The Sydney Guide To Five Essential High Teas

Marlo Perry
29th Mar 2015

The Male-Friendly High Tea

There is nothing to say that high tea isn’t gender neutral, but there is certainly something about finger sandwiches and petit fours that screams (or whispers, in a ladylike manner) ‘girls day out’. However with its rustic appeal, found in the accents of aniseed and chunky, chargrilled chicken and an array of vodka-based cocktails, this high tea is definitely one to invite the boys to.

Vodka High Tea at Darlinghurst’s Food Society is a hidden gem, serving excellent food, encouraging a mid-morning tipple and leaving you to enjoy each serve of savouries, sandwiches and sweets with plenty of space between.

The way each course is brought out tier-by-tier rather than all at once gives the palate (and the stomach) a chance to rest and really enjoy what is on offer and sets it aside from other high teas whose tiers are laden with so many delights it’s hard to know where to begin.

Standouts include the bite-sized, mushroom-strong duck vol au vent and sweet tea trifle with pretty pomegranate pearls.

Vodka high tea is $60 per person (cheaper alternatives are available for non-alcoholic beverages) and includes a degustation of handmade savoury and sweet canapés, tea and a signature, chilled tea cocktail. It runs every Saturday from 11:30am. Bookings are essential.

High Tea for the Historian

When Fresh Catering took over the Museum of Sydney’s dining space and created The Governors Table they wanted to ensure its offerings were historically sound to match the produce available in the local area at the time of colonialism. Managing Director, Peter McCloskey, says of the menu, “when you pare back the layers of the dining experience you’ll find a distinct connection to the culinary history of the site translated through a modern interpretation” and you can really imagine the meals that were shared over the Governors Table once upon a time.

During Colonial High Tea you will devour an array of beautifully created canapés with tea or coffee and a glass of sparkling, as you sit surrounded by some of the original footings of Government House, just metres from where the Government House Garden grew.

Highlights include brioche doughnuts with lemon and lavender sugar (lemons and oranges were among the first and only fruits to thrive in colonial Sydney in the late 1700s), as well as the strawberry éclair with vanilla crème. This high tea is best accompanied by a stroll through the Museum on a quiet Saturday afternoon.

Colonial High Tea at The Governors Table is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – strictly by reservation only. It is priced at $49/per person (minimum of 2 guests) and includes a glass of sparkling.

Tea for the Picky

We all have those days when we favour sweet over savoury or simply want to fill up on sandwiches and skip dessert, and at Hotel Centennial you’re given the choice to do just that.

The sandwich selections range from the traditional (cucumber & crème fraiche finger sandwich) to the all-out decadent (mini lobster brioche), while the sweets are all the ideal bite size to prevent that ‘I overdid it’ feeling. Each guest receives 6 bites but once you get hooked and decide you want more there is always the opportunity to purchase additional bites at $5 per piece.

Your tea will be served in the beautiful Miranda Kerr for Royal Albert collection and being situated in a bar there is also a huge selection of cocktails or champagnes available if you wish to spice up your sitting. The homely surroundings and ultra plush couches make you feel as if you are taking tea in your own, rather lux estate and this creates the best atmosphere for that overdue catch up you’ve been meaning to schedule in.

High Tea in the Scarlett Lounge starts from $30 and is available daily. Bookings are essential and a minimum of four guests is required.

High Tea that’s Gluten Free

…and organic, raw and vegan, which means it is free of sugar and cream and all those things that might stop you from dining with your bestie who has an intolerance (or dislike) for the non-natural.

Sadhana Kitchen at Enmore, along with their regular healthy salads, meals and desserts, serves high tea each day at 9, 10 or 11am. Their execution turns the usual high tea treat into something you can consume without guilt and with gay abandon. The portions are plenty, the savouries are clever (coconut bacon pizzette anyone?) and the hot chocolate is to die for (if you fancy that over tea). The mini choc-raspberry tart is a winner – you won’t even realise it’s good for you, but the choc mint slice comes in at a very, very close second. One of the best things about this high tea is that you will go home satisfied that you’ve had your veggie intake for the day and had your eyes opened to all the amazing things you can do without regular baking ingredients.

Sadhana Kitchen’s organic raw vegan high tea is $55/per person with a minimum of two people per booking.

Traditionalist’s High Tea

This list wouldn’t be complete without a put-on-your-best-dress-and-prettiest-headpiece-because-we’re-going-to-Sydney’s-most-beautiful-hotel-for-high-tea, high tea.

The Langham, Sydney offers Afternoon Tea with Wedgewood daily and they have it down pat. The recently-completed $30m renovations are truly magnificent and you will be swept away to another world as you sample treats such as a cone of sweet corn and corn puree, roast beef sliders, coconut and lychee panna cotta, black sesame macarons and of course, fluffy vanilla scones. This is a true ritual; best shared with your favourite gal pals and a glass of Laurent Perrier rosè.

Afternoon Tea with Wedgewood at The Langham, Sydney starts from $55 on weekdays and $65 on weekends and bookings are recommended.