Thursday, September 21, 2006

Let's do high tea!

Leaf Tea Merchants Cafe

60 Walcott St, Mt Lawley, Perth WA (08) 9471 1105
Shop 1/29 Napoleon St, Cottesloe, Perth WA (08) 9284 3830

A is for ambience: intimate and trendy but unpretentious; perfect for a lazy afternoon or a slack Sunday. Alfresco dining with city skyline views are also on offer.
B is for best thing about this place: the variety - make an afternoon out of it by holding an elaborate high tea party; stretch your legs and indulge in some R&R with a pot of tea and a scone; if you're in an in-between mood, the peckish-worthy dishes will tickle your tummy until you start to giggle with deliciousness. And for those who have a sweet tooth but feel like something different to Dome and Cino's, pick up small cupcake or teacake. If you're like me and not too partial to tea, the fruit chillers and granitas are a refreshing and quench-thirsting option.
C is for cuisine: modern contemporary, cafe-style with snacks as opposed to meals.
D is for dress code: casual but you can girls can get away with a pretty frock. The standard dress ranges from trackies to floaty skirts and heels. Strangely enough, no one bats an eyelid at what you've got on (unless you're in Cottesloe) so don't fret.
E is for entree: not so for high tea; however some people who order from a la carte do start with a scone or a cupcake.
F is for food of course: basic high tea concoctions but whipped up in way like no other - cucumber & cheese tea sandwiches, salmon bites, cheese & sage or pumpkin scones, spinach and lorraine mini quiches, ricotta cheese & bacon mushroom bagels, cajun chicken foccacias , party pies and much more. The sweets and cakes on offer are just delectable and almost too cute to eat! A large variety of teas on offer but strictly no coffees.
G is for great value for money: perhaps slightly overpriced in some respects - a scone sets you back $3.95 however if you opt for a high tea set or even just a snack I think it is worth it in that it will fit you up. The quality of the food itself is impeccable so I personally think it's worth getting into the spirit of the experience.
H is for hip pocket: $3.95 for one scone or $6.95 for two. Tea sandwiches (I always have the shredded chicken & special mayo) are around $7.95 and cheaper for vegetarian varieties. Bagels and foccacias are around $13-$15 and High Tea Sets (as shown in the picture) start at $20 per person. Refreshments & drinks start at $3.95 for a thirst quenching Fruit Chiller (yum!) and up to $6 for a pot of unique tea. Sweets & desserts start at $2 (a small cup cake).
I is for improvements: None, this place is pretty much flawless in generally all respects!
J is for jump for joy because: after you enjoy your Afternoon Tiffin (a savoury high tea set) you can end the day by taking a stroll along the Beaufort Street shopping strip; catching a movie from Planet Video; stopping to Planet books or stock up on groceries from IGA Supa Valu. Oh, the possibilities are endless!
K is for the kind of clientele: 60% maturities 40% young professionals. In particular, the clientele does differ between Cottesloe and Mt Lawley, I have found that there is a smidgen of pretentiousness at Cottesloe, whereas Mt Lawley's Leaf is a true reflection of the laidback lifestyle that is enjoyed in Perth.
L is for location: The Leaf has two locations - Cottesloe (Napoleon St) and Mt Lawley (Walcott St opposite Planet Video). Both cafes are cleverly situated on their respective cafe strips, in close proximity to trendy boutiques and the essentials e.g. post office, pharmacy, supermarket, banks. The Mt Lawley location has sweeping city skyline views which should always be taken advantage of at every opportunity.
M is for mains: as with entrees, the Leaf doesn't offer mains so to speak. If you're feeling ravenous I wouldn't head there otherwise if you're a bit peckish, the foccacias and bagels and salads will suffice. The salads are fresh, drizzled with a delicious array of dressings with quality pieces of chicken tossed in. The high tea sets are a great way to share some goodness, one tea set (as illustrated in the picture above) would serve perhaps two people. Amongst a group, I would recommend ordering a few different high tea sets (one sweet - mostly filled with assorted cupcakes & teacakes; and then a savoury high tea set) just so you don't overdose on sugar or sodium.
N is for nice touch: the flower petals and fortune cookies adorning the high tea sets (refer to photo). Also a feature wall with shelves dedicated to all things tea: you can actually purchase art-deco tea cups and saucers as well as teapots, strainers and tea itself.
O is for opening hours: 9am-6pm seven days a week. I used to always wonder why they didn't open during the evening but obviously high tea doesn't go down too well at night!
P is for presentation: very meticulous and simple yet intimate and classy.
Q is for queues: warning - weekends tend to be very busy! If you're planning a group visit or even for a taste of their high tea sets, bookings are pretty much essential.
R is for restrooms (doesn't everyone rate this??): natural light filters through a clean and well kept restroom. Large mirror is propped on two simple basins. Funny frivolous stuff...
S is for service: Generally attentive, simple cafe-style service, however really friendly & pleasant! Staff are a wealth of knowledge in tea-culture so they will be able to recommend you some excellent options.
T is for tricky: Trying to find parking is a bit of a hassle if you're a novice (both at Cottesloe & Mt Lawley). If you're opting to frequent Mt Lawley's Leaf you can park in the Planet Video carpark - but make sure you park right at the end to avoid narky fines. There is also 'secluded back-parking' located just behind the premises (off Walcott St) which is a nice little area to leave your car. Just be wary of congestion on Walcott Street especially as the Leaf is only a few metres from the intersection.

U is for: unusual dish: Indulging in a cupcake at the Leaf will leave you in amazement as to how small a cupcake can get. Literally the circumference of a twenty cent coin, so much sweet goodness is packed into this delicate concoction. Try the Green Tea Cupcake ($2.95 or so) - so cute you'd want to take pictures!
V is for variety: Excellent - an ample range of vegetarian options as well as those for carnivores. The Leaf have an enormous selection of teas and beverages, as well as sweets and foccacias. There is bound to be something that tickles your tummy!
W is who to take: your bestie or your mother, but definitely not your boyf (he won't appreciate it, sorry girls). In fact, don't bother bringing along any boys at all, they would probably need ten or so scones to fill up - a lot of money for flour and sage!
X is for x-factor: A real niche... it's hard to find a place who does high tea without any pretension. Also, the Leaf is possibly the only place I know where I won't spot a single can of Coca Cola (they just don't stock it) let alone beer. Overall, a trip to the Leaf is a really fun alternative to the usual stock-standard cafes.
Y is for yummy: The shredded chicken & special mayo tea sandwiches ($7.95) available on rye or white bread, are my favourite at the moment. They look like such a small serving but they fill you up very quickly. The 'special mayo' they use is superb!
Z is for zippy-ness: One weekend, it took 20 minutes to receive one scone. However most of the time meals come out reasonably swift and it's usually worth the wait.


  1. An excellent first up post Mish, so meticulous. It does look like a fairly expensive place, but you have to indulge yourself every once in a while. As for the toilet part, I totally agree with you. A good restaurant should be reflected right through to how clean the toilet is.

  2. Oh gooood, I was a bit worried about my style of posting - thought it was a bit long winded and left of field. But glad you enjoyed it! It's not too pricey to be honest, it's all basically just cafe prices. But real good tucker!

  3. S is for Shouting which Mr. Do will do from now on.