High Tea, or afternoon tea, is an elegant affair that we have our British ancestors to thank for. In Sydney, high teas are thriving – and I’ve been on a mission to try each and every one on offer. After careful testing, I present to you a selection of the best high teas in Sydney.
Enjoy delicious square sandwiches, fluffy scones with plenty of jam and cream, with delectable sweet treats such as the salted caramel and chocolate tart at this Mosman, North Shore, cafe. The balcony wrapping around Burnt Orange offers stunning harbour views, so request a prime spot when making your booking.
Burnt Orange, 1109 Middle Head Rd, Mosman
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney
You’ll find fluffy fresh scones with vanilla bean cream, delicious sandwiches and savoury pastries, plus delectable sweets at the Radisson Blu high tea. The tea is topped with a pair of salted caramel swans that you’ll be torn between eating and taking home as a souvenir. The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel also offers gluten-free, kids and vegan high tea.
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney, 27 O’Connell St, Sydney
The Cortile, InterContinental Sydney
A classic high tea served with a modern twist. High tea at the InterContinental is served inside the restored 1851 Treasury building, making it the most visually stunning building of all high tea locations. The sweets are tea-themed, such as the Jasmine Gold tea crème brulée.
InterContinental Sydney, 117 Macquarie St, Sydney
Sheraton on the Park
Choose from a classic tea stand or the buffet high tea. Their high tea stands are often themed, such as the Fashion High Tea, or Christmas. The buffet is excellent quality and value at $49pp, and includes an ice cream station, fresh creme brulee, sandwiches, savouries, scones, crepes and platter after platter of sweet treats.
Sheraton on the Park, 161 Elizabeth St, Sydney
A classic high tea with the best view in Sydney. Ask for a seat on the balcony and watch out for kookaburras who like to swoop down and steal sandwiches. The scones are served fresh and warm, and the staff are outstanding. It’s hard to top this high tea, which is why you’ll need to book well in advance.
Gunners Barracks, Suakin Dr, Mosman
Westin Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea
Fall down the rabbit hole into a whimsical high tea land where all of the dishes are inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Enjoy delicacies such as the The Mad Hatter’s Hat (rich dark chocolate mud cake encased in chocolate icing) and The White Rabbit’s Pocket Watch (purple macaroon with a blueberry cream filling).
Westin, Lobby Level, 1 Martin Place Sydney
Dining at the newly renovated Langham is an elegant affair. I enjoyed their Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood for Mother’s day last year, where a sophisticated high tea is served in Wedgwood china specifically designed for The Langham hotel. The environment is opulent and serene, the high tea full of tarts, tasty sandwiches and savouries. Do yourself a favour and book into the excellent Langham spa downstairs for a treatment after your tea is finished.
The Langham Hotel, 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney
The Tea Room QVB
Set in the historic Queen Victoria Building, afternoon tea at the QVB is a popular outing. The Tea Room is owned by the same company as the Gunners Barracks, which ensures that both teas are of a high standard. Be sure to arrive hungry as the extremely efficient staff offer extra sandwiches once yours have run out. For something different, try the Oriental High Tea which features Peking duck pancakes and and scallop and ginger dumplings.
The Tea Room QVB, 3, Queen Victoria Building, 455 George St, Sydney
The Tea Salon
Tucked away inside a quiet nook of Westfield Sydney, from the inside it’s easy to forget you’re dining inside a shopping centre. They have an extensive tea selection (try the “Creme Brulee”) and a choice of scone flavour (their speciality). On the day we visited we tried a limited edition Katherine Sabbath high tea, which was developed in conjunction with the amazing baker, featuring a fancy donut, and a special blueberry, white chocolate scone.
The Tea Salon, Westfield Sydney, Lvl 4, Cnr Pitt Street Mall and Market Street, Sydney
The Tea Cosy
A family owned and operated cafe tucked into the historic Rocks district of Sydney, The Tea Cosy boasts “Scones and tea like Nana used to make”. Choose from a wide variety of teas and scones, which will likely be the best you’ve ever tasted. Scones are served warm and fresh with house-made jams (that are available for purchase). The high tea option comes with delicious finger sandwiches such as egg and cucumber and cream cheese, plus old English style pastries on top such as a lemon meringue tart and friand muffin. The tea pot cosies are so cute you’ll be tempted to buy one of them, too.
The Tea Cosy, 33 George St, The Rocks NSW
Parliament House of New South Wales
The most exclusive high tea in Sydney, served only on the last Friday of each month, this is also the only high tea in Sydney that you’ll have to pass through a metal detector to gain admission. Dine in the Strangers’ Dining Room that is usually off-limits to the public, overlooking Hyde Park. The bocconcini tartlet with chive coulis was a fave, as were the sandwiches – with a second plate being delivered after the first was finished.
Parliament House of New South Wales, Parliament of New South Wales, 6 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth High Tea with Christina Re
The Wentworth hotel has partnered with High Tea and Lifestyle designer Cristina Re to create beautiful high teas presented on the designer’s vintage-inspired Signature High Tea collection, adorned in 24 carat gold finishes. The high teas are often themed in collaboration with Sydney’s art and culture scene – for example, when we dined on previous occasions, we enjoyed their limited edition Sleeping Beauty and Archibald high teas, which were in conjunction with the Australian Ballet and AGNSW. The Wentworth has the best value kids’ high teas around – at $40 they might sound a bit steep, but they are virtually identical to the adult ones so two or three kids could easily share one.
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, 61-101 Phillip Street, Sydney
Try the Traditional or Chocolate High Tea at the Shangri-La Sydney, created by their amazing Executive Pastry Chef, Anna Polyviou. As you’d expect from an innovative pastry chef, the pastries on this high tea stand are the most innovative and delicious you will find anywhere, including her famous carrot cake.
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, 176 Cumberland St, Sydney
Hard core chocolate lovers will enjoy this sweet-heavy high tea at Coco Chocolate’s studio and school location in Mosman. Sit outdoors and enjoy an informal high tea with a stunning view of the Sydney harbour. As befits a chocolate high tea, treats include a shot of hot chocolate, chocolate pistachio shortbread, florentines, scones with jam & cream, melting moments, flourless orange cakes, chocolate cakes, and, the star of the high tea, a selection of house-made chocolate. Bookings are essential as each tea is made to order.
Coco Chocolate, Sydney Chocolate School and Coco Chocolate Studio, Past Burnt Orange and HMAS Penguin at Chowder Bay Rd turnoff, Building 21, 1110 Middle Head Road, Mosman
Vaucluse House Tea Rooms
Take a trip back in time and dine at historic Vaucluse House. The sandstone mansion was built in the 1830s and is set in 10 hectares of picture perfect gardens stretching down to the harbour. The high tea features a delicious array of savoury tarts and sandwiches, fresh scones, and sweets that include a sugar-covered donut and delicate fairy-floss. After your tea, wander through the building or meet the farm animals out the back. There is plenty of space to roam in solitude and enjoy the serenity. Bookings essential.
Vaucluse House Tea Rooms, Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse
Park Hyatt Sydney
Located on the waterfront and delivering a perfect view of Sydney Harbour, high tea at the Park Hyatt is the popular location for a groups such as a bridal showers. The high tea features finger sandwiches, warm scones with jam and cream, and mini cakes, tartlets and macarons. For larger groups, a private room is available.
Park Hyatt Sydney, 7 Hickson Road The Rocks Sydney
Are there any high teas I’ve missed? I’d love to know where to try next!