple sandwiches, custard tarts, hand-made sausage rolls, cupcakes and mini quiche. Kid friendly.
Layered finger sandwiches, not to every kids taste (I enjoyed them though)
I wasn't expecting the kid's meal to be exactly the same as the adults (except less). And neither were the kids. Let's just say they ate all the scones with jam and cream and we ate all the fancy petit fours and gourmet finger sandwiches. Children have the choice of tea, soft drink or juice. As a side-note, if you request a coffee such as latte or cappuccino, this is not included in the price (only percolated long black) and you will have to pay extra.
The food itself was very enjoyable although it tended toward the sweet, and all the small savouries you normally expect in a high tea (such as tarts or quiches) were missing.
Adults received three finger sandwiches (we had egg mayonnaise and rocket, ham and salad, and smoked salmon) and kids received two. Adults also received two scones with jam and cream, and kids got one. The scones had great flavour, although they tended to collapse when they were cut.
Then there were three types of petite four – a delicious half macaron with a generous swirl of vanilla cream, fresh raspberries and chocolate shard; a passionfruit custard with passionfruit jelly, cubes of fresh fruit and a small blob of meringue; and a chocolate cake with hazelnuts, coffee cream and chocolate. The kid's serve didn't include the chocolate/coffee cake. The macarons were a hit with the kids, but none of them liked the jelly: it was 'too grown-up'. The sandwiches were also declared 'too fancy' by the children.
Part of the delight of high tea is receiving those towering stands of goodies, a stack of sweets and savouries that you must conquer, one layer at a time. I was disappointed then, that on our table of six, we received only one stand, and the rest of our food was served on a slate tile. I suppose it makes it easier to see the view if you're not peering around the edges of a tired stand.
This is where the smaller groups (of 4) get to sit
I don't think I have ever been to a high tea where the ratio of jam and cream to scones is adequate, and today was no different. After waiting ten minutes for someone to walk past, I ended up getting up and wandering around in circles (literally) until I found someone willing to bring us more jam and cream. It was as though the service stopped as soon as our food was delivered.
Despite everything, our high tea at C was remarkably successful, but it so easily could have been a dismal failure. Considering the wait, it would have been easy for someone to lose their cool in hunger (perhaps me). The kids had an absolute ball and we did enjoy the food and tea (I recommend the iced tea) and of course, there is the view. But if a restaurant is going to say they cater to children, then they also need to cater to a child's attention span and a 45 minute wait, when the food is already prepared in the kitchen, is not acceptable.
Admittedly the whole thing was made easier by enjoying a glass of sparkling wine as part of our meal ($11 for 'sparkling white; $22 for Moet and Chandon) but that only made it easier for us, not the kids.
As per C reservation policy, credit card details must be provided when a booking is made, and there are heavy penalties for cancelling in the 24 hours before a booking.
That's too long a wait for kids....think my eldest would have lost their patience by then. I'd seen the kids high tea advertised and assumed it would be more kiddy friendly, that's a real missed opportunity. Great read and I've been there for adults high tea and it was delicious.
For a good cream and jam ratio try the Vines high tea....very yummy!