Guest Post by That Girl.
Trips to Sydney in my adulthood have always meant only one thing: food. (It also goes without saying that trips to Sydney always mean something else: fat.) While Melbourne, no doubt, is an established foodie’s wet dream, going to Sydney solely to pig out on carefully selected and researched items, one right after the other, does tend to colour the latter city more flavoursome, more mouth-watering, and altogether more foodie-ful, particularly in hindsight. It’s as if Sydney is nothing but a giant, delicious smorgasbord. (For tourists and the like, Sydney is probably more than just food porn. Pity the fools.)
The most recent trip kicked off with a hike to The Rocks to score me some scones from a twee little house-shop, the Tea Cosy. These scones had been on a list leftover from my last visit and they were supposed to be pretty damn good bits of baked dough – like Nana used to make! Even though I never had a ‘Nana’! We showed up in the early afternoon on a surprisingly warm autumn day, and walked into a very dark, slightly stuffy townhouse, the front part of which appeared to be some sort of gift shop – I don’t know, I was there for scones. The back part housed the tea room: a kitchen, a dining room, and shelves of owl-shaped tea cosies.
Squinting in the dark to read the menu, we decided to get Devonshire Tea ($12.50 per person) and opted to get one of each scone for our basket – plain, cherry and almond, currant, cheddar and thyme. Our jam selections were apricot (even though I urged The Om to pick fig and ginger) and paw paw, lime and passionfruit (which I had been eyeing on the menu for about six months, no lie). Being that the day was unseasonably warm, we bypassed the traditional hot tea and opted for the iced varieties: mixed berry, and the lemongrass and ginger with apple. It was then that we were notified the power had gone out, which at least means they don’t usually sit their customers in the dark and un-airconditioned.
But you can still make me some scones, right?
We took a seat out back, where we could enjoy fresh air, natural sunlight and delightful Irish signage, which we proceeded to loudly mangle the pronunciation of, because we’re great fun for diners all around us. Here, one of the waitresses came to say that with no power, they could not produce the lemongrass and ginger with apple iced tea. Could we please pick another? We supplemented with the lemon lime chiller, which, like the mixed berry, has a lemon tea base, while the lemongrass has a herbal base. Perhaps the herbal base teas have to be electronically blitzed or something – I don’t know, bring on the scones, the ones like (my imaginary) Nana used to make!
The drinks were fine. Just fine. (In hindsight, it was a taste of things to come. Hardy-har-har, so punny.)
Lemon lime chiller; mixed berry – $4
And then, the power outage took away our scones. It took. Away. THE SCONES.
Actually, it just took away our choice. We were informed they could only make plain ones now, so we’d get four plain. I was slightly disappointed in my imaginary Nana, so I garbled some more Irish sounds to make myself feel better. When our Devonshire Tea finally arrived, I was ready to nom them scones up, but being a ‘foodie’, I had to first take my requisite photos. (I’m also a ‘breathie
’, in case you’re interested.)
The scones were pleasantly crusty on the outside and decently fluffy on the inside, kind of like the opposite of me. I am, however, dusted with a fine coating of icing sugar just like these were. It just seeps from my pores, au naturale like that.
Smeared with cream and jam, the much-waited for scones made for a perfectly fine snack. They were light and tasty and were a good vehicle for the accompaniments, which I suppose is quite important for a scone, in the grand scheme of Devonshire teas. Did they blow my mind? No. Have I had better? Yes. Were they like Nana used to make? I’ll never know. Would I return? Probably not. Might I find myself in the vicinity on a day when there are no power outages to interfere with their output? I’d put my money and my mouth elsewhere.
And while the paw paw, lime and passionfruit jam sounded awfully enticing in theory, it was rather subdued and one-noted (mild passionfruit) and altogether a disappointing choice. Apricot jam was simply apricot jam – no better, no worse. Fig and ginger, I regret not having you.
TL; DR – It just goes to show, not even the most well-planned food adventure can be without their moments of just fine. The Tea Cosy, essentially, is just that: just fine.