Dainty finger sandwiches with fresh-made bread. Light and fluffy scones smothered in jam and cream. A sneaky glass (or two) of champagne. Yeah, you’ve gotta love a decadent high tea. Sydney has some delicious options, but we put our lives (or at least our tastebuds) on the line to find five of the best. You’re welcome 😉
Sarah checks out… The Langham, Sydney
Not only is The Langham, Sydney located in The Rocks – one of Sydney’s most historic neighborhoods – it’s also home to one of the most decadent afternoon tea experiences in Sydney.
The Afternoon Tea with Wedgewood is held daily in the Palm Court lounge, which is a beautiful, elegant room off to the side of the lobby area. Seated on the lounges, with the afternoon sun pouring in and a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne – served on arrival by the very attentive staff – it’s a nice way to get into the swing of holiday (or weekend) life.
As someone who can’t quite figure out if they’re a sweet or savoury type, the Langham’s afternoon tea delivers to my tastebuds. For savoury, the stand-outs include the turkey, brie and cranberry sandwich, and the king salmon, wasabi and charcoal cone. For sweet, the pistachio and raspberry bon bon, and the rosewater lamington both go down a treat with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Last but not least are the Langham’s freshly made, light and fluffy scones – served with house-made jam and cream – which take me back to childhood visits with my grandparents 😊
The Langham’s Afternoon Tea with Wedgewood starts from $70 per person ($70 per person Monday-Friday; $80 per person on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays), not including champagne.
Why Sarah loved it
No other Sydney afternoon tea can beat the Langham’s old-world Victorian charm. The flagship Langham in London is famed as the birthplace of very FIRST afternoon tea experience (created 140 years ago) and the Langham chain recreates the flavour and feel of the original experience at each of its properties around the world. From the décor to the Wedgwood crockery to the service and ambiance, this is the ultimate high tea for those who want to step back in time.
Aliisa checks out… Primus Hotel Sydney
High tea at Primus Hotel Sydney is served in the hotel’s stunning art deco lobby. High ceilings and impressive eight-metre marble columns greet you as soon as you enter. However, as we pass the blush velvet lounges and walk to our table, we soon appreciate the intimacy of the space and settle in for an afternoon of delicious high tea, great music and people watching.
Two high-tea experiences are available at Primus Hotel Sydney: the more traditional Wilmot High Tea and the G’n’Tea for gentlemen. Both experiences start from $45 per person, however we opt for the premium option for $65 per person, which includes a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rich, served with orange, blueberry and raspberry.
Our favourites from the Wilmot High Tea menu include the fried chicken sliders, the crab and prawn sandwiches, and the chocolate mousse and hazelnut crumble. Hot tip: Eat your white chocolate and lemon scone first to make sure you enjoy the scone at its fluffiest. From the G’n’Tea experience, we recommend the wagyu sliders and the salt and pepper squid. Of the teas, Bombay Chai and Sencha Green Tea are our preference.
The highlight of our experience by far is the service. Our host Nikolai carefully explains each menu item for us and ensures we’re well looked after throughout the afternoon.
The high tea is available seven days a week from 3pm to 5pm. Large groups or those after a more intimate setting can also enjoy the experience in the hotel’s restaurant, The Wilmot.
Why Aliisa loved it
The hotel is stunning from every angle and stylishly honours the site’s iconic 1930s design, as well as its history as the Sydney Metropolitan Water Board head office. It’s worth exploring the hotel during your visit, including a trip to the rooftop pool and bar. Located on level seven, it is truly one of Sydney’s best hidden gems.
Chi checks out… Sheraton on the Park
Sheraton on the Park has a grand entrance, with inviting marble pillars and gold-and-bronze trimmings to match its gold-and-bronze staircase. It’s as if you’ve walked into a ballroom. It’s also centrally located – just opposite Hyde Park, perfect for an enjoyable stroll after your afternoon tea. High tea is served in the Gallery and is priced at $59 per person (with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate), $72 per person (with a glass of Domaine Blanc de Blancs), or $80 per person (with a glass of Ruinart Blanc De Blancs).
If you’ve never been to a high tea, you may wonder what sort of people go to them and for what occasions. Well, at the Sheraton on the Park, it’s refreshing to see a diverse crowd, including multiple families (with all members in attendance – including dads), all out enjoying a relaxed afternoon. There is even a date!
