If you’re after an afternoon of true indulgence that will leave you feeling luxurious and full, you can’t go past a high tea. The perfect combination of savoury and sweet, these delicious meals are perfect to gift to someone on a special occasion, whether it’s for a birthday, wedding gift, anniversary gift or you just want to spend some quality time with them. With restaurants located in multiple areas around Australia, you’ll find the perfect tea room for sitting back in and relaxing with a cuppa tea and delightful treats.
What is high tea?
Whether you’ve experienced high tea before or not you may be wondering what it actually is and how it originated. In simple terms it is a meal eaten in the late afternoon that typically consists of small dishes, bread and butter and is served with tea. Although in modern day times, afternoon tea and high tea are often interchangeable, traditionally these were two separate meals. Afternoon tea was a British tradition usually enjoyed by the upper class and was the meal eaten between lunch and their late evening supper. It became a mini meal itself and was largely a social event enjoyed while seated in posh chairs or from the comfort of their lounges. However historically in Britain, high tea served a different purpose for the working classes. It was a meal for factory workers who needed a break from work by the early evening which included tea, bread, vegetables and occasionally meat.
A possibility for why it is called high tea is because it was eaten by the working class at a table in comparison to the upper classes who enjoyed their afternoon tea from the comfort of lounges and chairs. Fast forward to modern society and the meal is still enjoyed all over the world but the meaning has slightly changed. High Tea today is seen as a fun, social gourmet experience that involves enjoying a light meal of sandwiches, scones, pastries and cakes with tea. It is celebrated all over the world including in Britain where it has become quite the popular gourmet experience.
What to wear to high tea?
Depending on the location you choose to enjoy high tea, the dress code may vary. However usually most of our experiences require participants to wear smart-casual clothing. If you’re struggling to think of ideas of what to wear, we recommend for guys jeans or pants and a nice shirt, and for women a dress or nice top and skirt would be the perfect options.
There are a few venues that have important guidelines in place around dress code. The Hotel Windsor high tea requires smart casual clothing and no thongs, singlets or strappy tops are allowed. If you have chosen one of the high tea experiences on a boat (including the private high tea at sea options or high tea cruises) it is recommended you bring a jacket as weather conditions on the ocean can change and often there is a breeze. Please also wear flat shoes for the boat experiences to ensure your safety whilst on board.
Where to have high tea in Australia?
There are so many amazing tea rooms to experience all across Australia that you will be spoilt for choice. No matter if you’re looking for venues from Sydney or Melbourne, to Adelaide or Perth, you’ll find the perfect afternoon tea experience for you! We’ve pulled together a list of some of our customers favourite places to help make the choice a little easier.
The Hotel Windsor’s Afternoon Tea: this decadent high tea experience in Melbourne should be at the top of your list as they have been serving it since 1883. You’ll enjoy a three-tiered indulgent afternoon tea that includes a selection of sweets, savoury items served with your choice of tea and coffee as well as sparkling wine. Their high tea menu includes their famous scones, Ribbon sandwiches and an indulgent dessert buffet.
Gunners’ Barracks Sparkling High Tea: located in Mosman with stunning views over Sydney Harbour, this is an experience you’ll have to see to believe. Treat yourself and someone else to a beautiful high tea with a glass of Australian sparkling included. You’ll enjoy the traditional high tea of a three-tiered stand including sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries whilst soaking in 180 degree views of one of the most famous harbours in the world.
High tea at Spicers Balfour Hotel for 2: indulge in a modern day tea with beautiful surrounds in Brisbane. You and your plus one will get to enjoy sweet and savoury delicacies, an extensive tea menu by Chamellia and espresso coffees. Not only do you get to treat your taste buds but you’ll enjoy the experience in the hotel’s dining room surrounded by contemporary art or in the stylish courtyard with a wrap-around verandah. You’ll leave the day feeling inspired and want to take their high tea menu ideas home to try for yourself.
Traditional High Tea at the Team Room, QVB Building: If you’re looking for Sydney’s most opulent dining rooms, then the historic Queen Victoria Building is it. You’ll enjoy beautiful handmade cakes, pastries, finger sandwiches and scones whilst also sipping on your choice of fine Ronnefeldt tea or coffee served in Royal Albert china. It’s definitely one of the most famous and iconic high tea experiences in Australia.
Hot springs bathing and high tea with sparkling: This Mornington Peninsula experience combines 2 of our favourite things… hot springs and food! Enjoy a day of relaxation and indulgence as you soak away your cares in the natural thermal mineral water before enjoying a delightful award winning high tea experience at Country Manor.
Deluxe High Tea in the Blue Mountains: this delectable afternoon tea experience is served to your table whilst you enjoy breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains whilst surrounded by plush Victorian armchairs, lounges, two fireplaces and charming artworks. You’ll also get to enjoy sparkling wine along with your Blue Mountains high tea experience.
The ultimate private high tea for 2: located in Sterling, South Australia, this experience is fit for a king. This lavish afternoon tea is held in the beautiful surroundings of the Kings Chamber in a renowned country manor. Your high tea menu has been created especially by pastry chefs to include both hot and cold savoury selections, pastries and cakes to share for 2.
Private high tea at Sea: enjoy afternoon tea with a twist! Hop on board your private classic wooden sailboat and spend the afternoon sipping on champagne, indulging on high tea and seeing the highlights of Sydney Harbour. There is no more beautiful, intimate and elegant way to experience the harbour whilst also treating your taste buds to delicious food.
At RedBalloon you’ll find a wide range of high tea experiences at great prices. You don’t have to break the bank thanks to our high tea prices starting at $45 per person or $49 for 2 people. Although it isn’t free high tea, with prices those reasonable they almost are. It is also important that when you choose your experience you let the venue know of any dietary requirements especially if any guests need options that are gluten free, vegetarian or other. The venues will always try their best to accommodate your requirements to ensure everyone has the best and most memorable experience. Whether you’re looking for a gift or something delicious you can enjoy with someone special, you can’t go past RedBalloon’s selection of high teas.