There’s no better way to press pause and feel a bit posh than nibbling on dainty finger sandwiches and sipping tea from a fancy bone china cup. High tea is the perfect excuse for an afternoon of indulgence and Sydney boasts of quite a few amazing spots with outstanding surroundings, harbour views and timeless menus. We’ve rounded up our favourites from opulent hotels to hidden laneway cafes and more.
1. QVB — The Tea Room
This QVB classic comes with all the European vibes, dazzling chandeliers and plush velour chairs. You’ll be transported to another era altogether as you dive into your dainty finger sandwiches, pastries, scones topped with raspberry jam and cream and savoury pastries. They also have a huge selection of teas, from sparkling high tea to traditional high tea. There’s also a cocktail high tea so there’s heaps to choose from. Given that it’s in the QVB, you can’t really fault the location. The Tea Room makes for a classy and intimate high tea experience.
2. The Langham Sydney
If it’s luxury and opulence you’re after, you don’t have to look much further than The Langham. One of the most delightfully beautiful spots for a leisurely high tea, you’ll be spoilt for choice with their elaborate menu offerings. Elevated by beautiful Wedgwood teaware, there’s sandwiches, scones, meringue tarts, chocolate mousse, truffle and mushroom arancini, beef pies and more. You’ll be seated at the splendid Palm Court, soaking up the sunlight as you enjoy your food and drinks.
3. QT Sydney
QT has taken the traditional high tea and given it a quirky, unconventional spin. Expect vibrant bites, gold cutlery, specially designed tea stands and eccentric decor to sink into. And if that wasn’t enough, the menu is carefully curated by famed Australian pâtissier Adriano Zumbo so you know you’re in for quite a treat. The menu is as fancy as you’d expect and then some. There’s lobster rolls, caviar, yuzus and of course, Zumbo’s popular macarons. Take a look at their menu here.
4. The Gunners’ Barracks
This historic spot is a sight for sore eyes. Nestled within the bushland of Georges Heights and Mosman, it offers stunning views over the harbour. Dig into freshly baked scones, savoury pastries and petit cakes as you enjoy all the beautiful blues of the Sydney harbour. It also boasts of Asia’s largest selection of Ronnefeldt teas — a dizzying variety of 41 teas for you to choose from. Steeped in elegance, The Gunners’ Barracks high tea is consistently ranked amongst the best in the city and it’s easy to see why.
5. Burnt Orange
Looking for something that doesn’t quite break the bank but doesn’t compromise on quality? Head to Burnt Orange. With lovely open views and superb menu offerings, this is a great spot for bridal showers, anniversaries or cosy catch up with the girls. Their dazzling menu consists of macarons, scones, quiche, smoked salmon and hot drinks aplenty. The citrusy burnt orange tart with blood orange curd is a must try.
6. Loftus Lane
The Loftus Lane high tea is one you have to try. It’s almost something out of fairytale with fresh flowers, French tableware and delicate containers. The whimsical experience is perfect for a themed event, bachelorette or if you’re just looking to jazz up your Instagram feed. As for the menu, there’s all the usual high tea suspects plus tarts, sliders, cheesecakes and more. For just $65 you can enjoy a lovely and engaging high tea experience or upgrade to the swanky cocktail high tea for $80.
7. Sir Stamford at Circular Quay
The high tea at Sir Stamford spells indulgence and elegance. There’s a three tier stand filled with treats to devour and charming artworks adorning the venue. On the menu you’ll find traditional offerings like fluffy scones served with jam and cream, sweet and savoury pastries and tea or coffee. With a warm, welcoming vibe and great food and drinks, you can’t go wrong with it.
8. Vaucluse House Tearooms
The high tea at Vaucluse House is as magical as it gets. One of Sydney’s few 19th century mansions, the harbourside venue comes with incredible views of the city and a cosy space that’s fit for royalty. There’s a huge variety of food offerings from sweet to savoury. Finger sandwiches, tarts, cheesecakes, caramelised eclairs and organic teas round up the indulgent menu.
9. Shangri-La Hotel
Shangri-La Hotel boasts of perhaps one of the most coveted views of the harbour. Their High Tea on Level 36 comes with sweeping views of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the CBD. But it’s not just the views that make for a fabulous dining experience. The menu comes with decadent desserts and savoury bites set on three irresistible tiers. There’s seafood rolls, smoked salmon, braised oxtail, cheesecakes and tarts plus an exclusive vegan menu to boot.
10. The Intercontinental, Double Bay
InterContinental Double Bay’s high tea has gained quite a popularity amongst high tea lovers. And for good reason. The dishes are both sublime to look at and to devour. We’re talking quiches and petite fours, cakes and sandwiches on lovely bone china for a tailored dining experience. If you’re feeling extra indulgent, you can upgrade to the bespoke version of the high tea which comes complete with lush Wedgwood teaware.
This unique plant-based high tea encapsulates a clean eating philosophy and relies on locally sourced ingredients for their menu. Find sweet and savoury food items on their menu, from larb salad to smoked salads, vanilla mousse, scones and more. Their tea offerings are equally tempting with teas like honeydew and apricot, peppermint, sweet peach, strawberry guava and more. You can also upgrade your experience with free-flowing rosé and champagne for an elegant afternoon of classic tea.
12. The Tea Cosy
High tea at The Tea Cosy is a more relaxed, classic vibe. The quaint little spot lies behind Rydges Sydney Harbour in Playfair Lane and comes adorned with cute little details like knitted blankets, flowers, baskets and more. The attention to detail is amazing and it’s the perfect spot for a lazy weekend afternoon. It’s enviable location of a heritage-listed building in the historical Rocks area adds to it’s special ambience. On the menu you can expect classic Devonshire scones, fingers sandwiches, teas and more. There’s even a Kids’ Devonshire Tea served with strawberry jam and cream and a special ‘babycino’.