The service is wonderful. The Sheraton’s attentive staff are happy and excited to share their favourite menu items (and recommend some must-haves!), and knowledgeable about the beautiful variety of teas available. Even if you’re not a regular tea drinker, they will almost certainly have an option or two to suit your taste. I thoroughly enjoy the Prince of Kandy.
On weekends, the Sheraton’s high tea is served as a buffet, which means you can try it all (and go back for more of the morsels you love). This is great news for those that are gluten-free as well, as you can design a plate to suit your dietary needs. With the option to go back for seconds (or thirds… or fourths… or fifths…) of your favourite delights, you know you’re in for a treat.
Why Chi loved it
The weekend buffet is a clever twist on the traditional high tea and offers excellent value (particularly for fussy eaters or people with special dietary needs). There are so many delicious treats to choose from, but my personal favourite is the strawberry mousse. Feathery light, with a combination of sweet flavours, it takes great willpower to scoop only one spoonful into your mouth. You could easily (and very likely will) go back for more!
Amanda checks out… Swissotel Sydney
Next to the Pitt Street Mall and the State Theatre, the Swissotel is surrounded by Sydney’s best shopping and entertainment, which you can enjoy before or after your high tea experience. The Swissotel’s high tea is hosted in the Crossroads Bar – a light and bright spot on level eight, next to the busy lobby. Tea is served in two-hour sittings from 12 to 4pm. Make sure to ask for one of the comfy circular booths.
We are greeted with a buffet-style high tea, which includes a generous mix of hot and cold, and savoury and sweet items. It’s $69 per person, which includes sparkling wine or a cocktail on arrival, coffee, and a variety of T2 teas. It’s a busy day, and the buffet can’t be re-filled fast enough, as a crowd of families, baby shower attendees, and mothers and daughters all enjoy the delicacies.
We treat ourselves to traditional high-tea fare like finger sandwiches and scones, as well as delicious hot items like mini beef parcels and mushroom quiches. There are also ample dessert options, including tarts, panacotta, and macaroons. But as far as my daughter is concerned, the real star of the show is the giant chocolate fountain. She loves it.
Why Amanda loved it
If you are taking a child (or someone who’s young at heart), the chocolate fountain with lots of dipping options will be a definite highlight. The buffet – which is a rarity as far as Sydney high teas are concerned – offers plenty of variety and gives you the chance to enjoy your faves again and again.
Cassie checks out… The Westin Sydney
High tea at The Westin is served in The Bar, Lounge and Room space, adjacent to the hotel lobby. It’s a great excuse to check out one of Sydney’s most stunning hotels. The Westin is housed in the historic Sydney General Post Office, and The Bar, Lounge & Room space makes the most of the building’s unique heritage charm.
The Westin serves two high-tea options – the traditional, yet modern, Heritage High Tea, and the imaginative and playful Mad Hatter’s High Tea (inspired by Alice’s adventures in Wonderland). Each comes with the option of tea or coffee ($54 per person), a cocktail ($64 per person) or a glass of R de Ruinart Champagne ($74 per person). We go for the champagne… because why not? This turns out to be a very good decision – it’s the best we’ve ever tasted.
My guest and I combine forces (and appetites) to try both the Heritage and the Mad Hatter’s teas, and I definitely recommend it if you have enough people to make it work. Our favourite nibbles from the Heritage tea include the slow-cooked smoked salmon triple stack with caper berries, the glazed caramel mousse with fresh berries and raspberry gel, and the classic vanilla crème brulèe with sweet, nutty biscotti. On the Mad Hatter’s side, we love the ‘Tweedledee & Tweedledum’ – roasted beef and fresh asparagus roulade on mini laugen, the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – spanner crab meat salad on double bread, wrapped in cucumber, and the ‘White Rabbit’s Pocket Watch’ – a sweet macaroon with blueberry cream filling.
Why Cassie loved it
I’m a sucker for cute, creatively presented food – especially when it’s inspired by one of my favourite childhood stories. The Mad Hatter’s High Tea is one of Sydney’s unique foodie experiences and a lot of fun to boot. Extra points for introducing me to my new favourite champagne, too.