The Estate Vaucluse House offers an elaborate high tea. The surroundings fit perfectly, being situated within beautiful Victorian style gardens in one of Sydney’s grandest mansions, and a stone’s throw away from picturesque harbourside beaches.
The Estate has two areas to dine, an interior, designed by Luchetti Krelle and an outside courtyard, where you are surrounded by the lush tropical garden. On the day of our visit, the Estate was busy with functions and get-togethers, with a buzzy ambience and lots of laughter.
To begin the High Tea, we were served a glass of Pommery Brut Royal NV Champagne, before being presented with petit sized savouries, sweet treats, and finger sandwiches on a three-tiered china stand, while the scones were served on a separate plate.
The Head Chef, Matthew Leighton, met with us to describe the High Tea and his approach to it. With extensive experience in leading fine dining and bistro kitchens in Australia and overseas, Matthew is passionate about freshness and quality, with a menu that changes according to the seasons. Some produce is even sourced on site from the Estate’s own vegetable garden.
The savouries were bursting with a combination of flavours. We were served a selection of puff pastries, tarte tatins and bilini’s. The puff pastry selection had fillings that included wild mushrooms paired with parmesan and topped with macadamia cream, and spinach and ricotta. The tomato tarte tatin was filled with cherry tomatoes, onion jam, and red balsamic, and the beef and aleppo pepper pithivier was delicious. Other savouries included a smoked salmon and avruga caviar blini topped with crème fraiche. The vegetarian offering was equally pleasing, a blini, topped with avocado and crème fraiche.
Finely cut finger sandwiches, two each, were filled with chicken, celery and avocado, or egg, mayonnaise and chives. The vegetarian sandwiches were an egg filling and hummus.
The petit sized desserts were all delicious. They included a crisp wafer filled with mascarpone and strawberries, a rich Valrhona chocolate truffle, passionfruit macaron, a caramelised apple and toffee eclair and a lemon cheesecake with raspberries and meringue.
The buttermilk scones were a highlight – baked just right, plump on the outside, with a fluffy, soft textured centre, served with thick clotted cream and homemade berry jam that changes seasonally.
The range of premium Ovolo teas from Paddington were extensive, including a choice of herbal teas such as Lemongrass and Ginger, Japanese Sencha, Chai and black teas. I chose the English Breakfast tea from Sri Lanka, with a strong aroma, while Michelle tried Peppermint.
When visiting, allow extra time to stroll around the gardens to see the vegetable garden, from where the Estate Vaucluse House sources many of its herbs and vegetables. Visit Vaucluse House, which allows you to step back in time to view one of Sydney’s most historic mansions, surrounded by a beautiful garden, water fountain and sandstone verandah with cascading wisteria. Vaucluse House is open from 10am-4pm Wednesday- Saturday. Just opposite you’ll find Vaucluse Bay Beach, and a short walk away, one of Sydney’s prettiest beaches, Parsley Bay.