Some invitations are harder to resist than others and it didn't take much to convince me that sampling High Tea at newly opened Passiontree Velvet at Carindale, Brisbane would be a good idea.
Located in the centre mall of Westfield Shopping Centre, Passiontree Velvet is filled with the good things in life, tea, coffee, cakes and conversation.
All the cakes, chocolates, macarons and sandwiches are made freshly each day and there's quite a variety on display in the cabinet - a rainbow of macarons to tempt your eye and stomach.
Passiontree Velvet project manager Chris Sheldrick says the inspiration for the venue was born of a desire to bring a European quality patisserie to Brisbane, priced so customers would be able to indulge regularly, not just on special occasions.
Looking at the prices, I'd have to agree they are not in the only-a-treat category, particularly when you consider the quality and quantity of cakes and sandwiches supplied. The Devonshire Cream Tea starts at $15.90 going up to the Full Duchess High Tea at $34.95.
Passiontree Velvet also has a full-time, French-trained and internationally experienced chocolatier, Jay Shin.
What's the difference between a simple cuppa and a High Tea? Well the High Tea is more of an occasion and more of a meal. It takes a bit of time to work your way through the delicious offerings giving you a chance to chat to your friends and enjoy their company - and there's nothing better than a chin-wag and a few laughs.
It's probably best not to forget you are sitting in the middle of a shopping centre, so don't share your intimate secrets, the details of last night's date or your divorce proceedings.
The menu includes lots of comfort food treats such as crumpets and waffles, croque monsieur and even teddy bear toast (that's probably for the kids but don't let that stop you!). The ribbon sandwiches are quite thick and were amply supplied with filling. Organic butter too!
Don't forget to sample the beautiful teas which come from Harney & Sons who supply the Dorchester Hotel in London and the Ritz Claridges. It all sounds rather posh but the teas are delightful. My favourite was the Paris blend - a trifecta of goodness with vanilla, caramel and currant. There's also coffee if you must.
Bottom line: Reasonable prices, easy access, plenty of parking, there's a lot to like.
Best tip: Go hungry - the servings are large.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Passiontree Velvet for High Tea.