Champagne, cupcakes, spa treatments… there’s nothing stuffy about today’s high tea, writes Tatyana Leonov.
There’s something fabulous about sipping tea out of dainty crockery while nibbling on cute sandwiches and petite pastries, and you’ve got to admit, Aussies are leaders when it comes to leisurely activities.
Everybody loves a cupcake (or two) and Sparkle Cupcakery makes sure your high tea (they call it T Party) includes a few. You get a bunch of other cool stuff too – cones of popcorn-inspired sweet treats, a blood-orange jelly and lemon sorbet dessert shot, sandwich snippets and a toffee apple. For $45, which includes a glass of bubbles, it’s worth trying the innovative delicacies on offer. Plus you’re bound to walk out with take-home cupcakes – which is a good thing, we think. A bookings-only policy applies so make sure you call ahead.
This kitsch bar is named after a former high-society brothel, but now it caters to different vices: liquor and, yes, high tea (though they call it a garden party). For $38 on a Saturday or Sunday, indulge in old-fashioned sandwiches, frittatas, sweets and more, plus delectable summer punch in a teapot to wash down the bites. A lift will whisk you up to the rooftop level where you can relax in the eclectic space (pink cushions, lace latticework, antique furniture and fake grass) and get lost in the mishmash of colours, textures and kookiness that is Madame Brussels.
Jumpers and teapots!? One hour’s drive north from Hobart, you’ll find this historic gem – a knitwear shop, factory, showroom, visitor centre and café all in one. High tea is a traditional scrumptious feast, with most (if not all) delicacies made from fresh local produce. At $22.50 you can enjoy the high tea experience, and follow on with a factory and showroom tour. Bookings are essential so be sure to call ahead.
Served on the first Sunday of every month, high tea at Aki’s Indian (a 2012 chef’s hat winner) is inspired by the tiffin concept of India (tiffin refers to a light meal or lunch, originating from British India). The nibblies include Indian specialities such as shredded chicken tikka in wholemeal roti and Chennai shrimps, and an Indian take on sandwiches (cottage cheese, tomato and chutney). With chocolate naan as one of the dessert selections and the choice of masala chai, lassi or sparkling to drink, it’s definitely got a spicy flavour. Priced at $45, bookings are preferred.
If you’re into teapots, the Bygone Beautys (sic) tearoom has a lot – in fact, it houses one of the largest private teapot collections in the world – more than 3000 – all on display throughout a gorgeous Edwardian building. You couldn’t ask for a more fitting setting – or better service. High tea is served by a waiter in tails and a top hat, and consists of a variety of old-fashioned items including dainty hand-rolled and crustless sandwiches – it’s the way the Ritz in London does them. Everything is made fresh on site and they use fine bone china, silverware and cloth serviettes. It’s very popular, so book ahead: the cost is $57.50 for first two, then $22 for each person (further reduced prices for large groups).
If you’re after something a little upmarket, book in for a high tea at Queensland’s Parliament House. Held in the Strangers’ Dining Room on a loose monthly schedule, you must call and book ahead. Assortments of quintessential high-tea treats are prepared by the parliament’s resident chefs: salmon, cucumber and turkey sandwiches, along with quiches and cakes, all served in the state’s premier heritage building. If that’s not enough, you have the option to go on a tour of the Parliament after your indulgence – and it’s included in the price of $40.
Spectacular architecture, Italian furnishings, antique chandeliers, marble, mosaics: everyone knows this is the glamorous place to be, and the great news is that you can indulge in its Fashionista High Tea without even staying at the hotel. Unwind in the Le Jardin lobby bar, soak up the elegance and enjoy freshly made delicacies in this season’s colours (hot pinks, lavender, molten chocolate, lemon and pistachio, just so you know). There are four different teas to choose from, depending on your selection of beverage (from $45). Best of all, the divine French pastries vary at least daily, depending on what the chef feels like conjuring up – so you can go back again and again…