Sunday, January 17, 2010

Afternoon Tea @ Sir Stamford Hotel, Circular Quay

How was it?
Food: 5/10
Service: 6.5/10
Ambience: 8/10
Value: $$$

A girly birthday celebration and afternoon tea are a match made in heaven. So for Steph's birthday back in November of last year, she organised for us (Karen, Leona, Lisa and I) to go to afternoon tea at Sir Stamford Hotel in Circular Quay. We all walked in with high hopes and were excited to meet the tea master. Walking through the lobby and corridors, I was in constant awe - everything was so pretty! I loved the Victorian decor and feel, and I could easily imagine us all wearing corsets, sipping tea and being oh-so-ladylike in this beautiful hotel.

I walked into the dining room to meet the girls and found out that they had lost the booking that Steph had made, therefore losing the memo on the fact that she is allergic to nuts! But they quickly set up a table for us and all was ok. My only thought was 'when is the tea master coming out?'

We ordered the traditional afternoon tea for $40 per person, which consists of a selection of sandwiches, scones, sweets and tea. Accompanying our tier of goodies was a little pastry served on a separate plate. I wasn't sure whether this little pastry was sweet or savoury, by the looks of it. But after biting into it, we realised it was a curry puff! A very pretty and tame curry puff. It wasn't too bad, but a nice little appetiser.

Sandwich: Smoked Salmon & Horseradish cream

Sandwich: Roast Chicken & Lemon Mayo

Sandwich: Cucumber & Watercress

First up, I decided to try out the sandwiches. There were three kinds - smoked salmon with horseradish cream, roast chicken, and cucumber and watercress. The roast chicken sandwich was surprisingly tasty, however the other two were rather average. And I noticed that they had left some of the crust on some of our sandwiches. I thought that that was rather sloppy.

Roast Vegetable & Pesto Wrap

Along with the sandwiches, there were also some roasted vegetable & pesto wraps. I wasn't a fan of the wrap, I thought that it was a little bit soggy, but I'm not a big pesto in wrap fan to begin with. However, some of the other girls did enjoy it.

So the verdict on tier 1: It could have been better, but we're here for the scones, sweets and tea, so we move on!

Scones with cream & jam

Small portions of jam & cream

We were all a little bit puzzled by the slanting scones, but we eagerly slathered on the jam and cream (or however much of the measly portion we could), hoping for the best! Alas, these scones were not having a good day. They had a distinct cheesy smell and taste, even the cream and jam couldn't mask it. Not like the beautiful, soft and fluffy scones at The Tea Room :(

So the verdict on tier 2: Major scone fail. Major disappointment.

I think at this point, we also realised that there was no tea master :( Could it get any worse?...

Chocolate Biscuit & Mousse Stack

Lemon Meringue Tart

Mixed Berry Tart

White Chocolate Cupcakes

Creme Brulee with pistachios

Moving onto the selection of sweets. I remembered having a bite of each dessert and putting it back down on my plate. The top of the creme brulee had a nice toffee crackle, which was promising, but the custard was very eggy and did not have a nice and smooth consistency. The chocolate biscuits were very powdery and bitter, leaving a strange aftertaste in my mouth.

So the verdict on tier 3: It just wasn't very spectacular, but luckily we had our lovely teas to soothe everything.

I wasn't very impressed with the food at Sir Stamford, but perhaps our expectations were way too high to begin with. Despite that fact, the location, surroundings and decor are beautiful and definitely worth a look. It also helps when you're in the company of some lovely ladies, which tends to make everything better. Hope you had a great day Steph :) xx

Sir Stamford Hotel Circular Quay
93 Macquarie St,
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9252 4600
Afternoon tea served daily between 1pm - 5pm
Dining Room (Sir Stamford at Circular Quay) on Urbanspoon


  1. Sad to hear the scones weren't perfect! Nothing says a great high tea like a delicious scone slathered with cream and jam. :)

  2. Such a shame that teh Tea Master has gone. That was a major allure of the afternoon tea. I mean someone that looks after your tea is such a cool idea! I heard that they're looking for another one although I'm not sure how many tea masters there are in existence :(

  3. What a shame it didn't live up to your expectations. Oh well. It looks like there was a lot of food!

  4. How very disappointing. I agree, the idea of a tea master would have been the major drawcard for me. Shame about the scones too. Cheesy? Oh dear...

  5. That's a real shame. How could they get it so wrong? Ah well, at least you had great company to spend time with.

  6. Tea master fail and scone fail :( I'm sorry it was such a big fat fail! But very glad we will be making up for it with a Tea Room high tea when you get back! Though it will probably be crap compared to The Ritz :P

  7. I hope you have more luck at Tea room. it's not very encouraging when even the scones are bad.

  8. Oh I wish I could have gone to high tea here when the tea master was still in the house. Darn...

  9. Hi Vickys: I agree! If the scones aren't great, then it's just not the same!

    Hi Lorraine: I know! I was so looking forward to seeing him! Hehe.. hopefully they'll be able to ship one in from somewhere soon hehe!

    Hi Joey: Yes, a lot of food that went to waste. Hah. (Not bitter at all. lol)

    Hi Helen: Yes, they smelt and tasted cheesy - definitely not the way scones should be! It was weird!

    Hi Brenda: I know! Perhaps our expectations were too high too... but you're right, at least the company was great :D

    Hi Steph: Major fail! It's not your fault though! Haha. Yes, Gunners Barracks will more than make up for this (I hope!). Haha... yeah, you're right :p

    Hi Gastronomy Gal: I know, but perhaps we went on a bad day, I have no idea! I don't think it'd take much for the food to better!

    Hi A cupcake or two: Me too! But apparently they're looking for a new one, so make sure you ask before you go :)


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