Have you ever been invited to a High Tea event but were not sure what to wear or even what happens at one?
High Tea is a light meal typically eaten between 3pm and 5pm, served with desserts, cakes and tea sandwiches. Also called afternoon tea, its origin is attributed to Anna Maria, 7th Duchess of Bedford, when she requested tea and light sandwiches lates in the afternoon to help tide over her hunger until dinner time.
She also invited her high society friends to join her and the concept became popular among the elite who loved entertaining guests in their drawing rooms. Eventually, the practice caught on among the working class as a post-lunch energy boost to keep them full until the end of the work day while supper was being prepared.
Today, High Tea is a highly-favoured theme for birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, christenings and much more – dining at this hour allows you to take things at a leisurely pace, maximising the joys of socialising over the pleasure of food.
All around Australia, every weekend you can discover a High Tea event to salivate over, here are five of our faves:
Find the home of artisan desserts and top-shelf drinks at Sucrée Dessert & Wine Bar
on Leake Street in Essendon. A monochromatic vibe awaits with a white subway-tiled façade giving way to a bright and breezy interior with a wall of greenery and neon signage setting the scene for leisurely dining from early until late whether catching up with friends or on a date night.
Serving High Tea every weekend with two sittings, spoil yourself and loved ones with delectable offerings such as freshly baked scones, jam and cream, savoury pastries and sandwiches, along with indulgent sweet cakes and treats, washed down with your choice of tea, coffee and sparkling wine.
Delight in the coveted The Langham afternoon tea in stunning Palm Court
on Old Burleigh Road in Surfers Paradise and indulge in delectable savouries and pastries while revelling in views of the lagoon pool. In a British nod to its namesake The Langham in London where traditional English afternoon tea was served more than 150 years ago, Palm Court pays tribute to its heritage with a bespoke offering from a menu crafted by culinary experts.
Indulge in the epitome of sophistication with a Spring afternoon tea with Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne complementing exquisite pastries, savoury delights and scones expertly crafted by the Langham’s culinary artisans; bookings are essential for this event which runs every day of the week and weekends.
Embracing modern and traditional methods of brewing tea, discerning foodies head to Oxi Tea Room
on Cornell Place in Carlton for a unique high tea experience. Serving premium and carefully sourced Kenyan and Taiwanese teas, expect your cup to be served two ways – a modern method with a teapresso and by traditional Chinese hand brew – to go with creative desserts and temptations.
Perhaps pair a Jade Oolong tea with savoury and sweet petit fours created by a Head Pastry Chef with an Asian background who tantalises tastebuds with unique flavours from Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. Expect plates that follow the seasons and what has been grown in the greenhouse, with familiar and new flavour combinations from fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Clifton House & Gardens
on Mainmuru SS Road in Young is a historic landmark homestead and stone barn, surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens. Built in 1889, this venue is ideal for your next function, private garden wedding, farm stay, or private dining event, offering full-service for everything you need for a special celebration; expect a unique experience dining with friends and family in tranquil surrounds.
Menus are individually designed for each function with delicious dishes and generous country servings that also accommodate dietary requirements. Perhaps treat a loved one to a memorable High Tea and enjoy sweet and savoury homemade treats like scones with fresh cream and jam, flavoured tea, coffee or maybe a glass of bubbles.
Dining at Strangers’ Restaurant
, on Macquarie Street in the heart of Sydney, takes guests on a fascinating journey through history, tracing the evolution of dining practices and food trends, along with NSW Parliament’s rich collection of art and artefacts.
Nestled in NSW Parliament House overlooking the beautiful domain and not far from the Royal Botanical Gardens, the building is full of hidden surprises along with a stylish restaurant delivering an à la carte menu, High Tea and private dining options. Expect to devour scones, jam and cream, delicate sandwiches, savoury and sweet pastry treats.