Mad Hatter High Tea | Wellington CBD

Back in early February, there was an Alice in Wonderland exhibit at the Te Papa Museum. It wasn’t a huge one, but it was pretty cool with all the information about Lewis Carroll’s literary work and the movies that were made. Because of that, a handful of places offered high tea with the Alice in Wonderland theme. I’m not a big Alice fan, but I LOVE having afternoon tea. So off we went to Whitby’s at the James Cook Hotel to try their Mad Hatter High Tea set.

Mad Hatter High Tea set for 2 (NZ$39.00/ person)

We went on a Sunday afternoon, but there weren’t a lot of people around. There was only one other group who had reservations for high tea that day. I did wonder why that was the case, but my thoughts were pushed away when we were greeted by one of the staff. The lady who assisted us during our visit was super nice and lovely. She was extremely helpful and was always ready to help us out when we wanted to try a different type of tea.

The back of the menu and a cup of the Green Jasmine Pear Tea

There were ten different types of tea to choose from and I managed to try around 3 or 4 types. Out of all of those, the Green Jasmine Pear Tea with its subtle fruity flavor was my favorite one. I didn’t add any milk or sugar to my cup as I found having it plain was the best way to go. S’ favorite was the Ceylon Amber Tea.

The three-tier set of food was brought to our table a few minutes after we first started having our tea. At first glance, I thought the food came in measly portions, but was proven wrong. By the time I had most of my share, I could already feel myself getting full. Even S admitted that everything was just right and any more would be just a waste of food.

Top tier of the set (scones with sugar and cinnamon, ruby chocolate dipped strawberries and almond linzer cookies)
Middle Tier (blueberry glazed doughnut, coconut lavender panna cotta with blackberry jelly, tiramisu macaron and choux au craquelin filled with black sesame cream)
Bottom Tier (curried egg mayonnaise with watercress on white bread; smoked salmon, cucumber and cream crease on rye bread; chicken croquette; and vegetarian sausage rolls)

Out of all the items, I found that I was most impressed by the simple salmon and cream cheese finger sandwiches and the tiramisu macaron. The former wasn’t a surprise, but the macaron was since I’m not a massive fan of that type of confectionery. It’s probably the tiramisu that drew me in and sealed the deal as anything coffee-flavored usually makes it me swoon. S enjoyed a totally different list of items, including the coconut lavender panna cotta, chicken croquette and the scone.

My biggest gripe with the entire set would probably be the cream that came with the scones. I love me some clotted cream and jam, so that was what I was expecting. However, this set came with whipped cream instead. That was a big downer for me. 😦

Overall, the experience and the food itself was just okay. Some things stood out, but most were pretty average. I’d say the tea was probably the most exciting part as we got to try out several kinds and discover new ones that we probably would never have stumbled upon on our own. The set wasn’t disappointing, just a bit lackluster compared to the other high tea sets I’ve tried in the past.

*Whitby’s is located inside the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, 147 The Terrace, Wellington.

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