January 14, 2016

‘Art Meets Food’ at the Wedgwood Tea Room

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Have you ever found yourself staring at a painting and attempting to analyze the mind of the artist or the work on display and wondered, ‘If that painting was food, what would it taste like?’ I have…. and I’m going to throw it out there and say, I reckon the Tom Roberts inspired High Tea and Lunch at the Wedgwood Tea Room may have answered that question. 

So how does one find a plate of food that tastes like art you ask? Well friends…. Come with me!

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

The sweeping views of eucalypt tree tops, mountaints and the blue sky are rather like a Tom Roberts painting

Firstly you are welcomed into the National Gallery of Australia where you can literally walk on rainbows #squeeeeeeel It’s a work of art by Jim Lambie called ‘Sound System’, then head on up the escalators and past a man holding a fish, (YEP – a fish!) continue on past a huge LOVE statue and drink in all the ambiance.  

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Tom Roberts inspired luncheon – The Farmhouse Board

Gather your thoughts friends, because next you’re walking past a war tanker painted in a crazy design, but don’t let that hold you up too long because we are nearly at our destination for the lifts that takes you up to the Wedgwood Tea Room where, you’re back in familiar territory once again with glorious big comfortable velvet chairs at tables laden with the prettiest Wedgewood crockery you ever will see, tranquil views of eucalyptus tree tops and the Sculpture Garden below with Lake Burley Griffin glittering in the sunshine. The view alone is art at it’s best.

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Gorgeously presented sweet treats on a two-tiered Wedgwood cake stand

The Tom Roberts exhibition is on display (until 28 March, 2016) and back in the day when I would get my art on, some of my earlier ‘stuff’ was inspired by his legendary Australian masterpieces, so I was super keen to experience the contemporary interpretation of food inspired by the era (1856 –1931) and themes of the Australian outback. 

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

A delicate selection of goodies all served on Wedgwood china

We started with a chilled glass of Helm Riesling and were walked through our menu. To report on this special event properly, I took one for the team and ordered both meat selections from the lunch ‘Farmhouse Board’, an Australian style antipasto that featured slow roast beef, salt baked salmon, lemon scented kipfler potatoes, iceberg lettuce with radishes, honey & sherry caramel pumpkin, relish, pickle pots and rosemary salt damper. It was like biting into all my favorite childhood food memories.

Tweet: Hey @AnnaJ31 my school lunchbox had

Tweet the world (and ME) did your school lunch box consist of roast meat & tomato sauce sandwiches like me? If not… what’d you get?

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Chicken sandwiches – Hands down, the best sambo I have ever eaten

Next up, huge decorative china Teapots with Wedgwood tea and a 2-tier cake stand loaded with mini cured salmon brioche burgers, asparagus, leek and gruyere tarts, ribbon sandwiches, opera slice, lemon and yoghurt tart with toasted meringue, peach melba cake, jam drop shortbread and scones with the most magical berry preserve and double cream.   

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Because one is never enough!

All the china used were a collection of Wedgwood crockery that I fell in love with, everything seamlessly blended together and our table looked magnificent! 

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

An eclectic collection of Wedgwood plates, teacups and teapots decorate the table 

Having been gluten, dairy, sugar and booze free for the last four months, I figured a High Tea feast at the Wedgwood Tea room served on beautiful china was the perfect reason to have me a cheat day.  

A Review of the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia by Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Scones with the most delicious vanilla bean whipped cream and berry preserve

My favorites were the chicken sandwiches and jam drop shortbread tarts with lavender sugar #foodgasm so good in fact, I booked in again for a cheeky High Tea date with Queen Suebah.

I’d love to know, have you been to the Wedgwood Tea Room at the National Gallery of Australia? And do you prefer sweet or savoury more? 

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shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

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Jean | Holy Smithereens - February 2, 2016 Reply

How lovely! I’m quite smitten by that brown (or was it black) and pink Wedgeroom teapot!

    Anna - February 2, 2016 Reply

    I think it was black, but even the brown that featured was stunning. 🙂

All That I'm Eating - January 28, 2016 Reply

What a great experience and a lovely looking afternoon tea!

