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High Tea at Vaucluse Estate

Home > Sydney > Afternoon Tea | Gifts | High Tea | Restaurants
by Kate Reynolds (subscribe)
Kate is a Melbournite who now calls Sydney home. She's at her happiest when there's halloumi on the brunch menu and there's a dog to give belly rubs to. Read her work at
Published December 4th 2022
The joy of eating tiny food
Nestled away in Sydney's eastern suburbs is a not-so-hidden gem. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and lush grounds is Vaucluse House - one of the few remaining 19th-century mansions left in Sydney. It's worth a visit to Vaucluse just to wander the tranquil gardens and historic estate - but we're not here for a history lesson.

vaucluse, vaucluse estate, sydney gardens, high tea, eastern suburbs,
The beautiful gardens of Vaucluse Estate

We're here for high tea.

The restaurant may not be as old as the estate - but it's beautiful nonetheless. It's bright and airy with tables both indoors and outside. Lush green plants and vibrant orchids are arranged in the centre of the room, and stained glass windows give the space a classy, almost art-deco touch. It's a popular venue for weddings and bridal shows - the latter which filled half the restaurant the day we dined.

vaucluse, vaucluse estate, sydney gardens, high tea, eastern suburbs,
The interior of the high tea house at Vaucluse Estate

vaucluse, vaucluse estate, sydney gardens, high tea, eastern suburbs,
The restaurant is bright and airy

You can order a-la-carte - there's everything from beef burgers to seared scallops and pickled hiramasa kingfish, but the real drawcard here is their elegant high tea. Be warned - come here with an empty stomach. Tiny food can be deceptive, but there's plenty to fill you up.

When you arrive you'll be asked if you want tea or coffee - and there are plenty of teas to choose from. I ordered a freshly brewed pot of Earl Grey to accompany my high tea but you can also order lemongrass and ginger, chai, Japanese Sencha, green tea, peppermint, English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast.

vaucluse, vaucluse estate, sydney gardens, high tea, eastern suburbs,
We love a tiered serving platter

Our high tea then arrived in traditional tiered serving platters with a great selection of sweet and savoury delights. Finger sandwiches - including cucumber, egg salad and chicken tarragon, a tomato tarte tatin, mushroom brioche roll, mushroom arancini and a chicken and leek pithivier - a tasty sort of pastry, as well as a salmon rillette with a brioche croute.

As I was pregnant at the time, the team kindly made a few swaps to accommodate, and I enjoyed avocado on a crunchy style lavosh biscuit, and an extra mushroom brioche bun. Highlights of the savoury dishes were the tomato tarte tatin - a beautiful sweetness lingered over this savoury morsel and I could have easily devoured a whole plate of them.

The mushroom brioche was also delicious - hovering in between savoury and sweet, like a delicious umami doughnut. I'm also a sucker for a finger sandwich, and the cucumber in particular was refreshing and light.

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Finger sandwiches at high tea - so elegant!

To the sweet treats.

The menu of the day included a yellow macaron, citrus cheesecake, caramelised apple and toffee eclair, meringue with mascarpone and a chocolate and macadamia tart.

The team kindly swapped out all the not-so-pregnancy-friendly morsels (ie, the ones with soft cheeses) and I enjoyed a wickedly sweet and tart apricot jube-like jelly, and a small doughnut with a sweet berry jam inside.

The toffee eclair was off the charts delicious - crunchy toffee contrasting the soft custard and apple flavour shining through. The doughnut was also a surprise hit - the berry filling was tangy and tasty.

vaucluse, vaucluse estate, sydney gardens, high tea, eastern suburbs,
The menu for the day

Initially we commented that the scones that were listed on the menu did not come out on our high tea tray but we weren't particularly phased at this point, as the food so far had been more than enough to fill us up.

Hot tip - the scones come afterwards. Our lovely waitress asked us if we were ready for our scones, and they came with a beautiful strawberry preserve and cream. If I'm honest, the scones were a little bit of a letdown - quite hard on the outside and a strange aftertaste, not quite enough jam and cream for generous lashings, and if I were to go again I'd opt instead for some extra finger sandwiches that were offered to us.

scones, vaucluse, vaucluse estate, sydney gardens, high tea, eastern suburbs,
You know the jam is good when you can still see the fruit

Nonetheless, it was a highly enjoyable meal in a beautiful setting. For $60 per person, it was money well spent. You can also opt to add a glass of sparkling wine, a cocktail, or a glass of champagne (for an additional cost) to your high tea experience - though we were quite content with just tea and coffee.

vaucluse, vaucluse estate, sydney gardens, high tea, eastern suburbs,
Vaucluse Estate is the perfect location for interstate or international guests visiting Sydney

High tea and Vaucluse Estate is perfect for couples enjoying a celebratory brunch, elegant bridal showers or hen's parties, or for bringing out-of-towners for something special, Sydney style. You could even opt for a family high tea, as kids under 12 can enjoy the $45 kids high tea menu.
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Why? For an elegant high tea experience
Where: Vaucluse
Cost: from $60 pp
Your Comment
High teas are always special and even more so in historic and beautiful buildings.
by Gayle Beveridge-Marien (score: 4|10397) 39 days ago
So glad you had a great time, I was there on Sunday 04.12.22 and was disappointed no end, had to ask 5 times for a glass of water and then had to ask for the glass to be filled, not half a glass pls. The scones were nice and hot but only enough cream for one scone per 4 people and the scones were long gone by the time the tea came about 15 minutes later, so disappointed with the poor service - not silver - as there were definately not enough staff available. Just the tip of the iceberg, We ordered vegetarian and got fish, fish and more fish, not vegetarian. Dont need to go back again.
by rampa (score: 1|26) 63 days ago
All that for only $60......they are joking.......a pathetically small offering......
and you get to see so much of the serving plates, too !
I would suggest that anyone thinking of attending FILLS UP FIRST
(not me, I wouldn't bother).
by suzap (score: 0|2) 62 days ago
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