Do you start the dessert course of the High Tea at Rochelle Adonis with the signature parfait - decadent chocolate mousse, topped with mini crunchy chocolate balls, all hiding chopped Rochelle Adonis rocky road and liberally doused with a gooey salted caramel sauce – or do you finish with it?
The Rochelle Adonis parfait, star of the dessert course
It turned out to be quite a quandary, but I will explain that later.
Vegetarians often get a raw deal in restaurants. No pun intended. Sometimes they are directed towards the salads or vegetable 'side dishes'. Sometimes they are given a non-vegetarian main, with the meat taken out. It's rare that they are given a dish that makes a carnivore green with envy. Pun intended.
Rochelle Adonis takes care of vegetarians. They also take care of those with gluten intolerance and pregnant ladies. Given enough warning (not an issue, since you need to book in advance anyway) vegetarians will receive their own special savoury course, and not a lettuce leaf in sight.
High Tea at Rochelle Adonis is an occasion. In this case, it was celebrating the birthday of a friend. She happens to be a vegetarian, and it was a safe assumption that since it was her special occasion, she wouldn't choose a destination which was going to treat her as a second class citizen.
The wall of frames at Rochelle Adonis, she makes wedding cakes too
For $49 per person, you will receive a savoury course and a sweet course, each with five dishes. A palate cleanser in between, and two pots of tea or coffee round out this event. As the menu changes every fortnight, there is little point in deliberating too much on today's delicacies. Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite though.
Flavours include goats cheese, beetroot, contemporary fish and chips
This is no traditional scones and clotted cream High Tea. There was no quiche in sight (though there might be when you visit).
Instead we had foams and powders, soups and creams, edible petals and micro-herbs. It all sounds (and looks) very Heston Blumenthal, but without the dry ice, and all served on the most delectable mis-matched range of vintage silver, glass and china dishes.
Despite the very trendy molecular gastronomy touches, there was nothing vapid about the food we were served. The flavours were strong and balanced and so very different. Beetroot soup with lemongrass and orange foam was served in miniature double walled shot-glasses.
Goats cheese foam, with beetroot sponge cake and a wedge of golden beetroot was dusted with beetroot powder. It was a surprising and welcome explosion of flavour from an under-rated vegetable that rarely gets an outing at ordinary High Teas.
Some of the vegetarian dishes included haloumi wrapped in pastry served with eggplant relish, and a beetroot Wellington. As you can guess beetroot is currently in season, and as the chefs like to showcase the best produce of the season, you can expect flavours to change as the months pass.
Despite the picture, the milk bottle is actually miniature
The Queen herself would have swooned over the cucumber and dill finger sandwich.
High Tea implies tea-drinking, and Rochelle Adonis provides two pots of loose-leaf tea from the Seventh Duchess range (such as 'Turkish Garden': Turkish blend with apple, orange, cinnamon and cloves and 'Wedding Tea': black tea with delicate rose petals) or French press coffee (Remedy Single Origin Nicaraguan Diamond).
Extra tea or coffee or signature blend hot chocolate is available for $4.50 each, and you can also bring bottles of champagne for a corkage of $10 a bottle.
A fruity ice confection to limber up your taste buds for dessert
After the savoury course we were given a 'fruit sorbet' palate cleanser. It was a decidedly unsweet confection, presented as a miniature popsicle. Perfect to ready the taste buds for the next course.
Which is when the debate started.
Everything on the plate looked exceptional, but the Rochelle Adonis parfait was obviously the star. But, do you start with the celebrity and run the risk of peaking too early, or do you save it to last and risk being 'too full' to properly enjoy it.
First world problems.
Regardless of what you receive and what order you devour them in, as my friend so aptly stated 'it makes you enthusiastic about pastry'. I am happy just to eat it, but she meant making it.
Luckily, Rochelle Adonis also does cooking classes.
For all the beautiful things they can do, it's worth mentioning the things they can't do: if you plan on going in a pair or very small group, be prepared to share a communal table with strangers.
There are two large, marble topped tables which can be joined to seat 20 people, or separated into two tables of 12. Don't expect a small private table for you and your bestie.
The tables are very high, and as a result the chairs are more accurately described as bar stools. Not brilliant for those who are in wheelchairs (you would be under the table) or if you are unable to climb up into a stool.
Kids are not catered for, in that there are no high chairs and little room for prams. Children are charged the full price of $49.
Best for everyone if you leave them at home. With dad.