1 May 2015
Australians may take their coffee drinking seriously however, high tea is back in vogue – and in a big way. While high tea conjures images of Royal Doulton bone china tea sets with tiered stand displays of cucumber finger sandwiches, scones with whipped cream, pastel coloured macarons and dainty pastries with gold leaf, Sydney chefs and restaurateurs have given high tea a new interpretation. From vodka-inspired high teas to classic affairs, here’s our pick of Sydney’s best.
While crustless finger sandwiches and mille-feuille are your usual high tea suspects, the Sofitel Wentworth has garnered a reputation for The Legendary Wentworth Cheesecake. This aptly-titled cheesecake was one of the original recipes served when the Wentworth opened as Sydney’s first five-star hotel in 1966. Enjoy Ronnefeldt tea, together with a selection of savoury and sweet treats, all in the surrounds of the heritage and history of The Wentworth.
Wentworth Afternoon Tea $49 per person, or $59 per person, includes a glass of champagne.
Not a tea lover? Swap your humble brew for a smooth Single Origin coffee and a vodka cocktail at Food Society, with a menu of handmade canapés that cater for both the sweet and savoury tooth, Food Society offers a refreshing twist on the British classic.
Vodka High Tea Canape Degustation $45 per person, or $65, includes a class of Veuve Clicquot.
The Victoria Room
Channelling a traditional British high tea, dress up in your Sunday best and enjoy all the pomp at The Victoria Room. With its Victorian-inspired furnishings and dainty Adriano Zumbo macarons, sip and nibble your way through a selection of treats. If you’re out with the girls, treat yourself with the Diamond Tea experience, which includes a glass of Mumm.
Classic High Tea $45 per person, or Diamond Tea $65 per person, includes a glass of Mumm Champagne.
From military barracks to tea rooms, the Gunners Barracks is one of Sydney’s most enviable high tea destinations. With panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline, this is where you’ll impress interstate and overseas guests. The menu caters to the health conscious modern world with a gluten-free afternoon tea option which is more indulgent than it sounds, maintaining rich flavours while using healthier substitutes such as buckwheat, quinoa, chickpea and almond meal flours.
Traditional Afternoon Tea $45 per person, or Cocktail Afternoon Tea $60 per person, includes a choice of one cocktail.
Vaucluse House Tearooms
Escape the city’s hustle and bustle and head to the leafy eastern suburb of Vaucluse. Set on 10 hectares of picturesque gardens stretching down to Sydney Harbour, the 1930s art-deco-style café offers a relaxed high tea experience. With the iconic heritage listed Vaucluse House next door, guests can enjoy an afternoon of sweet and savoury delicacies and a wander around the property at the end.
Colonial High Tea $49 per person, includes a glass of sparkling wine.
Cortile Lounge at The InterContinental Sydney
Indulge in the art of coffee, surrounded by the historic sandstone arcades of the 1851 Treasury Building. Giving new meaning to the afternoon tea experience, InterContinental Sydney has created an espresso-inspired menu which includes a martini on arrival and an array of cold drip, espresso, café au lait, and affogato options.
Afternoon High Coffee $60 per person.
Let your eyes and tastebuds be distracted at Westfield Sydney with Laduree’s triple tiered silver stand high tea. Macarons are ubiquitous across high tea menus, but Laduree’s are undoubtedly the best in town (and, perhaps, the globe). Coupled with various other French delicacies such as madeleines and rose syrup gateaux , the Brits may lay claim to high tea but Laduree’s French twist, certainly gives it a run for its money.
L’heure du thé $39 per person
Swissotel offers one of Sydney’s only buffet high tea experiences; from baked quinoa scones with clotted cream and apricot jam, to watermelon panna cotta with salted caramel and dark chocolate profiteroles. Did we mention there’s a chocolate fountain too? The tea menu comes courtesy of industry leader T2 with an array of herbal infusions.
Saturday and Sunday $69 per person, includes a glass of sparkling.
Boronia Tea Room
Take a seat in the heritage-listed Boronia Tea Room and be charmed by its Victorian architecture that dates back to 1885. Tea, and the meticulous ritual around creating the perfect brew, is top of the agenda here. With no less than 38 exotic teas to chose from, it’s hard to know where to start. The gorgeous geisha is a treat if you love your green varieties, while the rose herbal infusion is a good cake-nibbling accompaniment.
Standard High Tea $47 per person, or Cocktail High Tea $60 per person, includes a cocktail on arrival.
It would be easy for those offering afternoon tea at the Park Hyatt, with uninterrupted views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour, to rest on the glass and steel laurels of their location. Those behind Park Hyatt’s Living Room, to their credit, have not. The staff are impeccably mannered and its classic afternoon tea hits all the right traditional notes. This is perfect for out-of-towners who want to combine a traditional tea with sightseeing.
Afternoon Tea $49 per person, or $65 per person, includes a glass of champagne.