Another one-off (and sold out) event as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, this time the Forgotten Fruits High Tea at Southpaw Bar.

It caught my fancy because it sounded like something from Alice in Wonderland! This wasn’t just any high tea, but a high tea full of cakes and pastries made from ‘forgotten fruits’ sourced from Daylesford. Oh and I was also tempted by the $25 price tag :–)

The vintage bedecked venue was jumping when I arrived, filled with mostly women lounging over their tea and delectables in the high bench front room, the dimly lit Victorian parlour and the bright courtyard.

The tea started off with a modern take on the smoked salmon sandwich – a small morsel of lavosh, vodka cured salmon, elderflower and lemon creme. This was followed by a plate of charcuterie – proscuitto, salami and cappocollo – from Istra smallgoods, from just outside of Daylesford, accompanied by cubes of surprisingly moist olive oil foccacia.

A high tea would not be complete without a tiered stand and this one came with scones, sandwiches and pastries. Both the pumpkin and almond scones and traditional scones were also surprisingly fluffy and light given their crusty exterior. We slathered on vanilla bean cream and a selection of forgotten fruit preserves – my favourite sweet rosehip, apple and date chutney, a more tart cherry laurel, shadberry, vanilla bean and brandy jam and elderberry and rhubarb jam (all jams were available for sale as well).

The tier of sandwiches consisted of tea smoked chicken, crab apple chutney and chive creme, Istra cappocollo, roast sweet corn and horseradish and braised wild mushrooms and goats curd.

The bottom tier was relatively disappointing. As I picked up the gooseberry and toffee tartlette the liquified toffee filling spilled out. It could have melted with the passage of time but it seemed like the filling hadn’t been baked for long enough to set. Equally, the white chocolate and silvenberry mousse was much too liquid, more like a drinking yoghurt. I quite liked the Southpaw Tim Tam, a nugget of spiced medlar biscuit covered in dark chocolate.

Fortunately the palate cleanser at the end was a winner. Whimsically called the ‘drunken Eton’ it was a Eton mess shooter with a twist – marionberry, Grand Marnier, Italian meringue and brandy creme. Gobbled up so quickly I forgot to take a photo!

Today is the last day of the Forgotten Fruits High Tea but given the popularity of the event I hope that they’ll continue doing it in the future. With a little refinement of some of the dishes this could be a high tea winner.

  • Forgotten Fruits High Tea, Southpaw Bar, 189 Gertrude St, Fitzroy +61 3 9004 2590

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