Posted November 2, 2014 by Georgia Swanborough in Desserts & Sweets

Sydney’s Best High Teas with a Difference

High Tea (Afternoon Tea) is the perfect indulgent treat that you can share with a friend or two, but if you’re a bit tired from traditional high tea, then move oolong, because I’ve compiled a list of high teas around Sydney that are off the beaten track, or just a little different from the norm.

  • Uniqueness – How does the venue stand out among the rest
  • Food – Range, balance and quality
  • Drinks – Variety and quality of the tea and any additional drinks served
  • Atmosphere
  • Staff
  • Value for money
  • Overall Rating

The Tea Cosy, The Rocks

$35 per person

Overall Rating: 8.16

The Tea Cosy is an unassuming little cafe in The Rocks. You definitely need to keep an eye out for it because it is tucked away and easy to miss. As you walk through the doors, and pass an interesting Celtic shop on your right, you will notice the number of cosy-covered teapots placed down the stairs in front of you. We walked past the stairs and the narrow hallway opened up into another room, with brick wall interiors and an eclectic mix of tea pots, framed photos and collection of small silver spoons hanging from the walls.

The Tea Cosy, The Rocks

We were seated outside in the sunny courtyard for our high tea and were given options for drinks, scones and jams. There were four different types of scones to choose from; plain, cheese, current and cherry. We decided to try one of each. We then had a selection of nine different jams to choose from. We decided on the Rhubarb and Ginger and the Strawberry and Vanilla. And finally we had a choice of two drinks. First up was tea, of course. I chose English Breakfast. I’m a simple being. Can’t go past the classics! And we couldn’t say no to the selection of iced teas to finish off the meal. I tell you, this menu was an indecisive person’s worst nightmare. And I’m a classic example. But once you make all the tough decisions, the variety is more than worth it.

Menu Breakdown:

Tuna with cucumber & mayo
Curried egg with tomato
Ham, cheese, tomato & dijon mayo
Cucumber & cream cheese

Choice of flavoured scones.
Choice of two jams and cream.
Chocolate tart
Lemon meringue tart

Choice of two drinks per person.


Tea Cosy

Scones at High Tea
Scones with cream and strawberry & vanilla jam.
Sandwiches: Tuna, mayo and cucumber, curried egg and tomato, ham, cheese, tomato and dijon mayo, and cucumber and cream cheese.

Tea Cosy High Tea

Ice Tea
Iced Tea: Lemon Grass and Ginger w/ Apple & Lemon Lime Chiller.

Value for money: 9
I left there with a belly stuffed full of food and we couldn’t even finish it all.
Uniqueness: 7
The homemade tea cosies definitely offer something a little different. It definitely as the slight feel as if you’ve nipped over to your grandmas house for tea, but in the best way possible. If The Tea Cosy was your grandma she’d be knitting you jumpers on every birthday and giving you extra chocolate biscuits when your mum wasn’t looking.
Food: 7.5
Simple but yummy! My highlights were the cute little tarts that were packed with flavour.
Drinks: 9.5
So many options! The selection of tea was immense, it even had the option for Cherry Ripe and Nanna’s Apple Pie flavours. The Iced Teas were also delicious. Not too sweet and super refreshing.
Atmosphere: 7
It was clear that we chose to eat at The Tea Cosy at the quietest time of the day. I mean it’s pretty unusual to be eating high tea in the morning, so we can’t hold that against them.
Staff: 9
The staff were extremely smiley and attentive. I guess going to work in the morning surrounded by tea, cakes and the smell of fresh scones is enough to put anyone in a pretty good mood.

The Tea Cosy
33 George Street, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9247 4955
Web: theteacosy.com.au
The Tea Cosy on Urbanspoon

Burnt Orange, Mosman

Burnt Orange High Tea – $35 per person
Sparkling High Tea – $45 per person (incl. glass of sparkling wine)

Overall Rating: 8.5

What can I say? This place truly is magical. In this setting, with the backdrop of Sydney Harbour, this is the ideal place to relax and unwind over High Tea. Driving down Middle Head Road I almost thought I had missed it. It felt like I had well and truly left Sydney and was driving toward a beach house for a holiday. I finally found where I was going, but the feeling of being on holiday stayed with me. Slightly hidden from the road, Burnt Orange is an oasis.View at Burnt Orange

High Tea with a view

Menu breakdown:
Pumpkin & goat’s cheese tart with carrot jam
Smoked salmon on brioche with avruga caviar & herb ricotta
Poached chicken & tarragon on Avoca brown bread

Freshly baked scones with homemade jams & cream
Salted caramel and chocolate tart
Moroccan orange & almond cake with sugared almonds
Classic lemon tart with blueberries & cream

High Tea at Burnt Orange

Burnt Orange High Tea High Tea at Burnt Orange

Burnt Orange
Top left: Table with a view. Top right: Burnt Orange homemade mixed berry jam.
Bottom left: Collection of teapots. Bottom right: The iconic Burnt Orange bicycle.

Burnt Orange also has a retail store in the interior of the cafe. Not only do they sell gift items, homewares and other bits and bobs, but they also sell their own baked goods and the delicious jam that is served with the high tea.

