It was a wet dreary day dodging the rain drops and the matinee session has finished at the Princess Theatre, so we decided to take a detour before getting on the train and heading home to the chaos of our everyday lives. The destination was the Windsor for a cup of coffee in luxurious surroundings. Sitting under the umbrellas in the drizzling rain that lined the footpath near the theatre didn't really appeal as we made our way down the street.
Everybody's heard about the Windsor's high tea on a Sunday afternoon but at around $79.00 a head it didn't quite fit into our budget. However, we still needed a "pick me up" to ward off the cold, so into the Windsor we went in search of a hot coffee. There was a great milling of people in the stately foyer of the hotel; patrons were obviously in the process of leaving the last sitting of the high tea. Everyone seemed relaxed and happy as they stood around chatting. We didn't actually think that the now rapidly emptying dining room would still be accepting guests but we were met with warm smiles when we asked if we could order a cappuccino.
The staff member nodded and reminded us that the Windsor was famous for its teas and wouldn't we like to try one. Her recommendation was "Malabar Chai" which was described in the menu as a spiced tea that "was created in India and contains the most exotic mix of spices; cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, ginger and rose petals with a lovely light sweet finish". We were ushered to the comfortable white leather settees that lined one side of the dining room and we watched the staff rapidly resetting the dining tables as we sank into our seats.
There was a feeling of absolute luxury as we were each presented with a fine china cup and saucer with the tea cup placed meticulously with its handle pointing to the right side of each saucer. The porcelain cups were both simple and elegant, we chatted quietly as we waited for our freshly brewed tea to arrive. The tea arrived in style - we each were presented with two silver pots one with tea and a smaller one with extra hot water on a silver tray.
The tea was exquisite, the spicy aroma and sweet taste of tea warmed the cockles of our hearts. There was a sense of abundance and plenty as we poured 3 cups of tea from our individual pots, and slowly sipped while soaking up the atmosphere. And all for $7.50.