Located in the tourist-laden district of The Rocks, visiting Shangri-La Hotel makes me feel like a tourist in my own city. It’s always wonderful to see your own city through fresh eyes and it’s been forever since I’ve set foot in this end of town.
Shangri-La offers both the traditional high tea and a decadent chocolate high tea! The traditional high tea is $42 (add $8 for a glass of Chandon NV Brut, or add $20 for a glass of Taittinger Brut). The chocolate high tea features an assortment of ten housemade chocolate desserts and is $62 for two.
Unlike other dedicated afternoon tea menus, the selection of tea here only spans half a page. Shangri-La hotels have partnered with Dilmah so while it’s not an extensive menu, the offering is comfortingly familiar and does cover all the bases. The teas on offer include:
The Original Earl Gray
Natural Ceylon Ginger Tea
Rose with French Vanilla
Single Estate Darjeeling
Single Estate Assam
Blueberry & Pomegranate
Lychee with Rose and Almond
Italian Almond TeaGreen Tea
Green Tea with Jasmine Flowers
Ceylon Young Hyson Green Tea
Sencha Green Extra Special
Sencha with Peppermint and CinnamonInfusions
Pure Peppermint Leaves
Pure Chamomile Flowers
Rosemary with Peppermint LeavesOolong Tea
Single Estate Oolong Leaf Tea
The waitress catches on that I’m really into the teas and offers a sample of the tea leaves beside each teapot. It’s a lovely touch – being able to smell the distinct fragrance of the tea leaves before it is steeped helps you to appreciate the complexity of each sip.
The lounge chairs are well spaced apart and the subdued ambiance is the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of relaxation and good conversation.
Our three tiers of goodness don’t take long to arrive. On the bottom tier are tea soaked fruit scones and plain buttermilk scones, served with housemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. These classics are moreishly divine.
The tier above feature a selection of finger sandwiches. The crisp sharp flavours of the chicken and celery is a favourite, closely followed by the smoked salmon sandwich wheels.
The sweets tier is exquisite in presentation and quite simply steals the spotlight. The lemon meringue tartlets feature dainty clouds of delicately piped meringue. The lemon curd is irresistibly luscious with a bright zing.
Unfortunately, the rose and raspberry buttercream macarons look gorgeous but the shells are hollow and too crusty to be enjoyable.
The passionfruit posset with tropical fruit compote are lots of fun, I especially love the pop of mango pearls. There are also mini dark chocolate brownies topped with dark chocolate creme anglaise and dark chocolate ganache which is so intensely rich, I wish I still had the posset to balance it out with.
It seems a shame that afternoon tea is served at the Lobby Lounge on the ground floor when spectacular harbour views await upstairs, but seeing as afternoon tea fills the gap between lunch and dinner, it’s only appropriate to linger at Shangri-La for a big longer and head up to the 36th floor to Blu Bar for pre-dinner cocktails.
The Lobby Lounge
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, NSW
Phone: (02) 9250 6144
Afternoon Tea is available 1 – 5pm daily.
Jenius dined as guests of Shangri-La Hotel and Horizon Communication Group