It was with great pleasure that I convened the first meeting of the High Tea Crowd at The Bar in the Westin Sydney. In attendance were a number of fine young women, myself and the Southern Boobook. Being that one of our party went by the name of Lacey, we decided that it was suitable to order the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea, a whimsical Alice in Wonderland themed high tea – cakes shaped like top hats and stopwatches and small themed sandwiches.
The good folk at the Westin cater very well to allergies so long as you book the tea in advance. I was pleasantly surprised to note that their method of catering to allergies does not reduce the amount or quality of food served! The Westin arranged for specially cooked foods to replace items that could not be eaten, baking a cake specially for one of our party suffering from a citrus allergy and replacing another’s crab sandwiches with chicken sandwiches. I found that this personal approach to food service very refreshing and I expect that I shall hold all future meals accountable to the same standards.
The cakes were very lovely. I particularly enjoyed the Queen of Hearts raspberry cake, which paired the raspberry and chocolate flavours expertly. The Mad Hatter’s Hat, while lovely to look at, was a little bit dry underneath a rather cardboard-like tasteless fondant. The sandwiches were an absolute delight, with the Tweedledum and Tweedledee paired sandwiches really stealing the show. I did manage to force down the salad, which as salads go, was still palatable especially with the sauce.
After our platters were cleaned, we were served with the most delicious steaming hot scones with fresh strawberry jam, a dark chocolate raspberry sauce, clotted cream, honey and many other delicious accoutrements. The scones were scrumptious, just the perfect combination of a crunchy exterior and fluffy interior. Unfortunately, I was unable to furnish you, my lovely sister, with photographs of said scones, as they were consumed within seconds of touching our plates. We had two each.
Conversation was kept at a fairly delightful banter and limited to discussion of such life events as new careers, the raising of children, upcoming nuptials, the inanities and importance of television programmes like Sex in the City, womens’ sufferage, old friends and other such frivolities.
All in all, a delightful afternoon tea and one I should want to try again.
 Lacey being the very same nickname that the infamous Lewis Carrol gave to his young friend, Alice Liddell.
 All too often restaurants engage in the truly tiresome habit of either refusing service to those of us afflicted with allergies or else denying us certain foods in a set meal while still insisting on full payment despite the reduction.
 Salad and greens being what food eats.