Sunday, November 05, 2006

QVB Tearooms, Queen Victoria Building, George St, Sydney


QVB Tearooms, Queen Victoria Building, George St, Sydney
Sunday 5 November, 2006

Some friends and I are on a mission to find the best afternoon tea in Sydney - to date we have visited The Sir Stamford for their chocolate high tea and the Victoria Room for high tea.

Today's venue was located on Level 3 of the Queen Victoria Building. To find the tearooms you catch the lift to Level 2 and then take the stairs up to Level 3 at the northern end of the building. You arrive in a plush setting with warm, chocolate tones. The tearooms are set in a large, open room with very high ceilings (so the noise carries). In my opinion the QVB is one of Sydney's most spectacular buildings with a wonderful history as it's website explains,

"The Queen Victoria Building, now affectionately known as the QVB, was designed by George McRae and completed in 1898, replacing the original Sydney markets on the site. Built as a monument to the long reigning monarch, construction took place in dire times, as Sydney was in a severe recession. The elaborate Romanesque architecture was specially planned for the grand building so the Government could employ many out-of-work craftsmen, stonemasons, plasterers, and stained window artists - in a worthwhile project. Originally, a concert hall, coffee shops, offices, showrooms, warehouses and a wide variety of tradespeople, such as tailors, mercers, hairdressers and florists, were accommodated.

The QVB fills an entire city block bound by George, Market, York and Druitt Streets. The dominant feature is the mighty centre dome, consisting of an inner glass dome and an exterior copper-sheathed dome. Glorious stained glass windows and splendid
architecture endure throughout the building and an original 19th century staircase sits alongside the dome. Every detail has been faithfully restored, including arches, pillars, balustrades and the intricate tiled floors thus maintaining the integrity of the building.

The visual message of Sydney's coat of arms, on the cartwheel stained glass window, is that the beehive depicts business, the sailing ship - trade, and the dolphins - the harbour. Panel 1, on the left hand side, represents the Council of the City of Sydney, and symbols of architecture, while the letters I.G.B. on panel 3, on the right, represent Ipoh Gardens Berhad, the Malaysian company who restored the QVB."


The QVB tearooms serve afternoon tea from 11am onwards with three options to pick from:

Afternoon Tea
A selection of cakes and pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and preserves, tea or coffee $25.00

Sparkling Afternoon Tea
A selection of cakes and pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and preserve, tea or coffee and a glass of Australian sparkling wine $30.00

Champagne Afternoon Tea
A selection of cakes and pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and preserve, tea or coffee and a piccolo of Nicholas Feuillate Champagne $45

Naturally, we opted to go with the Champagne afternoon tea. Our champagne arrived first, followed by the gorgeous, tiered afternoon tea tray with the Royal Doulton 'Old Country Roses' design. Our afternoon tea treats were scones with jam & cream, spinach samosas, egg sandwiches, salmon & cucumber sandwiches, cheese tartlets, berry profiteroles, chocolate brownies, almond cakes, strawberry & cream pastries and passionfruit melting moments. Everything was lovely but we had to ask for our coffees/ teas to be served (I think they had forgotten).

The service is hit & miss. At times we were neglected and had to grab a staff member as they came past and at other times we were fawned over like royalty.

QVB Tearooms - Queen Victoria Building, 415 George St, Sydney - (02) 9283 7279

http://www.thetearoom.com.au/default.aspx?id=15&vu=9&sm=b_a

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