A few weeks ago we received a Facebook message from Kent’s nieces Olivia and Mariah. They were letting us know that they were coming to Sydney from Brisbane for a weekend away and a conference.
I decided I wanted to treat these two young ladies to something memorable in Sydney, something for all of us to cherish from our time together. As most of Kent’s family live in Brisbane, these gatherings don’t happen very often, so I thought ‘lets do this’ – but do what?
Ideally, I wanted to go somewhere nice, not a restaurant, not a pub or café; still, a place with food and something to drink. Somewhere close to our nieces’ hotel in Sydney central business district; not too loud so we could enjoy our conversations, and of course, somewhere that represents Sydney, especially as it would be Mariah’s very first visit!
Would there be such venue in the heart of Sydney? You bet! An afternoon high tea at The Tea Room in that historic and beautiful Queen Victoria Building ticked all my boxes!
Our Choice – Sparkling Afternoon Tea
So here we are, the girls have found their way up to the ballroom and been shown to our table by the Maître D’. It’s the first time here for all of us, though Kent keeps wondering aloud how it is he has never been invited to the venue before, especially during his heyday at Street Fashion Sydney… After a little chit chat we settled in to study the high tea menu, and all decided to go for the Sparkling Afternoon Tea. The deal is, you would get a glass of the Australian sparkling wine as an addition to a classic high tea.
Start with a glass of sparkling wine! Well that was an easy decision. Now to select our tea… Choosing a perfect tea to suit our mood de jour from the menu’s 29 choices could be a sweet challenge; especially as some teas have such exotic names: ‘Green Dragon’, ‘Heaven and Earth’… Well hello, they sounded rather seductive and inviting.
Our Angove Chalk Hill Blue Bubbles wine arrived at the same time as sandwiches and treats filled 3-tier stand. Who doesn’t love the famous Royal Albert fine bone china Old Country Roses pattern? There are no crazy tea sets here, our tea cups and saucers matched the cake stand that carried colourful petit fours, pastries and fresh finger sandwiches. Each guest was also given a plate of three savoury pastries: a quiche, a Parmesan salmon bite and a mini vegetarian samosa (Olivia’s favourite).
We joined in a toast with our bubbles and soon came our tea…
Here’s our tea de jour choices:
Olivia – Nilgiri Mountains
Mariah – Wild Cherry
Kent – Assam Bari
Vivienne – Classic English Tea
So, how was our tea?
‘The loose leaf tea was very beautiful and the Angove sparkling wine was just a perfect addition!’ Was Olivia’s lovely comment.
Perhaps I was too busy art directing the photos, my tea was only slightly warm by the time I was ready for it. Kent and I both thought our tea was on the weak side; with loose-leaf-tea Kent wondering later if perhaps he had not received Assam, an old favourite of his at all? We all seemed very happy with our ‘Bubbles’ sparkling wine which was a new style for all of us.
The classic finger sandwiches were fresh and tasty. Olivia particularly enjoyed the cucumber, lettuce and cheese sandwich; my favourite was no doubt the sour cream and smoked salmon sandwich, Kent’s the ham and cheese, all of which were of high quality. The scone, however, was my least favourite dish of the day – I found the size strangely large beside those petit fours, too dry and cold, something even the clotted cream and house-made jam could not remedy. Typically Kent said his was fine. Jumbo scone aside, these nibbles may seem finger food size, but let me assure you by the time we had worked our way through the various treats, our afternoon tea seemed much more like a filling three course meal.
The elegant surroundings and olde worlde charm in Sydney’s most well known and loved historical building was definitely the highlight of this experience!
The high ceiling, arched windows and lavish crystal chandeliers – wouldn’t they be something we have in our mind’s eye when imagining a high tea in English high society?!!
‘Unforgettable!’ ‘Luxurious!’ and ‘Beautiful!’, this was the generous feedback from Olivia and Mariah regarding our high tea gathering. As a host, hearing this had given me ‘lots of faces’ as we Chinese would say.
It was also great for Kent and myself to step out of our daily routine and enjoy a fresh Sydney experience from a visitor’s point of view. After all, this is the city we choose to live and so I think to rediscover it, to try something new every now and then is a necessity. I would certainly go for the high tea again at The Tea Room, and I’ll be less shy next time to let them know if I prefer a stronger, hotter pot of tea and warmer scone.
Want To Try The High Tea Yourself At The Tea Room?
The Tea Room is located on Level 3, North End, Queen Victoria Building – 455 George Street, Sydney.
We hope you enjoy our high tea review and experience; please leave a comment below if you’d like to join Kent and I for our next high tea discovery!