Tea and cake, anyone? Creature comforts await you at this new InterContinental High Tea experience.
InterContinental Sydney has recently announced a complete seasonal overhaul of its iconic High Tea menus, infusing the best of winter produce, design and technique into a new culinary experience. Designed by Head Pastry Chef, Simon Veauvy, along with the hotel’s onsite pastry team, two new unique High Tea offerings are now available, including the Monday to Friday three-tiered stands and the weekend High Tea Buffet. Both InterContinental High Tea menus have been recreated for expert pairing with the Ronnefeldt tea library, alongside redesigned theming and buffet set-up for a sophisticated soiree inside The Cortile.
On a sunny winter’s afternoon we make the trip into this iconic Sydney hotel for the weekend High Tea Buffet experience.
Taking our seats in the comfortable dining area, we decided to work our way around this opulent and perfectly presented buffet the traditional way – savoury to sweet. After all, how can you not experience High Tea without finger sandwiches? We were first offered a choice of chicken pesto or egg and cucumber. The chicken sandwiches packed a flavourful punch with succulent pieces of chicken and pieces of juicy sun dried tomatoes. The egg sandwiches were less inviting, simply egg and cucumber with not much more flavour to supplement the egg. Winner winner chicken dinner.
The smoked salmon wraps with baby spinach and lemon cream cheese were beautifully presented with a generous serving of smoked salmon in each bite. However the wraps required much more of the cream cheese and a little less of the fibrous green spinach. High tea isn’t the chance to meet your daily greens quota after all.
Along with the classic savoury finger sandwiches, the InterContinental have added a few warming extras. Such dishes include the incredibly delicious and decadent shiitake and buffalo mozzarella arancini. Whilst the mouth watering arancini balls were lusciously gooey, go easy on the aioli sauce. It packs a bit of an extreme garlic punch. Not so ideal if smooches with your significant other are on the cards later. We also enjoyed gourmet harissa lamb pies. Crispy, buttery pastry encased a good amount of chunky vegetables and succulent lamb with just the right amount of spice.
The last savoury dish was a curious one and we couldn’t quite work out if we liked it or not. The moroccan cous cous with pine nuts, preserved lemon and coriander had a citrus bite to it with some really good lemon flavour and the pine nuts added a nice textural element. But the cous cous itself seemed rather dry, lacking a lot of moisture despite the big chunks of preserved lemon tossed throughout.
Let’s be honest, most of us crave the crumbly scones and sweet macarons when embarking on a High Tea experience (or is that just my sweet tooth talking?). The InterContinental High Tea buffet didn’t disappoint when it came to the sweet dishes – rather, they completely outdid themselves. We started off warm and opted to try the homemade orange crepes. Served alongside syrup, sugar, lemon and Nutella, these crepes were a breakfast lovers dream. Whilst still perfectly thin and light, they packed plenty of flavour (though surprisingly, no orange flavour that we could make out). The crepes were my downfall – I insisted on going back for seconds.
You will likely find yourself unbuttoning your jeans and taking a breather mid way through your High Tea experience. The winter menu boasts heavy flavours, enough to make you want to retreat into a cave after tea for hibernation. When you inevitably get to that point, take a sip of the Iced Earl Grey Tea with Fresh Mint and Lime. Light on the palate, it’s a blend of delicate and exotic flavours, preparing you for the decadent ride ahead.
The sweet treats buffet was a treat for all the senses. A colourful, fantastical vision, we didn’t know where to start. So we grabbed one (or two) of everything and munched our way through some of the finest desserts I’ve been lucky to taste. We were offered a choice of two macarons – salted caramel and raspberry. Both rattled the teeth with their extraordinary sweetness yet the flavours were 10/10. The raspberry macaron boasted a slight tartness against the profuse sweetness that carried through the flavour whilst the salted caramel was creamy and luscious, with just the right amount of salt amongst the caramel.
The only disappointment in the sweet section were the fresh lemon madelines. You think of light and airy little cakes when you think of traditional madeleines though unfortunately these ones were rather try and dense. The hard casing of chocolate was a welcome addition and the bites didn’t lack that tried and true citrus flavour. However, it was not enough to make up for the unfortunate texture.
The roasted pineapple, passionfruit and milk chocolate cake were little slices of tropical heaven. They were rather dense, like a pound cake. But seemingly had been soaked in liquid and were therefore still incredibly moist. Another tropical delight was the caramel mascarpone, lychee and mango cups – rich yet still refreshing. The tropical style sweets were a welcome addition to the winter menu. They freshened the palate after indulging in heavy chocolate and cream and had us dreaming of spring and summer to come.
The milk chocolate, coconut and ginger creme brûlée was puzzling to us. It’s flavours weren’t particularly succinct and we were let down by the soft top. What’s a creme brûleée without that satisfying crunch your spoon makes against the caramalised surface?
For all my fellow chocolate lovers out there, rest assured there’s something for you as well. The only way to describe the Nutty Caramel and Milk Chocolate Tartlet is an explosion of chocolate, with a rich chocolate crust that still held that deep cocoa flavour. The Walnut Dark Chocolate Flourless Cookies were chewy and sticky whilst being overwhelmingly rich. You won’t be eating the entire box of these cookies, one will satisfy those cravings.
With plenty of hits and only a few misses, High Tea connoisseurs and those with a sweet tooth are encouraged to make their way into the InterContinental for a comforting culinary experience. After all, is there anything more resorting to the soul than than a cup of tea and cake? We think not.
Pricing and availability:
Three-tiered InterContinental High Tea
Available Monday to Friday, 12:00pm to 4:00pm.
Pricing: $60.00 per person including a glass of sparkling wine; $75.00 per person including a glass of Champagne.
Further information and menus can be found here.
Weekend InterContinental High Tea Buffet
Available Saturday and Sundays, seatings 1:00pm to 2:30pm and 3:00pm to 4:30pm.
Pricing: $65.00 per person with a glass of sparkling wine; $80.00 per person with a glass of Champagne.
Full menu available here.
117 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
To make a reservation, email via email@example.com