    Anna - January 28, 2016 Reply

    It was a wonderful experience, so tasty too! 🙂 It’s almost time I book in for a third time. Haha! 🙂

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl - January 23, 2016 Reply

So jealous, I love tea rooms! This looks like such a awesome time with yummy food and delicious teas! What was your favorite tea you tried?

    Anna - January 23, 2016 Reply

    It was such an amazing experience (twice), I didn’t know I would enjoy it as much as I did too. Something about bite sized food served on the prettiest plates you ever will see that make food taste amazing. 🙂 Both times I had a special blend tea called Wedgwood, it tasted similar to English Breakfast. Yum!

John/Kitchen Riffs - January 21, 2016 Reply

Both sweet and savory for me, please. And I’ll try a bit of everything — I’m also always ready to take one for the team. Really fun post — thanks.

    Anna - January 21, 2016 Reply

    I am so with you John, definitely try a bit (lot) of everything when you have a big selection to choose from, and we should be awarded for all the good work we do for ‘the team’ when it comes to eating right?! Glad you enjoyed.

Jonathan Key - January 21, 2016 Reply

I’d love to take my wife to something like this some time. The food looks amazing and the china so beautiful!

    Anna - January 21, 2016 Reply

    Jonathan, I reckon you’d score some super brownie points taking your wife to High Tea at the National Gallery, everything about the experience is awesome too.

Davina - January 20, 2016 Reply

love those plates! would make a great addition to my food props!

    Anna - January 21, 2016 Reply

    Oh I totally agree Davina! The plates and teapots were absolutely stunning, so much so I went to the shops and put some china on lay-by. 🙂 High Tea at my place soon.

kris - January 20, 2016 Reply

Beautiful photos. Wonderful looking food. The older I get I realise how much I love the combination of fine china, with food. Its a complete package. It just gets you to slow down and take in not just the food, but what it is served on.
Not sure if I have ever been to a high tea. But I think it might be time.

Thanks for sharing. x

    Anna - January 20, 2016 Reply

    Thanks buddy! Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂
    Couldn’t agree more, it’s like something clicks when you turn 30, you magically learn about species of lawn and fine china is something you want to own. Haha!
    I hope you guys get to the High Tea before it closes in March, I have a hunch Megs would love it.

Victoria - January 20, 2016 Reply

The food looks fantastic and so pretty! Love food and art 🙂

    Anna - January 20, 2016 Reply

    It was Victoria, it really, really was. So much deliciousness and we got to enjoy all the art too. Perfect way to spend a day.

Jessica - January 20, 2016 Reply

That looks so lovely! I’m liking all the china too! It’s so beautiful! The food looks delicious and makes me just want to reach out a grab one! Thanks for sharing your tea room experience!

    Anna - January 20, 2016 Reply

    It was SO good Jessica, all the happy feels after dining at the Wedgwood Tea Room (Twice!) 🙂
    Thanks for enjoying my tea room experience.

Norma Chang - January 20, 2016 Reply

We all deserve a cheat day, I call it a quality of life day. What a gorgeous spread, did you sample everything?

    Anna - January 20, 2016 Reply

    Yes, I agree wholeheartedly, especially when you call it a quality of life day. 🙂
    I sampled everything the first time I went, but couldn’t get through it all when I went the second time.

Liz (Good Things) - January 20, 2016 Reply

How very lovely! Must add this to my list of good things to do in CBR. xx

    Anna - January 20, 2016 Reply

    It was magic the two times I went Lizzy, and would absolutely recommend adding to your Good Things list. 🙂

Jessica - January 20, 2016 Reply

Oh gosh! that all looks so good and beautiful. How fun!

    Anna - January 20, 2016 Reply

    It is and it was Jessica, this little oinka could easily do it all again (3rd time). 🙂

Helen at Casa Costello - January 19, 2016 Reply

Oh how I wish I could get to this exhibition – Looks a simply divine day out and I love the prospect of walking on rainbows!

    Anna - January 20, 2016 Reply

    Teehee… Yes the rainbow walk is most fabulous, perfect for cheeky floor selfies too. 🙂

Sue Slaght - January 19, 2016 Reply

Anna this looks beyond scrumptious! Certainly anyone reading your post and within visiting distance will be heading over for this very special treat.

