High Tea at Sir Stamford Circular Quay Sydney

Photographer: Joshua Pike
High Tea at Sir Stamford Circular Quay Sydney
High Tea at Sir Stamford Circular Quay Sydney

Served in the Highlander Whiskey bar, at Sir Stamford Circular Quay Sydney, this traditional high tea is a step back in time. An escape from the hustle and bustle of the CBD which is at its doorstep.

Even if you’ve never been to the Sir Stamford before you’ll know exactly where it is. On Macquarie St down towards the Opera House, it’s “the one with the iconic red awning” out the front. Simply step into the foyer and the friendly concierge will direct you from there.

The Highlander Whiskey bar houses a glittering selection of sparkling bottles behind the wood panelled bar. The rest of the room is an array of tables set with white tablecloths, antique chairs with throw cushions for cosiness, several old-world artworks and a baby grand piano. The whole vibe is that of a British manor’s state room, very Downton Abbey-esque which fits perfectly with the more traditional high tea being served.

We were seated beside a window overlooking the comings and goings of the world outside. It was a chilly June morning, so it was great to settle in, relax and enjoy what was coming.

The warm Stamford signature curry puff was unlike any (of the many) curry puffs we’ve had before. I think the best way to describe it is “fusion”. Notes of an English chicken curry with hints of Asian flavours throughout made it a unique element which is what you want when something is labelled as a “signature”.

The bright green spinach pinwheel was a joy to eat. The smokiness of the salmon worked nicely with the creaminess of the onion dip. The other sandwich element, the sundried egg and lettuce, was also delicious. The sundried tomatoes had been finely chopped and they didn’t overpower the flavour of the egg, it was still very much an egg sandwich.

Unfortunately, the pate was a bit of a miss for us. It was grainy and the jelly on top was overly firm with too much gelatine, there was no way it was going to melt in the mouth like it should. Served as a thick slab on a too small piece of brioche toast this element could do with a rethink. So could the tomato tartlet. We found it a little strange that it’s served as one long tart you need to cut in half instead of two smaller servings like everything else. The menu also lists it as concassed tomato but in reality, it was three cherry tomatoes plonked in a tart shell. This also made it a tricky to divide between two, a concasse would have been better for sharing, it also would have absorbed the vincotto drizzle more easily.

That small disappointment out of the way though, we moved on to the scones. Perfectly baked with that wonderful spring in the oven that leaves them with a wonderful crust and a natural pull apart line to break them into two even halves. Light and fluffy with a good crumb, these were some great scones.

We really couldn’t agree on our favourite sweet which is a good problem to have. I loved the raspberry lamington which was a fluffy vanilla cake dunked in a raspberry syrup so that it soaked in a little, coated with a dusting of coconut and garnished with a perfect raspberry. The right amount of sweet and tang, it was wonderful. My guest couldn’t go past the green tea tiramisu. To be fair, it was outstanding too. Thin layers of green tea sponge sandwiched together with a light cream. It had the texture of a tiramisu but on a much lighter scale.

The rest of the sweets were enjoyable as well. The blackcurrant jam layer in the centre of the cheesecake was so tart when eaten alone (we like to try individual elements) but perfectly balanced with the creaminess of the cheesecake when eaten as a whole. The hazelnut praline was subdued in its hazelnut flavour with a delicate consistency, whereas the Mont Blanc was in your face rich and chocolatey with a nutty, salty, caramel centre.

Overall, it was a lovely way to spend the morning. The venue is wonderful, we’ll definitely return for any whiskey events they host in the future. The high tea is a good example of what a traditional high tea should be, it’s just a shame that a few of the elements could do with some rethinking.


High Tea Menu:

Assorted macarons
Assorted macarons


  • Signature Stamford curry puff
  • Edamame mousse on kale and onion fritters
  • Smoked salmon spinach pinwheel, onion dip, caramelised onion, caviar
  • Sundried tomato, egg and lettuce sandwich
  • Grand Marnier chicken pate, smoked paprika mayo, pickled cabbage on brioche
  • Bocconcini mozzarella tartlet, tomato concassed, basil, vincotto


  • Scones with jam and cream
  • Raspberry lamington
  • Mont Blanc
  • Assorted macarons
  • Hazelnut praline
  • Blackcurrant cheesecake
  • Green tea tiramisu

Tea selection:

  • Rose with French vanilla
  • Original earl grey
  • Brilliant breakfast
  • Pure peppermint leaves
  • Green tea with jasmine flowers
  • Pure camomile flowers
  • Ceylon young hyson green tea

High Tea Sydney – find more experiences
in our High Tea Venue Directory

Sir Stamford at Circular Quay Sydney:

93 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000


Saturday and Sunday 11am – 2.30pm
Bookings are essential


Elegance High Tea
$85 per person
$89 per person with a glass of sparkling wine

Prices are correct at the time of publishing, but subject to change. Please contact the venue for further details.

Melanie Pike

Melanie Pike is one of our Sydney contributors. In her life outside of champagne, tiered cake stands and fine bone china, she’s the Editor of the Fernwood Magazine. After a long week of writing about sugar-free diets and the latest gym sessions to get her readers in shape, she sneaks away to sample the delights of some of the best high tea venues in Sydney. She’s covered from Katoomba to Kiama and almost everywhere in between.

Articles by Melanie