High tea done three ways at Primus Hotel
Enter a world of art deco grandeur at the new Primus Hotel on Pitt Street in Sydney’s CBD. Opaque glass tiles intricately line the high ceiling, with burgundy chez lounges and retro armchairs scattered across the room. Large marble totems stand tall in the middle of the room and a large geometric patterned rug covers the floor.
The lighting is quite stark inside, so much so I squint as the halogens beam down on the lobby. It prevents a sense of warmth and intimacy, a real contrast to the soft furnishings that seem so inviting.
The placement of tables and chairs also feels a little clunky. Scanning the room, there is no clear distinction as to where high tea patrons are meant to sit. Surrounding us in the lobby are clusters of casual bar goers and hotel guests either checking in or out.
What this space partially lacks in atmosphere however is made up for in customer service. The doorman warmly welcomes my friend and I as we enter the foyer and two separate floor staff greet us before we are met by our waitress who guides us to a table.
Our Champagne glasses are generously filled with Verve Clique as we wait just a short while for our afternoon tea to arrive.
The Primus Hotel offers three bespoke menus, all designed by Executive Chef Ryan Hong. They start at $45 for food only or $55 with either a glass of Chandon or a beer. They also have a premium offer that includes a glass of Veuve Clicquot or a cocktail for $65.
Guests can choose from the ‘Zen High Tea’, an Asian inspired menu with items including peking duck pancakes, pork bao, Thai beef salad and green tea mousse. Then there is the ‘Gentlemen’s High Tea’, complete with wagyu sliders, fried chicken wings, beef and burgundy pies and toasties.
We opt for the ‘The Wilmot’, a menu paying homage to British high tea traditionalism. Buttery scones and egg and cucumber sandwiches are offered alongside a tempting array of miniature sweets.
A four-tied stand of sweet and savoury delights is placed on our table, in all of its glory.
Our waitress explains that the curried egg and smoked salmon sandwiches are best eaten first. A sensible move as each salty, creamy mouthful works as the perfect pairing to what remains of our glass of bubbles.
There are several highlights when it comes to the sweet treats. One in particular is the vanilla cheesecake. Served in individual mason jars, each little pot is generously topped with a delicious crumble and chunks of charred pineapple. A welcomed offset to an otherwise rich dessert.
If that doesn’t take your fancy then the chocolate popcorn mousse cake certainly will. For a small serving this cake is full of flavour. Four unique textures of chocolate are layered one on top of each other. A small nugget of salted caramel popcorn glistens alluringly on top.
Primus hotel also offers an interesting take on the traditional scones. Hints of lemon and white chocolate are delicately interwoven into the scone mixture. The ‘jam’ is more of a compote, comprised of stewed rhubarb, strawberry and gin. Truth be told, I could have eaten this directly from the jar if there weren’t other people in the room.
On offer is also an impressive selection of freshly brewed teas. You can keep it classic with a pot of English Breakfast, or go for something a little more adventurous like Bombay Chai or an Orchard Vanilla blend.
Despite having consumed a lot of food in a single sitting, at no point am I faced with palate fatigue. Each mouthful is interesting and astutely thought out so as to avoid the dreaded sugar coma.
A lacklustre ambiance should not turn you off a visit to Primus Hotel for a spot of high tea. Pick a cold and drizzly afternoon to enjoy a display of naughty-but-nice delights.
We also hear they have an excellent rooftop pool bar should you fancy booking yourself in for a night. Come summer it’ll surely be a hot ticket.
High Tea at the Primus Hotel runs every day from 3-5pm. To make a reservation make sure to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Primus Hotel, Sydney
339 Pitt Street, Sydney
02 8027 8000