Cayrole is a part-time couch potato, part-time Sydney wanderer and full-time foodie, armed with her iPhone and a love for all things sweet.
Published August 21st 2013
So you think you know high tea? Think again
With its roots in event catering, Food Society is a hidden gem located on Riley St in Darlinghurst. Throughout the week, you can head in and enjoy the restaurant menu and cocktail list heavily influenced by Eastern European flavours.
But from 12.30pm-4.30pm every Saturday and Sunday is when their best-kept secret, the 'Vodka High Tea' menu, is served.
High tea with a twist! (Image from Food Society's Facebook)
The 'Vodka High Tea' is a twist on the traditional 'high tea' which sees finger sandwiches and scones replaced by a degustation of canapés, both savoury and sweet. And, as the name may suggest, mini vodka sippers and cocktails are recommended instead of tea and coffee (though these options are still available for the less adventurous!).
The unique experience starts off with the decor - romantic and homely, there is something quirky and different to look at in every nook and cranny on the shelves or hanging off the wall. The lighting is dark, adding to the romantic and somewhat mysterious ambiance of the whole place.
The romantic and homely interior (Image from Food Society's Facebook)
As we settle in and browse the menu in preparation of our degustation, we kick off our high tea with a Lychee and Rose Vodka, which is beautifully sweet, almost like cordial. The entire jug is consumed within seconds.
Our first lot of food is the savoury canapés which arrive on a two-tiered plate stand, the only resemblance to 'high tea' so far. It consists of: ocean trout roe Jerusalem artichoke tartlet and burek cigar of Bulgarian feta, spinach and ouzo on the top layer, accompanied by croquette of confit duck with horseradish cream and smoked paprika; spiced lentil salad in witlof and blini of vodka and beetroot cured ocean trout on the bottom tier in the photo below.
Everything is delicious and the flavours are delicately balanced with one another. Being unfamiliar with Eastern European cuisine, I find myself tasting flavours in combinations which are entirely new and exciting to me.
Round two - the 'substantial canapés' - arrive and we quickly gobble up the mini brioche slider of poached chicken, walnut and celery mayonnaise, fresh apple and celery leaf served with a petit side salad of watercress, tomato and shaved baby radish.
My sweet tooth is most excited at the prospect of the final round of canapés - the sweet canapés - and I am in no way disappointed.
I start off with the mini lime meringue pie seen on the far right of the photo and I immediately adore the lightness of the meringue. I then dig into the coffee cream with housemade honeycomb, which is served in a quirky little glass, but find that the coffee flavour is much too strong for me. The highlight of the sweet canapés, for me, are the ricotta doughnuts with lemon sugar and amaretto honey which are warm and chewy pierced with a sugary goodness that leaves me craving for more.
From left to right: Ricotta doughnuts, coffee cream with honeycomb and mini lime meringue pie
Overall, I absolutely adored Food Society's twist to the traditional 'high tea' experience. It is ideal for birthdays, anniversaries or for an afternoon celebration with a large group.
If you spot it at the right time and place, you can purchase a Groupon voucher for the Vodka High Tea for $49 for two. Otherwise, it will normally set you back $45 per person, with an additional $18 if you want the matching cocktails.