high tea @ c restaurant – perth
There will be no photographs accompanying this post because this, my friends, is not a review…THIS is a Public Service Announcement.
Ok fine, in actual fact … the lack of photos is due more to the fact that this experience was set in the Pre-Blog Era but Natasha Lam’s review of the High Tea at Peninsula Tea Gardens made me remember my own traumatic experience of High Tea at the hands of the C Restaurant.
For those who aren’t aware, C Restaurant is Perth’s only “revolving restaurant” and claims to provide a “fine dining experience”. Unfortunately it is victim of the “Great View/Crap Food” syndrome.
Now before you get all “you should have known better” on me….this outing was not of my own volition. I have felt very passionately against C Restaurant for years now but unfortunately this was a mandatory exercise as S’s family had organized the afternoon as a treat for S’s grandmother (little did we know that she actually had a phobia of heights…ah geeezz).
I must admit that my expectations of “High Tea” are extremely high. I’ve been very fortunate to sample a number of incredible High Tea events across Singapore which put everything else to shame…..free flow French champagne, cocktails to order, oyster bars, foie gras stations, silver buckets (yes BUCKETS) of caviar with chefs on hand to whip up freshly made blinis to nestle the precious little diamonds of the sea…..you get my point.
So with great trepidation, I dragged myself (while mentally having the tantrum of a 2 year old) to C Restaurant. I have been there twice previously, once when I was younger and then again in late teens. Both times left me more disappointed than the last. However, I did console myself by thinking “how badly can they F up some tea and scones”… oh how I was wrong.
Perhaps the knowledge that they recently ran a “Pay What You Feel” promotion and the fact they provide a “limousine service” for tables of 6 or more should have clued me in that the flashy extras were in place to compensate for the severely poor standard of food and service.
The first part of this traumatic experience began at the lifts in St Martins Tower. Just as we were about to board the one way ride to culinary hell, the lift doors parted and out tumbled the most inebriated Warwick Capper lookalike I’ve ever had the displeasure of crossing paths with. Dressed very appropriately for High Tea in a bright green “Travesty” T-Shirt and boardshorts, he leered towards S and started conversing with him in boganspeak. I had neither the skills nor interest to decipher what he was saying but I did catch snippets of this no doubt intellectually stimulating rant…..it went something along the lines of “YEEEEEEEAH MAAATE….so good. So f***in’ good ayyyyy”. S actually bothered to engage with this specimen asking him “And where have you come from?” The talented linguist replied ever so eloquently with “Arhhh you know….that place up there…with the food…maaate”.
OK. Here’s a few problems I have with this scenario:
- The word ‘restaurant’ doesn’t appear to have entered your vocabulary
- It’s 2.45 pm and the restaurant opened at 2pm. In 45 minutes you’ve managed to get yourself absolutely “blottoed”. This, I struggle to understand as there isn’t even a free flow champagne option (thank Christ)
We finally made it up and to our table (not that it was a great difficulty, there were only 2 other tables there and they were no doubt tourists).
The menu offered 3 options:
- High Tea for $37: “ A tiered array of delicious petit fours, freshly baked scones, delicate finger sandwiches, as well as warm savory pastries and quiches together with bottomless cups of your favourite tea or percolated coffee” (Mmm percolated coffee… the height of sophistication)
- Sparkling High Tea for $48: The same but with a “glass of sparkling wine”
- Champagne High Tea for $59: Ditto but with a glass of Moet et Chandon (Now I don’t mean to come across all bourgeoisie but my feelings on “Moet” can be summed up from this brilliant bit of prose.)
My hope perked up slightly as I noticed they offered a wide selection of loose leaf teas. I ordered the chai tea from the French waiter who had no doubt been wheeled out as the “meet and greet machine”.
The teas eventually arrived via a different waiter who had no idea which tea belonged to whom. After these were unceremoniously dumped down one end of the table the waiter scampered off and we slowly rotated out of her view. It was at this stage we realized that not only had we been denied access to milk or sugar, half the tea cups we had been supplied with were missing teaspoons or saucers entirely. Some of them even bore nasty yellow stains.
Despite the atrocity of this situation, S’s mother and I politely requested a young waitress who was setting a table nearby if we could get some teaspoons, saucers and sugar….not an unreasonable request considering we were there for the purposes of High Tea.
To my absolute chagrin, the waitress’s face flashed with displeasure as she snarkily replied with “For future reference, can you just ask your waiter because I’m not serving your section”.
After retrieving my jaw from the table, I managed to gather myself together in time to request if she could please pass the message on to someone that could assist us with this menial task that was apparently beneath her job as a “waiter”.
Honestly!!! I was barely containing my hiss at this point. Look, I’m well aware of section waitering having done a lengthy stint in hospitality myself but as I previously mentioned there were currently only 2 tables in the restaurant and up to 10 staff. Each of them appearing and disappearing intermittently. In fact, we had already been waited on by 2 different people up to this point.
Thankfully the food arrived after this debacle.
Two 3 tiered stands arrived for the 8 of us containing a plate of assorted sandwiches and quiches, a plate of scones and a plate of “petit fours”.
The sandwich choices consisted of smoked salmon, ham and cheese or tomato and salad. They weren’t terrible but the choices weren’t particularly exciting. The quiches, unfortunately, weren’t any more impressive than what could be found in your local supermarket freezer section. Congratulations C Restaurant on equaling the culinary standard of my primary school tuckshop.
As for the scones, they varied from luke warm to cold and were rather dry. The cream was disappointing and looked like it came out of a Dairy Whip can.
Then there were the “petit fours”…..my god the petit fours. The choices ranged from miniature strawberry tart to chocolate rum balls to miniature chocolate éclairs. I picked the latter and boy was this a mistake.
My friends, Julia Child would be rolling in her grave.
The “custard” in the mini éclair was so runny that as soon as I bit into it a violent spurt of creamy liquid shot out in front of me and dribbled down my chin, rendering me the spitting image of a C grade pornographic film actress….a situation made all the more unfortunate by the fact I was sitting directly opposite S’s grandmother.
C’s website claims that ‘All the scones and petit fours are prepared daily from scratch unlike other establishments who buy in from factory outlets. Not at C – our investment in patisserie professionals is reflected in the quality of our High Tea’s, and we are committed to the art of all things sweet.’
Well C, hiring a Baker’s Delight chef does not constitute a patisserie professional.
So it comes as no surprise that I warn you….avoid this place at all costs! I can think of other words that ‘C’ could stand for……
Here is a list of things it would be better to blow $37 on:
- Lunch for 3 days at Jus Burgers;
- Yotam Ottolenghi’s fabulous cookbook @ The Book Depository (my favourite online bookstore);
- Dim Sum lunch for 2 at any fine Northbridge establishment;
- 2 x Tiger Airway tickets flying Singapore to Phuket (yes that is how much I actually paid a couple of months ago)
1 Golden Spoon out of 5 (Half for serving me loose leaf tea albeit in dirty cups, Half for not giving me food poisoning)
C Restaurant in the Sky
33/44 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
T: 08 9220 8333