High Tea at The Palace Tea Room Sydney is located in the majestic Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in the heart of the city.
The QVB was opened to much acclaim in 1898, as Queen Victoria sat on England’s throne. As one of history’s most famous tea lovers, it seems quite understandable that The Palace Tea Rooms have dedicated their entire restaurant around the elegance and charm of Victorian tea drinking.
Queen Victoria was once quoted as asking her maid for ‘A cup of tea and the times’ of a Sunday morning, however, as we had been invited to enjoy the full high tea menu we put our plans to read the papers on hold and readied our eyes, and our appetites for their champagne afternoon tea.
Our senses were treated right from the very moment we entered the grand building, light refracted from the stained glass windows bounced off the shiny tiled floors and gilt finishings on the wide staircase, that we ascended to reach the entrance of the tea room.
Our hostess was all smiles and giggles, showing us to our plush window seating with bubbly aplomb, and inviting us to choose from a selection of 29 specially sourced teas, all of which were available to purchase in pretty gift boxes to take home. We chose the ‘Paris Vanilla’, a burnt caramelly rooibos blend, and a ‘Liquorice Ginger’ detox tea, which we thought would make a divine palette cleanser between courses.
The plates, pots and cups were all painted with a miniature floral pattern, reminiscent of the famous Victorian ‘liberty’ print, which we thought was a lovely touch, but not so lovely as the dainty foodie delights that were sitting on them! Irresistible finger sandwiches were to start, traditional egg, tuna, and chicken varieties, the portions of which that really threatened to fill us up, and a little parmesan pastry swirl was an unusual invitee to the tea party, one whom we were thoroughly glad had come along for the fun. Some absolutely enormous fruity scones were to follow, and they were just the sort that we like, having a great, chewy bite and break on the outside, but being sumptuously soft on the inside, great vessels for the just as generous servings of strawberry jam and cool, cool cream.
After a sip or two of our palette-cleaner tea, we nibbled our way around the array of irresistible cakes on top of our tiers, an apple and whipped cream cupcake was one of our favourites, and a mini lemon meringue being the other’s petit gateaux preferee. We were confident that even the hard to please Queen Victoria herself would have been more than just amused!
One of the biggest luxuries a queen enjoys is time spent alone and out of the limelight, and indeed, one of the most noticeable luxuries about The Palace Tea Rooms is just that too. Although if they choose, diners can sit outside on plush carpets and watch the world go by, but we really noticed just how divine it was to, even in the center of the big city, feel so far away from the hustle and bustle of the world inside the cafe.
An afternoon tea service fit for Kings, Queens, and everyone in betweens!
The Palace Tea Room High Tea Menu:
- Traditional afternoon tea
(house made petit fours, finger sandwiches, scone, tea or coffee) $40
- Sparkling afternoon tea
(above selection with a glass of Australian sparkling wine) $45
- Champagne afternoon tea
(above selection with a piccolo of French champagne) $55
* gluten free option available