There’s nothing better than heading out for a relaxing high tea with friends on a crisp wintery Sunday morning – it was the earliest I’ve ever done a high tea review but I was excited about checking out the Winder Garden Pavilion.
It’s in the heart of the Domain, which is also Auckland’s oldest park. It’s one of my favourite spots in the city to get back to nature, or feed the swans and geese that roam around the ponds.
I was joined by my usual high tea comrade Carl – and this time we were joined by my pinup wife Miss Lily Kate! Lily loves food as much as I do (especially a good ol’ deep dish apple pie) so I knew she would be the perfect companion to bring along.
The Winter Garden Pavilion is an intimate wedding venue, as well as a cafe. Our high tea was situated inside in one of the larger side rooms with large ornate mirrors along the walls and a big, toasty fireplace. We were lucky to have the room to ourselves for most of our high tea, it felt quite special. This room in particular is obviously used for wedding receptions judging by the romantic decor.
We ordered drinks, I went for my usual English breakfast tea and Lily and Carl aren’t big tea drinkers so opted for a nice coffee instead. I like that high tea doesn’t necessarily have to include a cup of tea, I would hate to think that people get put off the idea simply because they don’t ‘like tea’. Most high tea’s that I’ve been too (if not all) allow guests to have a coffee if they wish!
We started off with the savouries, and worked our way through to the sweet treats.
- The lemon scones were my favourite, subtle and fluffy with really fresh cream and jam
- Lily loved the savoury Blini with smokey mousse (I also loved this item!)
- Carl really enjoyed the the citrus coconut bar which was held together with coconut oil (pictured below). The flavour and texture was really different to what he expected.
- They didn’t have a menu available online
- The buttercream on two of the sweets was a little too ‘buttery’ for us, with very little flavour (the cupcake and the rose slice).
High tea is available Saturday, and Sunday on the first and third weekend of each month. Bookings from 10.30 am to 3.00pm – $36 per person or $47 per person with an additional glass of bubbles to start.
To top off our morning we all went for a leisurely stroll around the Winter Garden afterwards. The weather was crisp and sunny, perfect for a refreshing walk. The Winter Garden was officially opened in Auckland at the beginning of May, 1928.
On the whole, this high tea was a little disappointing (only regarding the sweet side) – the savouries were delicious and flavoursome. We all had a really nice time, and would definitely go back, however we think the whole experience would definitely be turned up a notch if the buttercream frosting was fixed on a couple of those sweets.
Here’s Miss Lily’s thoughts:
“Visiting the winter garden pavilion for high tea was the perfect treat for a sunday morning! We sat, tucked away from cafe patrons in a fancy wee nook with an open fireplace and gorgeous detailing on the ceiling above.
Tea or coffee was offered when we sat, I chose to go with an espresso (being a Sunday morning and all) I felt like I needed a bit of pizzazz in my step.
The high tea was served to us on a 3 tier stand filled with a selection of savories and sweets – My favourite treaty was the savory blini topped with a smokey caviar mousse and served in a serving spoon, it was light and full of flavour, I could have eaten 10!
I found all of the savories delish, and would happily eat them again – I also devoured the citrus berry slice, bound with coconut oil it had a zing and wasn’t too sweet, a perfect match.
However I found the icing of the chocolate muffin and rose slice on the top tier, sickly sweet and oily, it tasted like hardened butter- the chocolate cake itself was really lovely but I couldn’t eat all the icing.
All in all, I thought the pavilions High Tea was decently priced, had a good selection of little morsels to try, and i thoroughly enjoyed that blini and berry slice, I thought they were something different and not your typical finger food.
A fab morning out with two glorious friends!”