The Old Teahouse Gallery is quaint and charming, with good old-fashioned hospitality. Their country-style High Tea is their specialty, but you need to book well in advance. The High Tea menu is priced from $37-$42 per person and gluten-free (GF) is available if requested at time of booking. BYO wine or bubbly is charged an additional $3 pp corkage. Large groups (max. 55pax) who require sole use of an area will be charged extra.
If High Tea is not your thing, or you arrive without a booking, the a la carte menu includes a small selection of cake ($6.80), biscuits ($3), muffins/friands ($5.80), scones ($6.90-$8.30), and light meals ($21). Tubs of colourful gelati are also very tempting on a hot summer's day.
When I made an unplanned visit on a very hot Sunday afternoon in March, there was very little left to choose from. They only open Friday to Sunday, so I suspect most of the goodies are gone by Sunday afternoon unless they know you're coming.
I ended up ordering a chilled fruit-blend infusion 'Berries of the Forest' ($6.20) and the Roast Vegetable & Baby Spinach Crust-less Quiche, topped with basil, feta and ricotta, served with fresh salad ($21).
Berries of the Forest chilled tea ($6.20) . . . . . Roast vege & baby spinach crust-less quiche ($21)
The cold fruit tea was refreshing but quite sour and could have benefited from some honey on the side. The huge pot seemed almost bottomless and produced about four glasses. Unfortunately the quiche was very ordinary, microwaved to barely tepid, and the salad lacked any finesse. Extremely over-priced at $21.
What I enjoyed most was being presented with a tray covered in jars of different loose teas. The waitress gave me the menus and left the tray on the table so I could open the jars and smell the contents. Each jar was labelled, and it was an interesting, educational, and novel experience.
The 'gallery' aspect of the teahouse is not immediately apparent. Of the two owners, I was told that Anne is a collector of vintage china and Greg is a photographer. Just inside the house is a small gift shop.
The house was built in 1911 on land in Southport where Australia Fair Shopping Centre now stands. It was saved from demolition in 1981, cut in half, and moved up to Springbrook as part of a new Pioneer Village (where it was called 'The Virginian').
The house was under threat again in 1990 when plans were afoot for a golf course, but after a protracted battle it was saved again and moved here to Mudgeeraba in 1995 (where it was renamed Ursula's Gallery).
Ownership changed again 2001 and the house was renamed The Old Teahouse Gallery. The current owners purchased the property in 2009 and retained the name, with a view to specialising in the High Tea experience and building a reputation as a unique function venue.
All in all, my unplanned visit to the Old Teahouse Gallery was a welcome escape from the heat of the day. It is a lovely spot under the cool verandahs, transported to a bygone era, amid fresh linen tablecloths and fine china emblazoned with floral art. It is quaint and charming, with good old-fashioned country-style hospitality.
Why? tea-lover's paradise with vintage china and old-fashioned hospitality
When:Bookings essential for High Tea. Open Sat & Sun (10am-4pm); most Fridays (11am – 2.30pm) closed 1st Friday each month. Best to phone in advance to confirm availability & best to make a booking for all visits.
Phone:all bookings by phone only (07) 5525 3053 email@example.com
The ambiance and location of this tea house are nothing short of charming, especially if you arrange your own champagne in the outdoor gazebo beforehand . However, the service and staff need an overhaul. We had extremely long waits for our group high tea, the staff were less than helpful, in fact irritated by the gluten free pre ordered arrangements that were terribly delayed. Our lively group of 11 left hungry and dissatisfied in their meager presentation of food. The experience left us disappointed in substandard service and food.