    Anna - January 20, 2016 Reply

    Oh it was Sue, I think one of the most tasty events I went to last year, and High Tea at the Gallery holds the best eat of 2016 so far too. LOL! 🙂 I do hope those within visiting distance do pop along, the NGA is one of Canberra’s most fabulous touristy destinations.

milktea - January 19, 2016 Reply

the scones look great, but the chicken sandwich!!! <3

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    The scones were flippin delightful, and yes…. those chicken sandwiches. #BEST

Hannah - January 19, 2016 Reply

I have been lucky enough to have been to the Wedgwood Tea Room 😉

Sweet or savoury??!!!???! Por que no los dos?!
The main reason I go to the movies is so I can tip Maltesers into my popcorn in a dark room where no one will judge me.

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    And you were the perfect lunch & High Tea date too. 🙂
    Haha… You crack me up woman, I can picture your face saying ‘why not both lady!’
    That malteser / popcorn combo is a delight, and people wont judge, they will think you are AWESOME.

Liz - January 19, 2016 Reply

Oh, my gosh, what a feast! The table setting is gorgeous—even the menu is beautiful. Looks like the perfect spot for lunch.

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    It was oh so wonderful Liz! Both times… Ha! 🙂
    And I agree wholeheartedly, the table was perfectly set and everything was so pretty and beautiful to look at and eat.
    It is a magical spot for all day dining, possibly my new favourite spot to be.

Leslie - January 19, 2016 Reply

Oh that looks like fun! Yum, the food looks delicious. I wish I could do things life this around my town.

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    It was an amazing experience Leslie. We are lucky to have amazing places like the National Gallery at our doorstep, guess you’ll just have to come for a visit huh. 🙂

Kirsty - January 18, 2016 Reply

Such lovely dishes, teapots and cake displays. How wonderfully decadent! The morsels themselves look simply delicious.

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    It was absolutely beautiful Kirsty, so good in fact, this little piggy went twice, maybe 3 times before they close in March. Lol!

Mabel Kwong - January 18, 2016 Reply

So much food on offer at this high tea. Spoilt for choice! If I was there, I think I’d find it hard to sample everything. That chicken sandwich actually looks really good. I am a big fan of them, but always struggle to find one that has the whole package, to loosely put it. For instance, the bread must be soft (ideally multi-grain), if toasted then not it must not be overly hard or charred, the chicken not too creamy, there must be actual chicken and preferably cooked with a bit of spice or herb that is not spicy 😀

I haven’t had opera cake in my life, actually. I googled it and oh my, I think I’ve been missing out all this while! Absolutely love sponge cake so this is a must try for me.

Hope you are doing well big sis. I’m sure you are strong and back to healthy eating again. Lots of love your way 🙂

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    It was the BEST Miss Mabel, the first time I went I managed to fit it all in, including lunch. But the second time, there were left overs, 1 giant scone I couldn’t figure out how to sneak out. Haha! And the chicken sandwich was a-mazing, the bread was soft, the chicken was real, creamy but not overbearing and seasoned perfectly, I’ve a hunch you would have loved it. 🙂

    Oh YES, you need to get on tasting opera slice stat little one, so, so, sooooo good.

    Doing great this end little sis, hope you are super too. Back on track with my eating now also. Big squishy hugs and love headed your way. Mwah. xox

Salmon salad with crunchy nuts - January 18, 2016 Reply

[…] Anna | ’Art meets food’ at the Wedgwood Tea Room https://shenannagans.com/wedgwood-tea-room/ […]

Krista - January 18, 2016 Reply

What a fabulous experience! I do love a good tea, and this looks absolutely amazing. I can never decide between sweet and savory, so I just eat a bit of one and a bit of the other, back and forth, back and forth. 🙂

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    I have never experienced a real high tea like this one before, and hawt dang, was it a delicious way to spend a couple of my afternoons. And yes…. I am a sweet, savoury, sweet, savoury kinda eater too. 🙂

The Hungry Mum - January 18, 2016 Reply

oooh, I want to go to there! I heart high tea and this one looks super fancy. I prefer looking at the sweet treats, but eating savoury 🙂

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    You must, you must Hungry Mum, especially if I get to join you too. 🙂 It was very fancy, and just looking at the sweet treats don’t cut it for this little oinker, they all needed to be in my belly! Haha.

