Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published May 18th 2013
Update September 16th 2015
Please note this venue is permanently closed and no longer trading
Okay, so this is not the Windsor or the The Gables but it is Eltham bohemian chic and it has that homely, arty, earthy feel for which the area is famous. It is quite literally an experience.
The tea house is at the back of the Light Factory Gallery, an Alistair Knox designed building which you can read more about here. It means you can get your art fix as well as your afternoon tea cravings all in one sitting.
Most high tea places give you one three tiered stand of food which usually consists of a savoury level, a level with scones and then cakes at the top.
At the Light Factory Gallery Tea House, we had three courses and each of these came with different plates and stands.
The first tower was savoury and as this is my favourite course. It was great to have a lot more than the usual rounds of soggy sandwiches prepared hours before and left to sit.
Instead there were delightful soft fresh sandwich triangles. One was filled with poached chicken and herbs and the other with chopped ham and seasonings. Next level up were rounds of baked baguette topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon and capers, while on the top level were dainty little homemade tartlets with feta and moistened dried tomato in a good oil.
There was also a side dish of home made sausage rolls. As I read back over this, I feel guilty. How on earth did we fit it in?
But this was only the beginning. The second course was scones. The salivating began when our waiter said: "The scones will be ready in 12 minutes when they come out of the oven." You can't get much fresher than that. These luxurious scones were served with berry jam and a large dish of fresh whipped cream.
It set off a family argument about the order in which toppings should be heaped onto a scone. I always do cream first and then a dollop of jam. My family were askance at this saying that the jam should always go on first followed by the cream. After questioning my own sanity I came home and Googled it. Apparently both ways are correct. In Cornwall, it's jam first and putting cream on first is considered sacrilege but in Devon (and we are talking about Devonshire teas here) it's cream first and then the jam. So there. I win!
Lastly came the sweets. The first plate had colourful macarons, alternating with huge strawberries, dipped in dark chocolate. The next tier was stacked with neat triangles of fig and walnut cake and an assortment of chocolates in brightly coloured wrappers. On the top deck were tiny chocolate cups filled with a tart lemon cream. Divine!
All through the repast we were asked whether we wanted fresh fresh coffees or pots of tea, which was another nice change. At most places you are asked to sit on one pot of tea for the entire high tea.
One of the courses also came with pomegranate iced tea. The beautiful rose colour was stunning set against the eclectic mix of cups and sauces, yellow teapots and bright yellow napkins.
Of course we couldn't eat all the food and ended up taking quite a bit home but it really was an experience. Just that tad bit different than those samish, traditional high teas that are running rampant at the moment and forever escalating in price.