Serenity was in the air when we arrived at the Sofitel, Brisbane city's only luxury 5 Star hotel. A restrained elegance is evident in the decor and atmosphere of all its public spaces. There's nothing garish or over the top here, nothing loud or vulgar. It's all class, but with a warmth that we appreciated on this cold but quiet Monday afternoon amidst the first blast of winter in Brisbane.
The stylish Club Sofitel Lounge. Image from Sofitel website.
Our booking was for their signature Sparkling High Tea, served between 1pm and 3pm daily in the Club Sofitel Lounge on the 30th floor. Now that's what I call 'high' tea. We were greeted at the door by one of their friendly staff and led to our table and low, comfy chairs. The Club Sofitel Lounge oozes cultured comfort, from the subdued lighting and patterned carpet to the crisp, white napery, banquette seating along the windows and pretty floral arrangements. The aesthetic is luxurious private club, but with a modern spin. With views over ANZAC Square and much of the city skyline, this was the ideal spot to sit back and kick off proceedings with a glass of bubbly. Which we did. Naturally.
The theme of contemporary sophistication continued with the arrival of our three-tiered high tea stand. No mismatched, shabby chic here. The silver stand was fitted with slate rather than the more common china plates. And the morsels that sat on each tier were culinary works of art.
We began with the middle tier: sandwiches that demonstrated what an art form sandwiches have become since the Earl of Sandwich first slapped some meat between two slices of bread and lent his name to the resultant treat. These brown and white fingers tied in rose and blue ribbons were filled with salmon with mayonnaise & cress; roast beef with zingy horseradish cream; tangy creamy egg with mustard & cucumber; and tandoori chicken with fresh minted cucumber yoghurt. They were all delightful, with the egg, mustard and cucumber the winner on points.
Perfect, plump scones sat seductively on the lower tier, accompanied by chantilly cream, berry jam and marmalade, and these were our second course. My friend, who is something of a connoisseur of marmalade, declared it the best she'd ever eaten. The scones were slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside — high tea heaven.
Of course, the pièce de résistance of any high tea is the top tier. In this case a selection of exquisite French pastries from the Sofitel's French Patisserie Chef, Joel Helot, tempted us with their sweet siren songs. And who were we to resist their invitation?
The signature raspberry pantone macaron was a colourful, crisp confection with seedless raspberries and highlighting the colours of rose quartz and serenity. The mango cheesecake dome was tropical summer in a mouthful and the elegant glass verrine trifle lived up to its name and visual promise. The rocky road waffle cone was almost too pretty to eat; a crunchy waffle exterior filled with chocolate ganache and pistachios, topped with a white chocolate ball and tiny pink 'pearls', and adorned with a curling ribbon of chocolate. Its presentation demonstrated all the fine attention to detail of a first rate pâtissier and it was a sublime union of flavours and textures.
The staff here are what you should expect of a luxury 5 star hotel: attentive, accommodating, polite and professional. But ours were something more, they were all genuinely friendly, and made us feel right at home.
Sofitel's high teas come in four flavours:
Sublime High Tea - $46
Sparkling High Tea (with a glass of sparkling wine on arrival) - $55
Enchanting High Tea (with a glass of Mumm Cordon Rouge on arrival) - $65
Le Goûter High Tea (with French hot chocolate, gougeres, rillettes, baguette & brie with iconic French nutella crepes & signature French pastries from the High Tea menu) - $46
All come with your choice of tea or coffee and are available from 1pm - 3pm daily in Club Sofitel Lounge and from 2pm – 4pm daily in Cuvée Lounge Bar.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire or to book.
This is an exquisite high tea that brings a touch of French chic to that very English institution of high tea. I recommend you let the Sofitel take your high tea experience to new heights. Bon appétit.