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Sunny Sundays are meant for enjoying tea and scones I think and the latest afternoon tea offering in Melbourne is by Bursaria Fine Foods at Abbotsford Convent.

‘A Touch Of…’ is billed as a vintage-inspired afternoon tea and I was invited to sample their first event.

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On arrival guests were presented with a flute of sparkling or their special lemonade mixture made with rosewater, vanilla-infused sugar syrup and lemons. People trickled into the sunny courtyard from the 2pm start time and mingled and chatted in the sun but we weren’t allowed into Rosina Function Space space to sit down until around 3pm – by which time I was impatient and starving. I’m not sure whether this timing was intentional or not but if an event with food is slated to be 2-4pm I’d expect to be seated by 2:30pm at the latest. Luckily it was sunny as if it had been raining and cold there really wouldn’t have been enough room for everyone to take shelter under the eaves.

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Once we were able to go inside it was beautiful. The tables were more pitchers of the addictive sweet lemonade with pretty dessert platters already set up. As the savoury food had to come out in waves due to the number of tables my growling hunger demanded that I attack the sweet things first. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t reverse the order and have the savoury food on the tables and then carry out the desserts – perhaps because the canapes needed to be kept heated?

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Anyway, we’ll talk about the food in the traditional savoury-sweet order. On the wooden board were five different nibbles, with a separate plate of herb and citrus prawn skewers fried with vermicelli noodles. The prawns were juicy and the crunchiness of the outer coating was perfectly countered by the creamy lemon aioli. I would have happily had more of these and I think they were best savoury dish of them all.

HOT: A Touch Of...Bursaria Fine Foods, Rosina Function Space, Abbotsford Convent, 1 Helier St, Abbotsford

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Of the other canapes I also enjoyed the honey-cured salmon on tiny blinis and the shot of heavily scented cream of mushroom soup with truffle oil, though the other selections were equally moreish. I am very particular about the bread of crustless sandwiches so it was good to see that even though the poached chicken sandwiches had been mass produced they were obviously fresh as the white bread was still soft.

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The desserts were mostly excellent and looked spectacular en masse. I particularly enjoyed the luxurious organic chocolate pots with a shard of salted caramel toffee  and second place winner being the fluffy miniature scones and jam. My only disappointment was with the custard of the creme brulee (lightly scented with lavender) and the pannacotta (vanilla and rose) as after numerous tastings I still couldn’t discern the difference in flavour between them.

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The tea and coffee is served in poured from large jugs by the waiters so there be warned tea/coffee snobs there is no tea selection or individual teapots as you’d expect from other high teas.

As I’ve said before Rosina Function Space is a stunning venue and is the kind of space I’d have my wedding. And like a wedding everyone is seated in tables of ten so unless you fill up a table you will be seated with strangers. This can be slightly awkward if you don’t feel like making conversation with people you don’t know as you have to pretend that they’re invisible! On the positive side if you’re sitting with people with small appetites you get to have seconds (ask for a takeaway container and you can take home the  leftovers!).

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Also towards the end more roving food was brought out from the kitchen and served by a spectacularly dressed performer from Bravo Darling, so you definitely won’t go home hungry.

Overall it was a successful launch but given it was their first go there were some uneven moments which I hope will be ironed out by their next showing.

‘A Touch Of…’ will be held on the third Sunday of every month until September (19 May,  16 June,  21 July,  18 August,  15 September). They are also holding a morning tea and afternoon tea on Mothers Day Sunday 12 May in conjunction with A Vintage Affair – a great gift for mum I think.

Bookings for all events are $55 a head and can be booked through bookings@bursaria.com.au or 9417 7771.

‘A Touch Of…’ Bursaria Fine Foods, Rosina Function Space, Abbotsford Convent, 1 Helier St, Abbotsford