My Inner Chick - January 18, 2016 Reply


stunning, artful, beautiful photos.

I want to go there TODAY!!

Love & Appreciation from MN. xx

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    Thanks Lovely Kimmy! 🙂 I am so chuffed you enjoyed my photos AND I totes think we need to work on that ‘beam me up’ system to get you here. Sharing tea and treats with you is absolutely on my list. Big love to you from a toasty warm Canberra, Australia. xox

Rosemarie of Travel and Beyond - January 18, 2016 Reply

You were right when you said this was the best food experience yet! I am meaning to go back, but I just cannot make up my mind if we should go back for high-tea or lunch!!!!

    Anna - January 19, 2016 Reply

    Ohhhh yeah! So crazy delicious, and when in doubt Rose, order both. LOL! But maybe don’t eat breakfast so you can fit it all in. 🙂

Bam's Kitchen - January 17, 2016 Reply

Anna, you are making me hungry. I know my lunch today is not going to have champagne, cut tea sandwiches and decadent desserts. I just tweeted my friend. It will be fun to see all of the responses. Have a super weekend.

    Anna - January 17, 2016 Reply

    I tend to agree Bobbi, the high tea experience was magical, and both times too. Ha! You could always crack a bottle of bubbles, cut the crust off your sambo and call it a fancy pancy Sunday feast. 🙂 Hmmm… I wonder if there is any champers left after new year?! 🙂 Saw your tweet, thanks for doing it, I love hearing what people had in their lunch boxes as kids. Hope your weekend rocks too. Mwah!

Sarah - January 17, 2016 Reply

OMG this is super charming! I wish I could be there… All my favorite things are included in this post- art, food, and tea!

    Anna - January 17, 2016 Reply

    It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of my afternoons, I do hope you get to the Berra to experience it, especially if it is all your loves in one place. 🙂

Agness - January 16, 2016 Reply

What a brilliant way to prepare the food. I would take 1 million of pictures before having one small bite :-).

    Anna - January 17, 2016 Reply

    Queen Suebah and I think High Tea may be making a come back, but I agree, the food is prepared perfectly and just the right amount of each too. 🙂

Tim UrbanDuniya - January 16, 2016 Reply

Well this looks delightful!! I must go there next time I’m in Canberra 🙂

And as for school lunches – it was all about meat sandwiches for me too – often shaved chicken!!

    Anna - January 16, 2016 Reply

    Yeah, you totes should! When you in town next?
    What about the smell from your lunchbox with those meat sambos… intense, but I have memories of deliciousness. And shaved chicken… fancy! Lamb for us. 🙂

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - January 16, 2016 Reply

YES! That chicken sandwich looks SO good. I can see how soft the bread is too! 😀 I’m a freak for afternoon tea!!

    Anna - January 16, 2016 Reply

    Soooooooo good! If I go back, I will be asking for 2 tiers of chicken sandwiches. Yarm! 🙂 And… I agree, I much prefer arvo tea to morning tea.

Hotly Spiced - January 15, 2016 Reply

The food all looks so elegant and pretty. I do love chicken sandwiches – they are just the best finger food. I want to make a daisy cake! You have done very well on your restrictive diet and I think you thoroughly deserve a cheat’s day xx

    Anna - January 16, 2016 Reply

    It really was Charlie, it was right up there with one of the best foodie experiences of 2015. Those chicken sandwiches, if I go back, I will ask for 2 tiers of chicken sandwiches. Lol! Fabulous, daisy cake was beautiful, although pretty food always tastes great. The cheat day was worth the grief my body gave me. Ha!

Queen Suebah - January 15, 2016 Reply

Truly enjoyed this really special occasion & I’m so glad I got to go with you. I’ve always been a huge fan of beautiful crockery so it was extra special to see the table decked out so nicely. I’m sure my grandmother & mother would have been proud of us enjoying afternoon tea done so beautifully.

