July 11, 2012

High Tea at Hippopotamus

If you want to look at beautiful things, go and have high tea at Hippopotamus at the Museum Hotel. The entry foyer is gorgeous, Hippopotamus is sumptuous, the view is stupendous and even the toilets are a feast for the eyes.

The service at Hippopotamus is wonderful. When you arrive they take you to your table, pull out your seat, and place a napkin on your lap. You may only have a few teas to choose from but your cup never runs dry. Most of the waiters speak with a engaging genuine French accent that makes you feel as if you had left little old Wellington and traveled to the continent.

The table is beautifully presented, the cups and saucers are delicate fine china. When the food arrives it is set out tastefully and the waiters are quick to explain what everything is. They cater to different dietary requirements. However, this writer really likes the staples of high tea; like scones with jam and cream, and cute little cucumber sandwiches. The food at Hippopotamus was delicate and decadent. It became a little bit too much as every flavour was overpowering and incredibly rich. For an afternoon tea it felt as if the chef had perhaps tried too hard.

The space in the room means you can have private conversations and hear each other clearly while enjoying paintings on the walls and the picture window with an iconic view of wellington. When the overflowing tea gets a bit much and you head for the bathroom the decor is a pleasant surprise. The tasteful surroundings of the restaurant have followed you into a place that is usually associated with functionality. This writer suggests that you go to the toilets on the ground floor as you leave the Museum Hotel. If you have a young daughter take her there one day when you are in Te Papa as she will enjoy the princess like atmosphere.

Overall it is an aesthetically pleasing experience to have high tea at the museum hotel. If you are looking for good old kiwi food your palate will get a surprise that you may or may not find appealing. For the same price as other places serve high tea you do get spoiled and made to feel like someone special for the afternoon. I will be back.

Price: from $30

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