Good things come in small parlours. Stepping into Tea Parlour I feel as if I’m Alice in Wonderland after she’s eaten the cake that makes her grow suddenly. The room can only be described as intimate, the chairs and tables are low and the sweet treats I spy as we enter are dainty bite-sized portions.
The price has also been downsized. Before Tea Parlour, luxurious hotels held the monopoly on the high tea experience in Sydney. At Tea Parlour high tea is only $20. This includes scones with jam and freshly whipped cream, cucumber sandwiches, an assortment of sweets items and the one thing that is large in the parlour, a big pot of tea. The high tea is so generous that my group of 10 order only five high teas and some extra cucumber sandwiches.
Before the tea is poured you’re sure to be poring over the menu for quite some time. There’s just so much tea to choose from! Not to mention you’ll be marvelling at the exceptionally cute menus. They are presented inside antique novels with velvet ribbon bookmarks. For our outing, we choose the passionfruit ice tea, chai, French earl grey and apple berry.
Regular visitors will find the assortment of little cakes that come with the high tea is constantly changing. For us they are serving chocolate brownies, lemon tart, raspberry cake and little chocolate cups among other things. The lemon tart is particularly enjoyable. Having never had cucumber sandwiches before, I’m expecting them to be quite plain. But I’m converted as soon as I try one (which leads to one too many). Served with cream cheese and herbs the sandwiches are soft and flavoursome.
The décor in Tea Parlour evokes a sense of fading opulence. As if you have popped in to visit an old lady who hasn’t changed a thing for 40 years. All of the dainty china cups and plates are mismatched, as are the tables and chairs. The only commonality is they evoke the same whimsical feel, making the eclectic mix go perfectly well together. High tea here is ladylike without being la-di-da, a place where you really can have your cake and eat it too.
Photos by Dara Tippapart