I love high tea! I’m not sure what it is about it – maybe it’s the delicate little cakes and finger sandwiches, or maybe it’s the cute little sugar cubes. But whatever it is, it is nearly always much better enjoyed in the cosy warmth of the indoors in this cooler weather we’ve been having.
However, on this windy, rainy day which was booked months in advance (thanks Leona!), seven food-blogging, high tea lovers and myself headed out to the Tea Room, Gunners Barracks, only to be seated outside on the balcony in the cold and the wind. Luckily we were provided with blankets which helped to fight the chilly temperature but the wind still whipped through our hair and made our tea cold.
Not to worry though, because there was food to be eaten and tea to be drank. We all ordered the Traditional Afternoon Tea which was $40 and includes cakes and pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and a wide selection of teas. There were so many teas to choose from it was difficult to decide, and in the end I went with the Rose Tea with Petals which was a nice mild tea with flowery notes.
We were presented with a silver three-tiered stand of sweet cakes and pastries to be shared amongst 4 of us, as well as a plate of finger sandwiches and a plate of scones and savoury pastries. I think a good scone is paramount for a successful high tea, so we dug into these first which were served with cream and blueberry conserve.
These were perhaps the biggest scones I’ve ever seen, and luckily this was a good thing because they were delicious and I wished there was a never-ending pile of scones for us to devour. We slathered on the blueberry conserve which still had whole blueberries in it and dolloped on the cream and crunched through the exterior of the scone through to the soft insides. So good!
The little savoury pastries were also pretty good, and I particularly liked the asparagus tartlet with the crispy puff pastry case. The samosa was also nice, with a mild curry filling and a few flecks of salt on the pastry to give it some flavour. Unfortunately we missed out on the yoghurt dipping sauce which was supposed to go with these, and by the time we realised we’d already eaten them all.
There were three types of sandwiches on our plate: smoked salmon with cucumber and cream cheese, egg and mayonnaise, and roast beef with rocket and horseradish cream. The bread was a little bit dry, probably from being blown at by the wind, and they weren’t as delicate and small as I envisioned but they did serve the purpose of filling us up before we moved onto the sweets.
We started on the bottom tier which had little squares of cheesecake and apricot cakes. I wasn’t really a big fan of the cheesecake because the base was a bit soggy but the cheesecake filling was nice and light. The apricot cakes were one of my favourites, being moist and buttery with a sweet, glazed top.
The second tier had chocolate orange macarons and slices of layered chocolate and coffee cake.
The macaron was surprisingly good with a nice crisp orange-flavoured shell that was filled with a rich dark chocolate ganache. I also loved the cake that had coffee and chocolate layers sandwiched between the cake layers and was topped with a shiny chocolate glaze. The cake stayed moist even in the windy environment and I liked the subtle bitterness from the coffee flavour.
The top tier of our sweets stand held little ramekins which were filled with a golden mango pudding and topped with pearls of sago. The pudding was silky smooth and super mango-y and although I don’t usually like sago, this time it went so well with the mango pudding and provided a nice textural contrast with the smoothness of the pudding. I’m one of those people who like to save the best thing for last so I was happy that this was the last dessert because it was my favourite by far!
Despite the cold and the wind, it was one of the best high teas I’ve had in Sydney, mainly because they had awesome scones! It costs a bit more than other high teas but the views are amazing and the service is also very friendly and welcoming. Make sure you book in advance because it fills up quickly and of course if it’s winter, try and get a table inside so you don’t freeze!
The Tea Room Gunners Barracks
End of Suakin Drive
Georges Heights NSW 2088
Ph: +61 2 8962 5900
Traditional morning and afternoon tea available daily from 11am
Lunch available from 12pm Monday to Friday, and 11.30am Saturday and Sunday
10% surcharge on weekends and public holidays