I’ve booked my bosses in for meetings and drinks at Ostro Bar before but had never actually been in myself. It’s hidden away in the Seafarers Building on Tyler Street. I knew I needed to make the effort to check out their high tea.
The menu at Ostro is designed by award-winning chef Josh Emett who has worked alongside Gordon Ramsey, so I had high expectations.
Once inside, we were welcomed with big smiles and shown to our seats. We were seated directly in front of some large open windows looking out to the water and docks. One thing I noticed was the amount of extremely tidy facial hair on the male wait staff… I spotted three beards throughout our time there. Facial hair is almost unseen in Hospitality so I was incredibly impressed at the amount of super tidy beards that the staff were sporting. Carl fit right on in!
The tea menu was large with lots of black, green and fruity teas available. I went with the typical English Breakfast and Carl chose a Caramel Tea which he had with milk. It tasted absolutely delicious.
We were initially a little surprised when the tiered platter came to the table, there were two of every item, except for the sweets. I asked the waitress if they happened to forget some of the items and she kindly told me that if you try any item on the platters that you particularly like, you can ask for more to be brought out at no extra cost. At first I thought it seemed to good to be true, but we trialled it (not wanting to look TOO greedy) and were brought out more brioche and scones as they were our favourites.
I was incredibly impressed with the savoury options of the High Tea – there were two items each and I happily chowed down on the brioche with egg and watercress (SO GOOD). Carl and I both agreed that something so simple like bread, egg and watercress may seem really basic – but when it’s executed well with the right flavours, it can become the tastiest thing on the platter.
In all honesty I was slightly let down with the desserts, while they were all nice and looked exquisite – there wasn’t a single item where I would happily ask for another. If I could put my finger on my favourite, it would have been the marshmallow as this was the first time I had seen marshmallow in any form included on a High Tea menu in Auckland. The Yuzu tart was also quite nice, (Yuzu is a Japanese fruit that looks like a grapefruit but tastes like a mandarin) but nothing really ‘stood out’ to me.
The date scones with fresh raspberry jam were the absolute highlight for Carl and myself out of all the sweet treats. They were fresh, flavour-filled scones served with a runny raspberry coulis (minus the raspberry seeds) and clotted vanilla bean cream. The flavours worked perfectly together and I made those mouthfuls last SO long.
A few people have asked me what ‘clotted cream’ is… it’s a very thick cream which has been heated and then cooled. During the cooling process the cream rises to the surface and basically ‘clots’ leaving a thicker texture than normal whipped cream.
I think the weirdest thing on the menu for me, was the Chocolate and Passion fruit dome. It looked like a shiny blob and had a mousse like texture once you bit into it. The flavour was pleasant, but I wouldn’t eat another one in a rush.
This High Tea was at the higher priced end at $55.00 per person (you need a minimum of two people to make a booking) – or $75.00 per person with a glass of Veuve Clicquot if you feel like really splashing out!
Overall I liked Ostro, and the friendly service of the team. The desserts were pleasant and I guess if I hadn’t tried a ton of other High Tea’s previously and had no expectations I probably would have enjoyed them more, I was just being picky for the sake of doing an honest review. I think next time though, I’ll just order a main.
Did you read my earlier High Tea review at Palm Court in the Langham?
My next (and last for the mean time) High Tea review will be held at Hotel Debrett here in Auckland City – this time thanks to the lovely owner, I’ll be taking one lucky winner along with me to enjoy this experience and be part of the reviewing with me.
Have you been to Ostro Bar before?