455 George St
Level 2, Queen Victoria Building
Sydney, NSW 2000
(02) 9283 7279
I usually try to steer clear of anything excessively girly or swarming with snooty society matrons, but I think I may have found a reason to set my prejudices aside. High tea may be archaic and elitist and pretentious, but at the end of the day you get a cake stand filled with miniature desserts and sandwiches with the crusts cut off for you. What’s not to like? ;) G and I have been itching to try out high tea for a while now, and thought it would be a great idea to pencil it in for our trip to Sydney. After a bit of research and some blog-trawling, we settled on The Tea Room at the beautiful Queen Victoria Building and booked ourselves a mid-morning session.
From the intricate details in the ceiling to the Royal Albert china doled out during service, The Tea Room is all class and whisks you away to a different time where bustling kitchens and harried waiters are non-existent. Of course, it was all we could do not to let a few high-pitched squeals loose/jump around like lunatics/make passing comments with truly awful British accents, but somehow we managed to keep it together.
Seated at a table by one of the windows, we were greeted with views of the Pyrmont Bridge and a menu with a kickass tea selection. If you’re something of a tea whiz and don’t mind paying a little extra, there’s also a ‘tea for connoisseurs’ range. We settled on a pot of the Wokou Garden (6.0), an organic green tea “carefully handcrafted to accentuate the delicate sweetness of spring.” It had a very mild but pleasant flavour that complemented our afternoon tea well.
Speaking of, The Tea Room offers a number of afternoon tea packages, including sparkling wine (44.0), cocktail (51.0), champagne (57.0) and gluten-free options. Not caring much for intoxicating substances so early in the day, we went with the traditional afternoon tea (39.0). One can expect to pay a little more on weekends.
The scones that arrived shortly at our table were absolutely mammoth! No complaints here, though – they were the bomb diggity. Warm and soft on the inside, with a slightly crunchy exterior – I couldn’t fault them even if I tried. Of course, what’s a scone without strawberry preserve and cream? If I were stuck on a desert island with only one thing to sustain me, these would top the list without a doubt.
Equally delicious were the polenta and truffle oil tartlets; the combination of the smooth, creamy polenta and the richness of the truffle oil was so, so good. I could snack on those bad boys all day. The only drawback was the fact that they were tiny! The finger sandwiches were good, but nothing special compared to the rest of the spread. The shaved ham and roquette number was quite tasty, but the tuna and tomato not so much.
After clearing the second tier, we switched to dessert mode and set our sights on the top tier petit fours; a sticky citrus and almond cupcake, a fruit and custard tart and a mini opera gateau, all of which were unbearably cute. Almost too cute to eat! The opera gateau was superb; it tasted like tiramisu minus the coffee, which I quite liked. The mint chocolate garnish emblazoned with the crest was a nice touch.
We were surprisingly full by this stage, but the bottom tier beckoned. The pistachio macarons were a bit of a letdown; there was no pistachio flavour whatsoever and they were super sweet. The lemon meringue boats and passionfruit melting moments, however, more than made up for the macaron faux pas. Not to mention we’d already had our fair share of macarons the day before, so we weren’t too fussed.
All things considered, our first afternoon tea experience has probably set the bar high for all future afternoon tea experiences. I can’t praise The Tea Room enough; the service was top-notch and the food was sensational.