    Anna - January 16, 2016 Reply

    It was really lovely and special and I am so pleased I got to share it with you too. 🙂 Teehee, I am sure that both your grandmother and mother would have been proud of us ‘playing ladies’ so beautifully too. Although I do think it odd you scope the cream and jam from plate to plate, then onto the scone, double handling. 🙂 Is it bad I want to go again? Haha.

Gourmet Getaways - January 15, 2016 Reply

What a delicious collection of sweet and savoury bites served on the most gorgeous of china! I love all the Wedgwood designs shown, especially the scone plate! How pretty and abstract.
Thanks so much for sharing
Gourmet Getaways

    Anna - January 16, 2016 Reply

    It was a really special and tasty experience (both times), Im sure the beautiful china made everything taste better too. 🙂 I agree, the scone plate was my fave too, followed closely by the teapot. Soooooooooo pretty! 🙂

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - January 15, 2016 Reply

The food looks amazing and this is an outing I would love to experience 🙂

    Anna - January 16, 2016 Reply

    Yes, it was really special Tandy… Both times. Lol! 🙂

Elizabeth - January 15, 2016 Reply

Oh this is so on my list when I come to visit you! 🙂
Liz xx

    Anna - January 15, 2016 Reply

    When are you coming to visit? (She asked jumping up and down with excitement?) When? When? When? If you want to do the gallery and high tea, it’ll have to be before the end of March. Yay! 🙂

Pink - January 15, 2016 Reply

LOVE your post as always! Great pictures and amazing writing. So glad you enjoyed it bestie, so great to hear. I shall pass on the good words to all the chefs, they would be delighted to hear 🙂

    Anna - January 15, 2016 Reply

    Thanks beautiful! I so appreciate that you read my posts. Mwah! xox
    And goodie, thank you for passing along to the chefs just how much I enjoyed the experience, those chicken sandwiches are the freakin business. 🙂 YARM!

Jessica - January 15, 2016 Reply

This is amazing, we had a lovely high tea there while reviewing the wedding plans and the beautiful crockery is enough to make me want to go out and spend all my money on decking my kitchen out in it! The food was nice (admittedly I have had better), the view (if you’re lucky enough to get a window seat like me) is beautiful. I wish it was here forever, the ‘members lounge’ should look like this always!

    Anna - January 15, 2016 Reply

    The Wedgwood crockery had me thinking the very same thing, I even made it to the shops…. that stuff is hella expensive. Ha!
    I loved the entire experience, obviously tho I guess, I did go twice in a month. Maybe it was extra special as my diet hasn’t featured practically everything I ate. Either way, one of the best food experiences I was treated too in 2015. The view was lovely, and those chairs… so comfy. Totes agree about the members lounge always being that lovely, what a way to treat visitors to a fabulous Canberra experience.
    PS: Not long now until your wedding time. Yay! 🙂

hassan - January 15, 2016 Reply

Нi. Great and great.

    Anna - January 15, 2016 Reply

    HASSAN!!! Happy Hello’s my friend! Long time no speak. 🙂
    Thanks for your lovely comment, glad you enjoyed.

Mandy - January 15, 2016 Reply

Right, that’s it! I think its time I started saving to come and visit you – what an awesome Tea Room! I want to go there now!
Have a beautiful weekend ahead darlin.
🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

    Anna - January 15, 2016 Reply

    YES PLEASE!!!! Wowza…. that would be totally fabulous if you came for a visit. Fingers crossed 2016 is the year I get to meet and hang out with you. 🙂
    The tea room is beautiful, I love that high tea is coming back into fashion, I had a ball both times, I might just go again before it closes in March.
    Wishing you an ace weekend. Mwah! xox

Tales of a Confectionist - January 14, 2016 Reply

Whoa, coinkidink! I just scheduled my post to come out tomorrow morning. Yay for chicken sandwich!

    Anna - January 14, 2016 Reply

    Oh goodie! I cannot wait to read your thoughts on the High Tea experience. I think it was one of the best foodie events I went to in 2015, and yes…. those chicken sandwiches had me book in again. Sooooooooo GOOD!

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