Sunday, August 27, 2006

Victoria Room, Victoria St, Darlinghurst

Victoria Room, Victoria St, Darlinghurst
Sunday 27 August, 2006

This has got to be one of the most fabulous ways to spend an afternoon with friends. Located in the heart of Victoria St, Darlinghurst, The Victoria Room is decadent and over the top. Enter via the discreet double doors at street level and then attempt to climb the dimly lit staircase with tea lights on one side. It's dark and for a first time visitor a little overwhelming.

It's not long before you hear the hum & buzz of the large open space. Female voices, the clink of champagne flutes and sound of cutlery. The noise escalates as you reach the top of the staircase. There's a desk positioned at the top of the stairs and as you turn left it hits you. The plush, dark tones, the wallpaper, the ambiance, the old lamps, leather lounges and regal chairs. It's OTT and it's fabulous.

The other element that stands out is that the place is packed - there are no spare tables for afternoon tea - so it is strongly advised you book well in advance. Fortunately we had a booking at 3.30pm and were led to our table. You can't help but look in every direction as there is so much to see. The other thing that stands out is the outfits the staff are in - gorgeous white kaftan tops with silver sequins and black pants. It's very appropriate as the Victoria Room can get very warm (even though they have about 20 fans hanging off the ceiling).

There are two options for afternoon tea - Standard High Tea for $25 pp or the Royal Tea for $35 pp - the only difference between the two is the Royal Tea comes with a glass of Domaine Chandon. Yes please.

The menu lists all the afternoon tea offerings and on the reverse side provides some guidelines for etiquette which states,

"Pick up your cup and saucer together - holding the saucer in one hand and cup in the other. The best way to hold a tea cup is to slip your index finger through the handle, up to almost the first knuckle, then balance and secure the cup by placing your thumb on the top of the handle and allowing the bottom of the handle to rest on your middle finger. Hold the cup lightly, by the handle - your pinky doesn't have to be extended (Contrary to popular belief, the ring and pinkie fingers should not be extended, but should rest by curving gently back toward your wrist). Hold the saucer under your cup while you sip your tea (lest you should spill or dribble).

When stirring your tea, don't make noises by clinking the sides of the cup while stirring. Gently swish the tea back and forth being careful no to touch the sides of your cup if possible. Never leave your spoon in the cup and be sure not to sip your tea from the spoon either. After stirring, place your spoon quietly on the saucer, behind the cup, on the right hand side under the handle.

Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea. Although some pour their milk in the cup first, it is probably better to pour the milk in the tea after it is in the cup in order to get the correct amount.

When serving lemon with tea, use lemon slices, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or have the tea server neatly place a slice in the tea cup after the tea has been poured. Be sure never to add lemon with milk since the lemon's citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle."

On a beautiful silver tray with three levels we received:

Afternoon Tea Sandwiches - Chicken & Wild Herbs, Cucumber, Crème Fraiche & Dill, Smoked Salmon with fresh Rocket, Lemon & Capers
Scones & Conserve - Date & Plain Scones served with Triple Berry Conserve & Chantilly Cream
Assorted Sweeties - Mini Florentine, Flourless Orange & Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Cup Cake topped with Pink Icing & Confetti, Passionfruit Yo-Yo

It was so relaxing to kick back with friends and enjoy all these treats. The service was attentive, although they didn't bring out the hot water for our second cup of tea until we were ready to leave. A minor gripe for such an immpresive afternoon.

I loved it and will definitely return.

Victoria Room - 235 Victoria St, Darlinghurst - (02) 9357 4488


Blogger Fromage said...

Hey, I don't know if it's by choice (probably is seeing the great detail of your blog) but I thought I'd post. (A foodie following foodie links on the web, that's how I got here, plus I'm from Sydney too and am absolutely obsessed about food)

I've been to the Victoria room 2 times, once in the afternoon for high tea and once at night for drinks. Both times were memorable. I recall the blindingnessness of the sun as I stepped out (it was quite dark in there). Those sandwhiches were great, thanks for the post, it reminded me that we could have high tea there... I am craving scones right now and it's like 9:20pm!

9:24 pm  
Blogger Steph said...

Hi fromage,
I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog.
A few friends and I are on a quest to find the best high tea? Next on our list is the Crossroads Bar at Swissotel and Gunners Barracks. Any other suggestions?

9:03 am  

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