Saturday, November 24, 2012

Just Tickled Pink: A Tea Place Review

When it came time for an end of year mini celebration for some lovely lady friends and myself I knew high tea would be the way to go. We are, to put it simply, high tea kind of people. We appreciate the detail, the china, the decor, the presentation of the food and of course the food itself.

Whilst lovely little Adelaide has several dessert bars, we are lacking traditional, old fashioned tea rooms, which for someone like me and many people I know is very disappointing. Regardless, I posed the question to Google, 'high tea in Adelaide'. He/she shot back a few options for us, however one that stood out was Just Tickled Pink. It looked cute and somewhat old fashioned but in a modern way, if there can be such a thing. I booked us in for high tea, which you should do too as they don't do high tea for walk ins. They do however have a cafe menu too and some incredible looking cupcakes if you are just dropping in.

After I booked I looked at some reviews on the internet; ok, so I did it the wrong way around! It was then I started to get worried, the reviews were very much less than complimentary, it made me nervous.  Those nerves however would not last as when I arrived and walked inside I was transported to another world. The staff were lovely and friendly and when we were seated we were provided a champagne glass of something with some bubbles and berries, it was non alcoholic. We concluded it was some kind of cordial and sparkling water combo. It was nice and refreshing.

The interior of JTP is, as you would expect, predominantly pink. It's not a tacky pink and is nicely done to compliment the interiors of the older shop front in which it resides. Lovers of high ceilings, fancy cornices, pretty archways and ceiling roses wont be disappointed here. The store retains the pretty original features which so many new places lack; I believe they call it 'character'.

I never really got caught up in the Audrey Hepburn hysteria that seemed to sweep through a few years back. All those cheap handbags with a photo of her from Breakfast at Tiffany's, I never owned one and nor did I desire to. Yes, I think she did have a certain way of dressing that was pretty and elegant, but I never saw the hype. Just Tickled Pink could be seen as somewhat of a Hepburn shrine, there are photos everywhere, even a giant screen (the old fashioned room divider) with a huge picture of her face. I found it possibly a little creepy, but maybe that's because I just don't get the appeal of the long gone star of yesteryear. Despite this, she doesn't seem to overtake the rooms completely and the other nick-nacks  and decorations provide enough distraction. There are photographs of the interior on their website, the details of which are at the end of this post.

Our service started with something that I can't name, only describe, as we were never told what it was. It was like a petite omelette garnished with a little smoked salmon and what I assume was a chive creme-freche concoction. Not being told what we were consuming was a little odd however it was yummy and a nice starter. When the tiered stands emerged they looked gorgeous. Again it would have been nice to be provided with a little more detail about what it was we were about to devour. And yes, my gluten intolerant friends, you will be pleased to know they offer a yummy gluten friendly option.

The food was very well presented, with some finger sandwiches even presented in the shape of a high heel shoe! The scones were divine, or so I'm told. There really was an abundance of food and it took us a good hour to pick through about 80% of it. I was glad that I hadn't eaten any lunch as this was lunch and dinner combined. As a plus, they boxed up the treats we were unable consume and we were able to take them home.

As we slowly worked our way through our treats the food for another table came out and it was one of the guests birthday so the staff sung happy birthday for her which I thought was a lovely touch.

On to the tea. As with most of what we ate we weren't told what tea we were drinking, nor did we have a choice. It was most likely English Breakfast, which I didn't mind. It was served from a large silver tea pot into our cute little tea cups. I would have like to have a choice of teas here. Perhaps we could have made a decision and had a little tea pot sitting on our table to pour as we pleased. The focus here was definitely more on the food than the tea.

Overall, Just Tickled Pink was nice and the thing that made our high tea experience great was indeed the company of likeminded friends and some discussion about the finer things in life and life itself. High tea here is $40 per person, one of the most expensive in Adelaide. Whilst I don't believe it was worth the full $40, I would price it at $35 perhaps, I didn't feel 'ripped off' as some other internet reviewers have stated. This may be because my expectations were for a nice celebratory afternoon with  friends, and that expectation was met.

The Verdict

Tea Place: Just Tickled Pink
Location: Unley Road, Hyde Park, Adelaide, South Australia
Contact: Website
Rating: 4/5
Comment: A cute store front, nice atmosphere and yummy food. The downside was the lack of tea and lack of choice of tea. It would also have been nice to be told what we were eating. Overall, a good afternoon.

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