Value for money: 9
The price you pay for, not only the quality of food, but also the atmosphere and experience doesn’t get much better than this. Well worth every penny and probably a little more.
Uniqueness: 8
A cafe in a historic location, harbour views, amazing food and an award-winning gift shop all in one? Can’t ask for much more than that.
Food: 9
Everything served in the Burnt Orange High Tea was made on site, including the jam and cream, and it really adds to the whole experience. Perfect balance of sweet and savoury treats.
Drinks: 7
The Burnt Orange High Tea includes a choice of tea or coffee, and for a little extra, can include a glass of sparkling wine. The range of tea is a little on the small side, but it still covers all the classics.
Atmosphere: 10
I arrived at Burnt Orange at about 9:30am and there was already a fair few tables occupied. The view is enough to put anyone in a great mood, and I think it was rubbing off on everyone in the cafe.
Staff: 8
The staff were cheerful, friendly and helpful.

Burnt Orange
1108/1109 Middle Head Rd, Mosman, NSW
Phone: (02) 9969 1120
Web: burntorange.com.au
Burnt Orange on Urbanspoon


Food Society, Darlinghurst

$45 with premium tea
$55 with premium tea and French sparkling wine
$60 with premium tea and a signature chilled tea cocktails
$65 with premium tea and Veuve Cliquot

Overall Rating: 8.38

There is something really quirky and fun about The Food Society. It probably has something to do with the mix-matched wooden chairs, Turkish-style rugs, and hand-knitted tea cosies. It’s a really warm and inviting place and the perfect spot to bring a bunch of friends and enjoy a long afternoon tea. And some cocktails. Maybe a few more cocktails. And some dinner… because you’ve probably already spent 4 hours here, you’ve started to get hungry again and you’re wondering where all the time has gone.

The Food Society have named their “Vodka High Tea” due to their extensive list of tea-based cocktails that match perfectly with the food. I definitely recommend having premium high tea that includes a cocktail in order to gain the full experience.

High Tea at the Food Society

Finger Sandwiches at The Food Society


High Tea and Cocktails Desserts at Food Society High Tea

Desserts at Food Society High Tea


Value for money: 8
For the quality and amount of food that is put on your table, there isn’t much to complain about the price. A little more expensive than other high tea I visited, but definitely worth it.
Uniqueness: 8
Part of the score for uniqueness was the food. It was quite different to the other high teas I’ve experienced, but I definitely welcomed the change. Despite the size of each canape, so much detail and care has gone into developing creating something pretty special.
Food: 9.5
Despite the size of each canape, so much detail and care has gone into developing creating something pretty special.
Drinks: 8
The number and type of drink you receive depends on the price you pay. On our visit we had the High Tea with a signature cocktail, the Watermelon Caprioska, which was sweet and thirst-quenching despite its alcohol content. There was also a wide selection of teas to choose from.
Atmosphere and Staff: N/A
We attended Food Society while it was closed to the public, we were served by Brendan, the… however, and he was very kind and helpful. The atmosphere was pretty great, if I do say so myself (we were the only customers…)

The Food Society
91 Riley Street, Darlinghurst, NSW
Phone: (02) 8090 3462
Web: foodsociety.com.au
Food Society on Urbanspoon

The Tea Room, Sydney

Oriental Afternoon tea for two: $88 ($44 per person)

Overall Rating: 8.1

Walking into The Tea Room I felt as though I was about to attend a ball for the British high society, and that’s how you’re treated. A little like royalty. The room is extravagant but elegant, and the food was much the same.
Oriental High Tea at The Tea Room

Menu Breakdown:
Finger sandwiches
Peking duck pancake
Scallop and ginger dumpling
Shiitake mushroom and chicken pastry
Crab, coriander and lime cone
Parmesan shortbread, avocado, tomato and white anchovy.

Quong Tart Lychee and lime macaroon

Scones with preserve and clotted cream

Oriental High Tea at The Tea Room

Oriental High Tea at The Tea Room Oriental High Tea at The Tea Room

Oriental High Tea at The Tea Room

Oriental High Tea at The Tea Room

Oriental High Tea at The Tea Room

Value for money: 8
The quantity of food was generous and the quality was great. As I’ve said, it definitely helps when everything is house made.
Uniqueness: 8
This was the first I’d heard of an oriental high tea. The room also made it feel like you’d stepped into the British high society.
Food: 7.5
After eating so much high tea over the past few weeks, it was definitely a nice change to have Asian inspired canapes on the stand. The only thing that I was a little disappointed with were the sandwiches. Nice, but nothing special. It would have been an opportunity to do something really interesting with the idea of the classic high tea finger sandwich with Asian inspired flavours.
Drinks: 9
If I counted correctly, there are approximately 29 different teas on offer at The Tea Room, which I have to say I was extremely impressed by. Given the oriental theme, I decided to go with the “Jasmine Pearls”, which was described on the menu as “the leaves of this rare specialty from China’s Fujian region are plucked by hand and hand rolled into small balls. Flavoured with fresh picked jasmine flowers, lending its unusual and delicate flowery aroma.”
Atmosphere: 7
Unfortunately, because of the time of day, the Tearoom wasn’t as bustling as I would have liked to experience it. The room itself is very beautiful, but my only criticism is it felt a little hotel-like. It didn’t have the charm that I had hoped for.
Staff: 9
The staff member I was served by was not only helpful but also happy to have a bit of a chat which is always nice, especially when the venue is quiet.

The Tea Room
Queen Victoria Building
Level 3 N End 455 George St, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9283 7279
Web: thetearoom.com.au
The Tea Room QVB on Urbanspoon

I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of the above establishments


Georgia Swanborough

Although Georgia was born and raised in Sydney, her strong passion for travel has taken her on many journeys further afield. Her love of food and adventurous nature means she’s happy to try just about anything. Sit her in a café anywhere in the world with good music and a cup of tea and she’ll be content. As long as she can bring her cats, Biggie and Lulu.