Sunday, December 09, 2007

Vaucluse House Tearooms, Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse

Vaucluse House Tearooms, Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse
Sunday 9 December, 2007
The Tearooms overlook the grounds and gardens of Vaucluse House - an historic house set amongst 26 acres of beautiful greenery. I remember coming here as a child on a school excursion and some background research provided/ reminded me of the following information:
"Vaucluse House is a rare survival of a 19th century harbourside estate. It retains most of its domestic offices and kitchen, stables and outbuildings and is still surrounded by 26 acres (ten hectares) of gardens and grounds.
Begun as a small cottage in 1803, Vaucluse House greatest significance comes from its later ownership by the Australian patriot William Charles Wentworth, his wife Sarah and their family of 10 children. The Wentworths lived at Vaucluse House from 1827–53 and again in 1861–62. They rebuilt and greatly enlarged the house.
William Charles Wentworth's achievements include exploration, lifelong agitation for representative government, the formation of the nation's first university and numerous other political achievements. He was instrumental in drafting the constitution which gave New South Wales responsible government in 1856.
Vaucluse House paints a picture of the social aspirations and lifestyles of the Wentworths and of the servants both convict and free, who lived and worked there. The Gothic Revival mansion, with its picturesque turrets and castellations, includes fashionable entertaining rooms and functional 'back of house' areas. The interior includes original Wentworth pieces together with furniture, furnishings, and collections of the early to mid 19th century.
The extensive gardens and grounds have been restored to their 19th century character. The 26 acre estate includes pleasure garden, kitchen garden, paddocks, bushland and beach frontage. Today, Vaucluse House is one of the few 19th century houses on Sydney Harbour retaining a significant part of its original setting."
We had walked to the Tearooms this morning from New South Head Rd with a pram in tow. The walk down hill was quite pleasant until it dawned on us that we would have to walk back up! The Tearooms were empty and we grabbed a table in the shade as it was a scorcher in the sun. The staff were still setting the tables and it looked as if every table was reserved for lunch. The brunch menu was lean with only 5 offerings:
  • french toast, honey & ricotta
  • tearooms porridge, rhubarb compote, brown sugar
  • bacon, free range eggs, mushrooms, tomato chutney
  • smoked salmon, spinach & goats cheese ‘open faced' omelette
  • raisin & cinnamon toast or banana bread
We decided to order a few things and share. I thought the food was OK and very reasonable - there was nothing over $14. The staff were inexperienced but pleasant and they kept the water glasses topped up. The lunch crowd started arriving around 12pm and the Tearooms filled quickly. We were not hurried to move on and ordered another round of coffees.
The gardens and grounds are worth a visit and yes, the hike back up to New South Head Rd was a challenge with a full belly..........
Vaucluse House Tearooms - Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse - (02) 9388 8188


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