High tea smorgasboard at the Swissotel, Sydney
Which girl doesn't get excited at the mere mention of the words, "high tea". It's not the thought of wearing big flowery hats, white gloves and tittering over neighbourhood gossip that gets the pulse racing. It's the mere thought of deciminalised dessert decadence that has every girl nodding excitedly as she clears the diary with unabated enthusiasm.
Of course high tea as we know it, is actually afternoon tea. High tea in its correct usage refers to a substantial meal of meat, bread and cake eaten at about 6pm. Despite its lofty connotations, high tea was usually undertaken by 'the common people'. The consumption of delicacies by society types was, in fact, afternoon tea.
But let's face it. High tea sounds much more exciting than afternoon tea. And excited I was as we made our way to Sydney's Swissotel for a bit of tea and a lot of sugar.
High tea (yes, I'll continue to use the incorrect terminology) at the Swissotel is held in its Crossroads Bar, a typical hotel lounge set-up with oversized arm chairs on a raised circular platform.
Immediately taking command of our attention though was the buffet station. A cascading chocolate fountain in the middle was flanked by a table of sweets and savouries on the left, and fountain dippers on the right. A wide assortment of available teas was also on display.
Assorted finger sandwiches
Pineapple, strawberries, kiwifruit, marshmallows, chocolate cake and fruit cake for dipping in the chocolate fountain.
In a supremely costly error of judgement, I'd actually had a light lunch before our arrival, not realising that the high tea here involved an unlimited buffet. I'd presumed our high tea would be delicate and dainty and arrive on silver tiered platters for two. Doh!
So I skipped on the sandwiches and headed straight for dessert. Perhaps it was just as well I didn't arrive here on an empty stomach.
My dessert plate #1: mini creme brulee, scone with jam and cream, pear tart slice, pistachio caramel tart and chocolate eclair.
I didn't do too badly for someone supposedly not very hungry (not that dessert is ever about hunger anyway). I particularly liked the pear tart slice which was light and tasty, and the pistachio caramel tart, which had plenty of nuts scattered on top.
Roibosh vanilla orange flavoured tea
Our tea of choice was the Cream Orange which had a light citrus flavour enhanced with the sweetness of rooibos.
Close-up of my mini creme brulee
After my dessert plate, it was straight to the chocolate fountain.
Cavorting strawberries in the chocolate fountain
Chocolate splattered plate of chocolate-dipped pineapple, kiwifruit, marshmallow and strawberries.
High tea, afternoon tea, just give me plen-tea!
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High tea at the Crossroads Bar
Level 8, 68 Market Street, Sydney
(above Myer, enter from Market Street opp the State Theatre)
Tel: +61 (02) 9238 7082
$25.00 per person or
$32.50 with a glass of sparkling wine
Updated January 7, 2009
High tea buffet available Saturdays and Sundays 2pm-4pm
$35 per person or
$44.50 with a glass of Chandon
High tea available on a tiered tray Monday to Friday 2pm-4pm
$30 per person
Related GrabYourFork posts:
High tea at the Swissotel Crossroads Bar (Jan09), (Nov06) and (Jun06)
High tea at the Observatory Hotel, Globe Bar
High tea at the Sofitel Wentworth (Sep08) and (Dec06)
High tea at the Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
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10/03/2005 11:59:00 pm