The Parliament of NSW restaurant is perched above the Domain Gardens and provides a lush dining experience to enjoy High Tea.
Strangers Restaurant, unbeknownst to those who have not yet ventured into Parliament House is located on the outskirts of the Sydney CBD. The restaurant is perched above the Domain Gardens and provides a lush dining experience amongst the historical nature of dining in Parliament House. At the helm of the restaurant is Executive Chef Vanessa Harcourt and her passionate High Tea Chef Michael who run High Tea in the restaurant, exclusively on Fridays only between 12pm – 3pm.
To kick off the experience, we were served a glass of the Hunter Valleys, Peterson House 2017 Brut Rosè, Chef Vanessa and Chef Michael proudly support local businesses and farmers to showcase the wonderful regions of New South Wales. As we waiting for our tiered delights to arrive, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the fine china we were to dine upon. Every fine dish and cup was lined with gold and stamped with the New South Wales Parliament coat of arms.
As the three tiers of delights hit our table, Michael was not far behind and carried with him the magic of dry ice. As the smoke swept through the towers, Michael passionately talked us through each layer that he and his team have worked on. As each season passes, Michael notes that the menu will change accordingly and will highlight much of the teams culinary tastes.
Starting on a classic note with a smoked salmon and cream cheese finger sandwich was our foray into the savoury tier. The ham, leek and gruyere vol au vent was delectable with its fine layers of puff pastry, perfectly paired with my mild Chamomile tea. The charcoal tartlet was surprisingly buttery and was topped with whipped feta and sweet golden beetroot.
We ventured away from the classics and found some creative flair in the following morsels, a hearty chicken meatball that was covered in a rich tomato chutney sauce that I would happily eat a whole dish of. The mushroom san choy was particularly unexpected as I did not think a traditional Chinese appetiser would make an appearance on a High Tea menu. However it provided a nice break from tradition. And a break from tradition is what followed with the beautifully spiced Indian Aloo Bonda – a crispy Indian style spiced potato with a cumin yoghurt dip to go with it, surely a hit amongst any vegetarian attendees.
Onto the sweets, so many decadent bites had been waiting for us to give them a taste. I knew I had to dig into the ice cream pops first, one was a berry delight of raspberry and strawberries dipped in milk chocolate and the other a mango sorbet dipped in white chocolate. Next was mini panna cotta tart, adorned with fresh raspberries and bright elderflowers and a bite sized lemon meringue tart that just melted away, beautifully in the mouth. A little pot of luxury was before me and held a fun-sized version of a banoffee pie. Layers of caramel popcorn, fresh banana, rich, smooth caramel, whipped cream and melted chocolate coated each spoonful I ate. I was glad we made a lunch time booking as this was more than enough food to tide me over until dinner!
Armed with a fresh coffee (beans straight from the Hogarth Range here in NSW), I spied the fluffy, rustic scones that came with two generous jars of thick, clotted cream and housemate strawberry jam. The scones as Michael spoke about them, you could really tell were his prized mare, years of perfectly his technique, Michael said the team worked to baked the scones at the very last minute so that they would be at their freshest. And boy, was he right! The strawberry jam was by far one of the best that I have ever had, wonderfully balanced to bring out the tartness and not overly sweet in the slightest. And the scones were an exquisite way to end our time at the Strangers Restaurant, in fact I was so enamoured by the scones that I cheekily asked Michael if he had any to spare for me to take home…and he generously packed a pair for me to take home. Jam and all!
After dining at the restaurant, I would highly encourage you to take the time to breathe in the space that you stand in and take in a free tour of this historical building. I couldn’t recommend this experience at the Strangers Restaurant enough, the personalised touch from the team and the hearty food is enough to make you already dream of coming back for more.
High Tea at Parliament of NSW sample menu:
- Vanilla Scones with homemade Jam & cream
- Mini mince tarts
- Ice-cream pops dipped in white chocolate (GF)
- Chocolate truffle bon bon (GF)
- Mini lemon meringue pie
- Coronation chicken sandwich
- Ham & gruyere vol au vent
- Smoke salmon blini
- Gazpacho & prawn (GF)
- Baby cos wrapped in prosciutto, parmesan (GF)
- Cheese, truffle mushroom stick (V)
- T2 Australia and Madura Teas, Clothiers Creek, NSW
- Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Green Tea, Chamomile, Te Chai
- Peppermint, Lemongrass & Ginger, Blue Mountain Fruitalicious
- Sweet Green, Green Rose, Sencha Green, Gorgeous Geisha
- Single Origin Rush Coffee, Bowral, NSW
- Cappuccino, Mocha, Flat White, Café Latte, Macchiato,
- Short Black, Long Black, Chai Latte