Generally when you think of a high tea, you think of little sandwiches, scones, jam, tea, cakes. There’s a certain expectation that goes along with the words ‘high tea’.
I’ve always thought it was a bit boring to always be presented with what you expected. I think it’s much more fun to go for sushi and be presented with something that is similar to sushi, has elements that would make you call it sushi, yet isn’t the norm of what sushi is meant to be.
Enter ONE6EIGHT. Situated in Balmain, amidst the main street of Darling, ONE6EIGHT shines out against the seemingly ordinary cafes and restaurants. It’s different for several reasons, one being that the food is of a high calibre compared to the rest of the street (sorry Balmain!).
Husband and wife duo, Leigh and Amanda, own the restaurant, with Amanda explaining “my husband does more of the savoury stuff, while I focus more on the sweet dessert items”. It’s obviously a passion for both of them, and it shows in the food and presentation.
When I was invited to a high tea, I wondered whether I should wear a proper ’50s style dress with heels. Thank goodness I came to my senses and wore jeans. Because when one says ‘high tea’, you think of dresses and heels, and this was no ordinary high tea.
We started with drinks. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a private media tasting, and so was introduced to two lovely ladies: one being a journalist with City Hub, and the other having a huge following on Instagram. Hearing the difference between what they do was extremely interesting. I sipped on sparkling wine, and asked for a Ginger and Lemongrass tea. Perfectly normal high tea.
And then bam.
Out comes this.
On the top shelf was Leigh’s creations: vongole popcorn on squid ink and tapioca crisp; fried green tomato on avocado puree; and confit and compressed chicken wing. This was topped off with a parmasen and nigella lollipop.
The vongole popcorn tasted like chicken, as the fried parts had a certain flavouring to it that made it like smokey popcorn chicken. The fried green tomato came with an avocado puree that just made me want to use a spoon to eat the rest of it. And the compressed chicken wing…The chef had taken out all the bones, cooked it in an incredibly tasting flavouring, and presented it in small pieces on the plate. It was the one thing I kept checking for, to see if the others had finished them (note: they hadn’t, so I finished them instead).
On the bottom shelf was Amanda’s creations: fazzoletti; apricot and sailor marshmallow with toasted almond crunch on meringue shard; hot cinnamon donuts filled with seville orange and cointreau créme patisserie and ginger snap crunch; lemon and yuzu parfait with fresh raspberry; and chocolate and salted caramel tart.
Amanda told us that fazzoletti was something she and her mother used to make, so she enjoyed carrying on the tradition. It was light, and fluffy, and contained just the right amount of sweet and savoury. The marshmallow was a surprise, with it not being your stock-standard marshmallow. It was so easy to eat, and the meringue wasn’t overly sweet. The donuts were cute, and the ginger was lovely and spicy. The parfait, as I explained to the others with me, reminded me of a Warhead (which is a sour lolly that becomes sweet as you keep sucking on it). Finally, the chocolate and salted caramel tart was more salty than sweet, which made it different to every other salted caramel tart I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot).
For the whole thing (excluding the sparkling wine), it costs $50pp, with cocktails ranging from $10-$18, and bubbles ranging from $14-$18. It’s a completely different way of expeiencing a high tea, but it’s well worth your while. If you’re ever looking for something out of the ordinary and extremely delicious, I seriously suggest you try them out!