Did you know that what we call ‘High Tea’ today is actually ‘Low Tea’? The high and low refer to the height of the tables, and traditionally in the 1840s in England, ‘high tea’ was a working class meal including meat served on the high table shortly after 5pm. Afternoon tea, by contrast, was introduced by the Duchess of Bedford, in between the two daily meals, brunch and dinner (served between 8 – 9pm). It was customary to invite ladies over mid-afternoon for tea and cakes, so afternoon tea became popular among ladies of leisure.
So, what we call ‘High Tea’ today is really a misnomer; it’s actually ‘Afternoon Tea’, comprising three courses: Savouries (tiny sandwiches and appetisers), Scones (served with jam and Devonshire or clotted cream) and Pastries (cakes, cookies, shortbread and sweets).
On the Gold Coast, ‘High Tea’ (or Afternoon Tea) can be enjoyed at the following venues:
Known for their High Tea, Babalou is ideal for catching up with the ladies over coffee and cake. Enjoy three tiers of delightful treats while sipping a latte or glass of bubbles while taking in the panoramic ocean view. Ph: 02 6674 8764
The Old Teahouse Gallery
Fancy taking High Tea in a 100 year old Queenslander overlooking landscaped gardens? This is a magical weekend experience served on an elegant tiered plate. Ranging from $39 – $45 per person, it includes delectable petit fours, home-style cakes and tartlets, Betty’s scone, jam and cream, dainty savouries and sandwiches served on tiered vintage china stands, accompanied by a pot of tea or plunger of coffee. Take your own bottle of bubbly for $3 corkage per person. Ph: 07 5525 3053 to book.
The Marriott is one of our favourite venues. Surrounded by luxurious decor and lush gardens, you can delight in a beautiful selection of decadent French pastries, gourmet finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with homemade strawberry pineapple jam and double cream served with freshly brewed coffee and tea for $32.50 per person. For bookings and further information please call 07 5592 9800. Please note that for groups of 8 or more guests a minimum of 24 hours notice is required and bookings are essential.
High Tea in the Le Jardin Lobby, Palazzo Versace, is the ultimate in good taste and indulgence! As you walk over the hand cobbled driveway, you’re treading on the work of Italian artisans, brought to Australia especially to create the mosaics. The building itself is imposing, with vaulted ceilings, exquisite decor, furnishings and flowers. Overlooking a waterfall and pool, you can feel as though you are royalty! Food arrives, of course, on Versace’s signature Rosenthal Arabesque china: scones with jam and cream, macarons, cupcakes and fruit tartlets as well as savouries – mini croissants and bagels and sandwiches with smoked salmon. With several High Tea menus ranging from $48 per person, you can even add my favourite champagne, Dom Perignon, for the ultimate indulgence ($120 pp)! Available daily from 11am – 5pm. Bookings only required if 8 people or more are dining. Ph: 07 5509 8000
For the ultimate Hestonesque High Tea, or even a Man-tea, QT is the place to be. In the thoroughly post-modern beachscape of Fixx Cafe, you can choose your time between 10am and 3pm and your Q Tea, with champagne or without. QTea carries a delectable mix of savoury and sweet. Enjoy eclairs, macarons, house-made quiche and sandwiches, tiny cakes and slices, freshly rolled sushi, and salmon roulade rounds, continuing the beach theme with bikini-clad biscuits and giant flip flops. But all is not as it seems, as this beach carries its own Alice in Wonderland twist. Go with the flow and enjoy, otherwise you’ll find yourself stuck in the sand! From $39 per person.
For something completely different, QT has the ultimate bro package: a Man Tea. You won’t see any tea in sight, only burgers, fries, pastries, meat pies, prawns and a cigar, with your choice of beer or bourbon. So grab a bro, come and break tradition. There’s a space for you. Available 7 days, 12 noon – 6pm from $39 per person.
Ph: 07 5584 1200
The former Breakers Bar at the Sheraton has been reborn as the Pearls Bar, with sumptuous lounges and a complete refurb. In this beautiful setting with floor to ceiling glass overlooking water you can enjoy an exquisite High Tea: Turkish Bread with Olive Oil & Pepper Marinated Roasted Red Capsicum with Feta Cheese, Selected Sprouts and Balsamic Onion; Salmon, Caper and Dill Quiche; King Island Brie, with Mint Scented Quince Paste and Blanched Almonds; Dukka Roasted Beef Whole Meal Fingers, with Coral Lettuce, Shaved Red Onion and Sliced Vine Ripened Tomato; Banana and Honey Scones with Whipped Cream & Blackberry Jam; White Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road; Passionfruit shortbread; and Rosewater Macaroon. This delicious feast is available for 11am to 4pm for $32.50 a person, including coffee or tea. If you’re feeling indulgent, include a glass of Domaine Chandon for $37.50. It is requested that you book ahead. Ph: 07 5577 0004
In the classy Room 81, the Sofitel Broadbeach offers High Tea. You’ll enjoy petite cakes, miniature pastries, scones with jam and cream, sandwich fingers, a glass of sparkling wine and bottomless tea and coffee. Cost is $39 per person and bookings must be made 24 hours in advance by phoning 07 5592 2250. Prepayment is essential.
Generally acknowledged as one of the best girlie experiences around, Tea and Niceties specialises in the little details that make High Tea special. Traditional ($40) or Elegant ($45) may seem like a difficult choice! But just listen to the ‘elegant’ selection: an assortment of appetizing sandwiches, hot savoury muffins and corn puffs, freshly baked feather-light scones with strawberry jam and double cream, panna cotta and six petit fours. Expect dainty elegant table settings, sugar cubes with roses, and attentive service. Ring 07 5545 3645 to book.
How divine the menu sounds at Teavine House, tucked away in the Tallebudgera Valley! Ribbon sandwiches, homemade savouries, mini quiches, smoked salmon rolls, frittata, a selection of petite cakes and slices, as well as scones with jam and cream! Or you might don frocks, pearls and gloves to indulge in the Vintage High Tea. Available Thursday to Sunday. Ph: 07 5533 9889 to book.
High Tea at Horizons is a great value High Tea experience. Available 7 days from 2.30pm – 4.30pm, you can book by phoning 07 5536 2277.
Dining at Videre takes you a world away from busy city streets and bright lights. With sky high views across RACV’s Royal Pines golf course to the city skyline far away, it’s an indulgent pleasure to dine in such a beautiful venue.
Videre Restaurant is now offering a decadent High Tea which includes a glass of Moet & Chandon, freshly baked scones, macaroons, French pastries and gourmet sandwiches – as well as the world class view. Available Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 12.30pm. Ph: 07 5597 8700
The Woodbox Cafe is one of the few venues boasting both a gluten free and vegan high tea. High tea is available by order for a minimum of 6 people, starting at $29.00. It’s organic homemade food prepared with love and served on vintage china in this most feminine café. Ph: 07 5607 0808
Mobile High Tea Services
Ladies of Leisure (Mobile High Tea Service)
Simply Cupcakes (Mobile High Tea Service)
Tickle Pink Tea Party (for kids)
NOTE: Prices were correct at time of writing. Pleas check prices and conditions when you book your venue.