I knew nothing of PassionTree Velvet when a little box was delivered to my office on an otherwise dull Tuesday afternoon. Looking for all the world like an aqua tinted Tiffany gift box, it was filled with a selection of melt in the mouth chocolate truffles and an invitation* to High Tea at the PassionTree Velvet tea salon at Carindale.
Creating Memories With Friends
Chocolatier Jay Shin says ‘High tea is not about feeding yourself, it is about socialising, enjoying quality delicacies and creating memories with friends.’ Having said that, PT Velvet are firmly focused on the food that helps to create those memories. There are macarons in all the colours of the pastel rainbow as well as sponge, chocolate and crème anglaise fancies, elegant ganache and mousse creations, scones and of course, chocolate truffles. PT Velvet offers a range of High Teas to enjoy with friends and family such as the classic Devonshire (scones, jam & cream), The Duchess (scones, sandwiches and dainties) and the Chocolatier for chocolate lovers. Be warned that the serves are very generous and quite filling so you may want to consider splitting one or, ordering two or three between a group. If you do decide to splash out though, leftovers can be boxed up and taken home.
Loose leaf teas come from Harney & Sons, master tea blenders who supply The Dorchester and The Ritz in London. Served in glass cafetière, there’s the usual flavours such as Earl Grey and Dorchester Breakfast as well as more unique blends such as vanilla and currant ‘Paris’ and spicy clove and orange ‘Hot Cinnamon’. Serving staff will approach to offer you more hot water if you drain the pot. Coffee is Australian brand Mocopan, well-rounded and without bitterness.
The Little Details
I spent some time talking with Christopher Sheldrick who represents PT Velvet, about product development. Cakes and treats are made in a commercial kitchen close by and need to be transported to the salon for finishing touches . Consideration needs to be given to how to deliver these delicate morsels so they remain intact. How long can the cakes be stored in the display cabinet as opposed to the chillers in the kitchen? (For the record, the Earl Grey Roll can be stored for a maximum of 6 hours before it needs to be removed from display.) What is the optimal size for a tea sandwich? Not issues that cloud my thoughts but certainly something that fills Christopher’s day as he strives to provide an authentic High Tea experience for customers.
‘No one wants to ask for extra hot water when they are mid conversation. That’s why the staff offer refills when they note an empty cafetière’, says Christopher. ‘We don’t charge for extra hot water (as a place in Brisbane CBD does), we don’t mind if people want to split a high tea between them, we’re not concerned if people like to linger. This is High Tea – a time to relax and enjoy. It shouldn’t be bound by silly rules that suit the venue.’ Sounds like a great customer focused philosophy to me.
I was curious to know if PassionTree Velvet was linked to Passion Tree Cafe located in Brisbane’s CBD or just a coincidence of name. A quick review of the pretty Velvet website displayed a link to the Cafe, so they are part of the same group but with very different personalities. The Cafe is about Asian desserts and drinks, fro-yo and fun. PassionTree Velvet is about quality, luxury and extravagance. I confess that I thought it a little strange that high tea was being offered in what is ostensibly the foyer of a shopping centre. Once we were seated and the food and drinks delivered, it didn’t seem to matter as much. Everyone chatted, rhapsodising over the treats in front of us and the shopping centre atmosphere melted away.
PassionTree Velvet is a little taste of luxury in suburbia. A great place to meet girlfriends for a gossip, to take Grandma to try and break her of her Coffee Club habit or even to enjoy by yourself on an otherwise dull Tuesday afternoon.
*TIFFIN sipped tea with her pinkie extended at PassionTree Velvet as a media guest of Liquidity Marketing