Thursday, November 13, 2008

High Tea at The Tea Rooms, QVB

I have said before that I don't usually take photos of food whilst I am eating out. High Tea was no exception. The food was delivered, we oohed and aahed, and then we tucked in. And halfway through the finger sandwiches, my sister whipped out the camera and decided to take some shots. Hmph. I sat back on my lounge, giggling, as I handmodelled for her with my teapot...
I'm getting ahead of myself. Earlier this week, I managed to burn a couple of fingers on my right hand pretty badly. Bad enough that the doctor gave me a week off work. I also have been struck with a nasty cough, reminiscent of the bronchitis I used to get often as a child. Whilst on the phone with Mum, filling her in on all my current afflictions, she decided to fly up to Sydney and pamper me for the week! Yay!
Sis and I hadn't seen Mum for a good 4 months or so, so as my cough was starting to ease up yesterday, we decided to take Mum sightseeing. Having not been to Sydney before, we showed her the Bridge, and the Opera House, and then went for a lazy wander through the Botanic Gardens.After working up an appetite, we decided to surprise Mum with High Tea. Sis and I had been wanting to try The Tea Rooms for a while, but had never gotten round to it, and thought this was the perfect excuse to do it on a whim. We were offered the choice of tables or lounges, and lounges were the unanimous choice. We sat, relaxed, I chose tea, the others received their glass of sparkling, and we waited for the food to arrive.

And so it goes... The food arrived, and we all tucked in to the finger sandwiches. There were smoked salmon, egg, and ham sandwiches, all done quite simply with not too much to mask the flavour of the main ingredient. The egg sandwiches were definitely my favourite, but how can you go past an egg sandwich? Halfway through them, Sis decided to take photos, so we had to do a bit of artful rearranging of the top tier of the stand to make it look full!!

The top tier also had tiny tarts of polenta and cheese - the waiter said it was blue cheese but Mum and I though it tasted more of Gruyere.
The bottom tier had small toasts topped with eggplant and chorizo - these were delicious and we all agreed that 6 more of these each would not go astray! Also on this tier were scones, 2 plain and 1 fruit scone. Sis and I allowed Mum the choice, both knowing deep down that we were about to miss out on the fruit one - it probably would have been both our first choice! The scones were just warm, a little too firm on the outside, and served with jam and cream. Mum always whips the cream when she makes us scones, so we were a little disappointed that the cream was runny. Also, they obviously recycle leftover cream from other tables, as ours arrived with little bits of someone else's scone in it! However, when pointed out, it was promptly replaced with a smile.
The middle tier was the most impressive looking. Tiny bite-sized sweets, five different varieties, and thankfully, enough of each that we didn't have to share any! With these, we sat back, relaxed and took our time. And we each had a different favourite. Sis enjoyed the passionfruit-cream filled cookies, Mum liked the orange and almond cake topped with lemon curd the best, and my favourite was the pistachio meringue stack. Also here were a pastry boat with cream and strawberry (the cream lacking in flavour) and a sponge filled with jam and custard topped with chocolate and coconut!

For the record, the tea I chose was called Keemun, and is described as a Chinese black tea with an aroma similar to rose or orchid. It was lovely, quite mild, but unfortunately my blocked nose didn't allow me to smell it properly!

All photos courtesy of my lovely sister.

The Tea Room, QVB
455 George St, Sydney

Traditional Afternoon Tea $32 (add $2 for tea for connoisseurs - I did!)
Sparkling Afternoon Tea $37 (same as above but with a glass of Australian Sparkling wine)


  1. Oh no! The scones didn't impress? When we went the scones were probably the best I've ever had (aside from the scones my late godmather made). Perhaps they weren't freshly baked (I should go back to check for research purposes ;) ). And just awful about recycling the cream and I agree, clotted, thick cream is the way it should be.

  2. The scones were a bit of a disappointment, definitely had been cooked much earlier and reheated. But I think you should go and double check - then let me know!