Maybe it’s our fascination with period pieces or the popularity of the tea in all it’s hot and iced forms, but high tea has returned and it’s here to stay. Sydney-siders are spoiled for choice when it comes to elegant settings hosting this beloved treat – with many venues hosting high tea throughout the city and its outer suburbs.
Whether you’re looking for a more traditional fare or simply craving a fancy catch-up on your Saturday afternoon, here are our picks for the best high tea joints in Sydney:
The Langham, Sydney CBD
This delightful venue hosts the ‘Tiffin afternoon tea,’ and has been a high tea institution since 1865. In grand British tradition, your tea here will arrive on three-tiered stands and include a cup of one of the Langham’s many signature tea blends. If you want to kick it up a notch, there’s also an option to wash your scones and sandwiches down with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne.
The Tea Room, QVB
Set in a heritage setting right in the heart of the CBD, this high tea experience is miles from the busy shopping and business hub of Sydney’s city streets. Whether it’s a formal celebration or ‘just because,’ The Tea Room in the Queen Victoria Building serves one of Sydney’s finest traditional high teas, situated in an incredibly central location.
Park Hyatt, The Rocks
High tea here is served in the incredibly modern and luxurious setting of ‘The Living Room.’ With furniture in natural tones, beautiful timber flooring and the walls fitted with glass windows – this is one to visit if you’re hoping for high tea with harbour views set in spectacular comfort.
High Tea at Sea, Sydney Harbour
Coined ‘High Tea at Sea,’ Captain Cook Cruises offers an afternoon tea aboard their services on Sydney Harbour. You’ll receive a glass of champagne on arrival and be treated to a range of savoury and sweet treats characteristic of high tea, all while sitting back and enjoying views of Sydney Harbour from every angle. If you’re looking for more of a tourist experience then an elegant setting, this one’s for you!
The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
Hosted on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, this is another popular staple of high tea in Sydney. Totally English-inspired and elegant, the setting of this one will make you feel like a guest at a traditional garden party. Serving all high tea favourites, with the fresh ribbon sandwiches an obvious highlight, the standard of food well and truly matches the classy ambiance of this high-class gem.
Sir Stamford, Circular Quay
Sir Stamford’s Sydney High Tea is another great high tea option, where you’ll indulge in an elegant room adorned by exquisite antiques and charming artworks. They also offer a children’s high tea, making this one of the more family friendly options in Sydney.
Ranging from a simple Devonshire tea (scones, brownies and coffee/tea) to the Elegance High tea (everything you’d expect – effectively a high tea version of ‘the works’) this option suits a wide range of occasions, whether it’s a light afternoon tea or a much more extravagant affair.
Indian High Tea at Aki’s, Wolloomooloo
At Aki’s you’ll experience high tea with a cultural twist. Inspired by the ‘tiffin’ concept of India, and a mix of savoury and sweet, this explosion of flavours is not what you’d usually expect from a high tea outing.
With chocolate naan, caramelised custard and petit fours on the sweet plate, and potato dumplings, spiced shrimps, shredded chicken tikka rolls and paneer chutney sandwiches on the savoury side, this is a great way to treat your palate without the huge serving sizes often associated with Indian dining.
Sheraton on the Park, Sydney CBD
Centrally located in the Sydney CBD, this establishment offers among the best views of Hyde Park you’ll find in all of Sydney. The ‘Queen’s High Tea’ features freshly baked scones, shortbreads, mini Victoria sponge cakes, chocolate biscuit cake and jam ring cookies. Here you’ll enjoy indulging on high tea classics in a truly charming setting.
Boronia Tea Room, Mosman
Set in Mosman’s grand mansion, Boronia House, Boronia Tea Room is one of the north shore’s premier events and high tea venues. Built in 1885, this magnificent setting is steeped in history and stunning gardens.
The elegant building is worth the trip out to Mosman alone, but the array of scones, tarts and miniature cakes certainly sweeten the deal.
Shangri-La Hotel, The Rocks
Served in the lobby lounge and terrace of one of Sydney’s most impressive five-star hotels, the Shangri-La Hotel tea includes all the traditional favourites you’d expect – macaroons, scones, cakes and sandwiches, and is available daily from 1pm – 5pm.
If you’ve never had a chance to stay in the Shangri-La, at only $42 per head, or $50 with a glass of sparkling wine, maybe this is your chance to experience one of the most luxurious hotels in the country without breaking the bank?