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While this winter has been rather cold, things could be worse. We’ve had quite a bit of sunshine, which makes the cooler temperatures more tolerable.
This was the case during the Sunday on which I had made plans with themacarondiaries to visit the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. We had made these plans 1.5 months in advance, so we were glad to see that the weather gods were on our side.
Inside the NGV.
Centrally located, the clinamen acoustic art piece, by French artist Celeste Boursier-Mougenot, immediately caught our attention. The random movements of the floating porcelain bowls resulted in gentle clinks and chimes, which together with the soothing blue colour gave rise to a calming sensation.
Now, onto the more important aspect of this post: the food!
The gorgeous tea room, with a background that sets the scene of a garden setting.
The tea rooms at NGV have always offered a high tea spread, but have introduced a Monet’s Garden-inspired high tea theme that aptly fits in with the running of the exhibition.
Prices for the high tea alone cost $55 per person and $81 for both the high tea and entry to the exhibition. Visitors have the choice of partaking in the tea before or after visiting the exhibition.
Drinks - tea (Buddha’s Tears) and a cranberry apple juice.
Buddha’s Tears - hand rolled Chinese green tea (tender white pekoe leaves infused with the soft floral notes of jasmine.
Listed as a flower tea on the tea menu, the tea was very fragrant in smell. The feint floral infusion was immediately detected when a sip was taken, but soon faded to give way to the standard flavour of jasmine green tea.
Monet’s Garden High Tea.
I initially thought the scones were a little too dense, but the lack of fluffiness in texture was actually balanced out by the amazing crispiness of the exterior. The warm scones were paired with a silky smooth cream and a jam that wasn’t overly sweet.
The chocolate croissant was very flaky, and the amount of chocolate filling used did not overwhelm the delicate croissant.
Savoury tier - sandwiches, pie and sausage roll.
The smoked salmon tasted fresh, and was nestled between two pieces of generously-buttered white bread. The bread itself was also quite fresh, to such an extent that the bread was super duper soft.
The chicken was covered in a creamy mayo that added much moisture to each bite. The presence of a slight and refreshing lemony tang worked well with the sweeter mayo, and added an oomph factor that awoken the taste buds.
I am quite the fan of cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, but found this serving to be underwhelming. The potent flavour from the dark rye bread masked both the cream cheese and cucumber. It didn’t help that the cucumber slices were super thin.
The presentation of the sweets plate was simply impeccable and visually-stunning. Tapping into the Monet’s Garden theme, the entire plate was an artistic masterpiece, and we were hesitant to dig in. Another reason for this could also be due to the fact that we had hit struggle town… As is the case with all the other high teas I have partaken in, I get full just before I make it to the sweets.
The passionfruit was not too tart or overly sweet, and the pastry was quite buttery and delicate, similar to short bread.
The shell of the raspberry macaron was delicate while the inside was perfectly-chewy and moist. The raspberry flavour in the jelly filling that sandwiched the two shells together was spot on.
The eggy sponge cake, which formed the grassy ground of the garden, turned out to be my favourite out of the sweets. Very well-baked, the sponge ticked all the boxes for the criteria that makes a good sponge cake - it was airy, soft and moist. Covered in a sprinkle of coconut, the coconut enhanced both the texture and flavour profiles of the cake.
Unable to finish everything, we did what we weren’t supposed to do and played with the food. Themacarondiaries unleashed her darker side when she cut one of the worms in half… but then proceeded to set up a burial site for it! We didn’t stick around to see, but we were curious as to how the waiter/waitress reacted when they cleared our table…
We spent the next few hours immersing ourselves in Monet’s world (walking off our food babies), and it was without a doubt one of the most enjoyable exhibits I have visited to date. If you haven’t already done so, a visit to the Monet’s Garden exhibition is highly recommended… and while you’re at it, making a stop at The Tea Room upstairs for their high tea can’t hurt!
Monet’s Garden exhibition runs until the 8th of September.
The Tea Room
National Gallery of Victoria
180 St Kilda Rd,
Southbank, Victoria, 3004.
(03) 8620 2431