Rain falls lightly outside as we sit at a cosy corner table at The Balfour Kitchen. My mouth is watering while Amy describes the high tea she’s created; if I drool, I’ll pretend it’s a stray raindrop.
Amy’s pride is evident even in her quiet manner. If the food tastes half as good as it looks, it’s absolutely warranted. Amy slips away, leaving us to sample her handiwork. She mentioned that she loves working on the chocolate swirls and I wonder about the skill it must have taken. As soon as I touch the chocolate, it snaps between my clumsy fingers. I clearly don’t have the delicacy needed for this line of work.
We start with the yuzu slice. It’s light, tangy and creamy, with just enough chocolate to herald the decadence ahead.
The French Earl Grey ganache tartlet is next, and I know from the first bite that this is going to be my favourite. And not just because it looks like a little mouse.
I was prepared for rich, dark chocolate but this is blissfully refreshing. I suspect I could exist on this for days at a time and not want for anything. I refrain from stealing the second one on the plate. Sharing is caring.
I reach for a chocolate-dipped strawberry. This has the rich chocolate flavour that the yuzu slice teased. Within seconds I have chocolate smeared all over my fingers (and my face, probably). I’m not complaining; a life where you can’t eat chocolate like a three-year-old is not a life I want to live.
And is it just my imagination or are these strawberries sent straight from heaven? Supermarkets and grocers need to up their game, honestly. I feel like all other strawberries will be ruined for me after this experience.
Ah, well. We had a good run.
With the strawberry finished, I decide to return to adult life for a second and use the napkin to clean myself up. I was right about the chocolate on my face. I don’t care.
Amy said the Armenian nutmeg cake breaks up the richness of the chocolate macadamia brownie so I scoop both onto my plate and alternate spoonfuls. I’m in love. The combination of spicy fruit and chocolate that ensues is everything I need in life.
We finish with the pièce de résistance: the citrus mousse. We’ve been dancing around it, knowing the whole journey will lead here.
The creamy and crunchy layers work so well together I have to keep asking my fellow Styler, “Are you sure you didn’t want any more of this? You can have more!” I’m lying. Don’t take more. I want this citrus goodness all for myself.
It’s the perfect end to the meal. The citrus is a palate cleanser but it’s still sweet enough that everything else isn’t immediately banished from your palate.
I suddenly realise that we’ve finished the food and I haven’t begun to sink into a fodo coma yet. Did I do it wrong? How do you eat incorrectly? All other high teas I’ve been to have me basically crawling out of the venue or, in extreme cases, being rolled out Violet Beauregarde style.
After a few minutes, I find that I’m just comfortably full. I could probably even go for some dinner in a few hours. This modern high tea may not have had a cucumber sandwich or scone in sight, and we may have only tried the sweet options, but somehow I’m more satisfied than I’ve been with a high tea in a long time.
As we leave, I’m already wondering who I can take with me next time. And whether they’ll let me have both of the French Earl Grey ganache tartlets.