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 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 for extra indulgence. 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 an afternoon of indulgence 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 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. Greenfield Carriages
Here at Secret Sydney, we have a soft spot for hidden places and secret treasures around the city. Imagine our delight when we found a secret high tea spot inside a sports club. Greenfield Carriages is a lovely new spot housed within the Bankstown Sports Club and it’s the spot to go to if you’re looking for a quaint dining experience with all the classic sweet and savoury options like pastries, sandwiches and sweet treats and plenty of tea to help take the chill off. It also boasts fairy lights and a charming vibe that is ideal for a day out on the weekend. Check out their menu and book a spot here.
7. Loftus Lane
The Loftus Lane high tea is one you have to try. It’s almost something out of a 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Shangri-La Hotel
Shangri-La Hotel boasts 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.
11. The Intercontinental, Double Bay
InterContinental Double Bay’s high tea has gained quite a bit of popularity amongst high tea lovers. 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.
13. 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. Its enviable location of a heritage-listed building in The Rocks area adds to its charming atmosphere. 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’.
14. The Charles Grand Brasserie
This European brasserie in the heart of Sydney is the place to visit if you want to treat yourself to a high tea that’s extra luxe. Sip on a glass of Moet and enjoy a decadent afternoon surrounded by gorgeous art deco details at The Charles. On their high tea menu, you’ll find a curated menu of savoury and sweet items and free-flowing tea and coffee for $99 per person along with a glass of champagne. The high tea is available from Monday through to Saturday, from 12pm-5pm, in the Brasserie Mezzanine. Book a spot here.
15. Reign at QVB
Another elegant QVB spot, this fancy champagne parlour is for those who prefer their High Tea morsels to be savoury. The menu includes a bunch of delicate snacks including cheeses and oat crackers plus fine cocktails, wine and champagnes. It’s high tea but with cheese. We’ll take it. Book a table here.
16. Parliament of New South Wales
If you haven’t been to the Parliament of NSW, we suggest getting down there asap. The spot is rich in history with a selection of wines and local delicacies to dig into. On offer is a high tea every Friday from 12pm to 3pm and options to choose from the Traditional High Tea ($65pp), Sparkling High Tea ($75 pp) and Rose Sparkling High Tea for $80pp. Snag a spot here.