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Thursday, July 19, 2007

High Tea at the Victoria Room, Darlinghurst

Sandwiches, sweets and scones

If there was one thing I kept hearing about High Tea the Victoria Room, it was about the darkness of the room.

How dark could it be I wondered?

I almost walk past the entrance to the Victoria Room, two dark wooden doors plain but for a pair of long brass handles. The doors are closed, and the two narrow panes of glass reveal nothing but reflections of the traffic behind me.

Pushing open the heavy doors, I am confronted with darkness. It's comparative darkness to the daylight outside, and as my eyes slowly adjust, I stumble your way blindly up the staircase, dimly illuminated by a trail of tealights.

Afternoon tea sandwiches: chicken and wild herbs, creme fraiche and dill;
smoked salmon with fresh rocket, lemon and capers;
and watercress, celery and goats curd

By the time I reach the top of the stairs, I am grateful for the wonderful lightbulbs above, shrouded though they are by layers of muslin. The dimly lit room is filled with an eclectic mix of Victorian style lounges and arm chairs. Some people sit at cosy tables for two, others perch delicately on lounges huddled around low tables. Potted palms and vintage fabric lamps dot the room. A jazz soundtrack hums in the background, a wailing saxophone searching our souls.

"Why, I feel like I could just sit here and be looking out at my plantation", drawls S with a laugh.

Scones served with triple berry conserve and chantilly cream

We find the service a little disjointed, our teas ordered but not arriving until five minutes after our high teas arrive. I'm also disappointed to discover that the high tea only includes one pot of tea - extra water is provided but I'd been looking forward to a whole banquet of different teas like I'd enjoyed at the Sofitel.

The sandwiches are served on soft and fluffy bread, the crusts trimmed, the fillings fresh if a little subdued. The scones are enormous. We split them in half and slather them generously with jam and heavy handed dollops of cream.

The dessert plate is a four-course journey of dainty little sweets. The sticky date puddings, moist little cupcakes topped with a coffee icing, have plenty of sighing fans, but I'm more impressed by the passionfruit yo-yo, two rich buttery crumbly shortbreads sandwiched with a thick layer of sweet and tangy passionfruit icing.

Sticky date puddings and passionfruit yo-yos

Mini florentines are high on the sugar factor, a cluster of cornflakes, almonds, peanuts, raisins and glace cherries spread with chocolate on one side.

Vanilla bean cupcakes topped with pink icing and confetti
with mini florentines

The girl-o-metre is off the scale with the vanilla bean cupcakes, frosted generously with a swirl of pink icing and dusted liberally with pink sugar crystals. The cupcake itself is light and fluffy with the subtle sweetness of real vanilla.

We sip and sup away a leisurely Sunday afternoon. We leave reluctantly. The jazz plays on.

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High Tea at the Victoria Room
Level 1, 235 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9357 4488

High tea served Saturday 2pm-4pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm
10% surcharge on Sundays and public holidays

Related GrabYourFork posts:
High tea at the Swissotel Crossroads Bar (Jan09) , (Nov06), (Jun06) and (Oct05)
High tea at the Observatory Hotel, Globe Bar
High tea at the Sofitel Wentworth (Sep08) and (Dec06)
High tea at the Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
8 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/19/2007 11:43:00 pm


  • At 7/20/2007 10:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It was all looking lovely until I saw the teapots. The best they could manage was those ugly metal ones? What, a china teapot is out of the question? You can't make proper tea in a metal teapot, it doesn't hold the heat the same way as china ...

  • At 7/20/2007 11:15 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Cupcakes look gorgeous!

  • At 7/20/2007 11:48 am, Blogger Jen said…

    I have always wanted to go to The Victoria. Room. I saw photograhs of it and it seems like another world in there. The tea sounds wonderful, except for the one pot thing.

  • At 7/20/2007 5:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with Alison. Those are pretty lame teapots for a $30 high tea. Its not that hard to get proper teapots!

  • At 7/20/2007 6:06 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Alison - I actually had a similar moment of recoil when the teatpots arrived. The metal teapots seemed very out-of-place, particularly when it's all about good tea and food.

    Hi Veruca Salt - The cupcakes were very pretty and so super soft. Must hone my cupcake technique!

    Hi JenJen - It has a great atmosphere that would be fabulous for cocktails or evening drinks. I had the Darjeeling but I really wanted to try their Earl Grey too :( I love Earl Grey.

    Hi Aptronym - It's a teapot protest! It did feel very wrong.

  • At 7/20/2007 8:19 pm, Blogger MissK said…

    Another problem with those pots are that they are very hot and difficult to handle.
    Last time i was there i stole one of those beautiful ornate tea strainers,picture here

  • At 7/21/2007 9:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I used to love high tea .. at the Mandarin Hotel in Singapore.. but started with english tea.. became very localized.. so that ended my high teas .. and of course.. coming to Y-town.. there is NO high - tea..!! that's even worst..!!

  • At 7/22/2007 9:14 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi MissK - Oh my! The tea strainers were quaint but let me state that GYF in no way condones the abduction (even if I was personally tempted)!

    Hi Mama BoK - No high tea? You will have to invite the girls over and create your own :)


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