"So Lorraine, how has life been? Busy? " Five year old Laura says to me earnestly, holding a wine glass full of water with both hands around the bowl to steady it. She looks at me her legs crossed wearing a pearl patterned knitted dress and diamanté bow in her hair. She along with her sisters Olivia and Eloise and their mum Liss are joining me at the Sir Stamford's kids afternoon tea. When I was offered the chance to try the kid's afternoon tea, I instantly thought of these three adorable sisters (who are very polite and well behaved too). In fact, rumour has it that they've been talking about nothing else but this ever since they found out. The kid's tea is $32 per child and the traditional adult's tea is $44 per adult.
Laura in a most appropriate afternoon tea dress
"This place is fancy!!" Eloise says giggling. "Yesss" Olivia says grinning widely looking around, eyes wide like saucers taking it all in. We sit down at our table and the girls are given a wine glass of ice water which they carefully negotiate towards their mouths (no spillage-well done!) and wait for their food. I adjust the gerberas that they've handed me, each one a different colour.
"How long till the food comes?"
"How many seconds?"
"Is it 17 seconds?"
The questions come from each girl as they prepare the food. What to a hungry child is eternity is in fact about 10 minutes in wait.
The Kid's High Tea stand
I remember my childhood by the food that I ate. When I was six years old I visited Singapore where I tried sarsaparilla for the first time. I remember the first time I ate oysters and spat them out and the first time I ate a cream and jam sponge cake and requested it every year afterwards for my birthday. So as this is the girls first high tea I am aware of how exciting it must be. When the two three tier stands arrive, one for adults and one for the children, there is much excitement, much like a spaceship landing on the table.
The favourite layer-forget sandwiches, the sweets are where it is at! From front: Chocolate & Coconut Crackle, Fairy Cupcake with Strawberry & Sprinkles and Banana & Berry Split
Eloise as big sister makes fast work of the chocolate and coconut crackle
Laura loves her cupcake
The first thing they all grab for is the banana and berry split cups of which are eaten in about four mouthfuls with much relish and giggles. I didn't try the sweets from the kids high tea, the girls made fast work of that but the chocolate and coconut crackles were deemed nice but also too hard by little Olivia who couldn't finish hers. Eloise on the other hand loved them and Laura ate her studiously. The fairy cupcakes with strawberries and sprinkles were of course a crowd pleaser and disappeared quickly while the sandwiches divided them.
From front left: Egg & chive, poached chicken & parsley and ham and cheese sandwiches
Olivia and her banana and berry split
Well intentioned older sister Eloise takes a lettuce leaf and nibbles on it but there is some prompting needed by mummy Liss to eat the sandwiches when there are so many sweets on offer. The girls seem to go for the ham and cheese sandwiches whilst the egg and the chicken is left behind. I tried both the egg and the chicken and they're good particularly the chicken which is flavoursome and moreish.
Olivia using her cutlery perfectly
The scones are a great treat for them reserved for when they have their baby hot chocolates in espresso cups. Laura's tactic is is spoon the hot chocolate teaspoon by teaspoon into her mouth and everyone practices their knife work by spreading the jam and cream onto their split scones.
Liss and I try our adult scones. They're light and fluffy and served with thick strawberry jam and a quennelle of thick double clotted cream. I usually save stomach space by only having half a scone but they are good so I eat the whole thing.
From front left: Poached Chicken Lemon and Parsley,Peppered Cucumber and Watercress, Roast Mediterranean Vegetables with Goats Cheese and Pesto and Smoked Atlantic Salmon with Confit Beetroot Cream Cheese
The adult's sandwiches aren't bad although to be honest I preferred the kid's sandwiches, particularly the chicken one (the chicken sandwich was different for both high teas). I also thought that the smoked salmon could have had a bit more smoked salmon and I didn't taste the confit of beetroot cream cheese in it (nor was it visually apparent which beetroot usually is). The roast Mediterranean vegetables with goat's cheese and pesto were interesting although call me a traditionalist with sandwich flavours. The last sandwich was the peppered cucumber with watercress and cream cheese which was good.
From front left: Black Forest Mini Cup with Chocolate Mousse & Cherries, Pecan, Pistachio, and butterscotch cannoli, Glazed Strawberry Tartlet with Mascarpone Crème Pâtissière, White Chocolate Cupcake with Ganache & Dried Raspberry, New Season Mango & Yoghurt Demi Tasse with Mint and Caramel Shards
We are onto the sweets layer with a particularly good strawberry tart with a gush of rich custard inside a buttery crisp pastry cup and a thoughtfully quartered giant glazed strawberry on top, the quartering ensuring that we don't struggle with cutting the strawberry. I'm not a huge mint with mango person as I find the mint gives it an almost savoury taste so I don't really go for the mango and yogurt cups although the caramel shards are eye catchingly pretty.
The nutty and butterscotchy cannoli isn't bad although I find that I leave most of this behind after a taste as often happens with the sweet layer. Despite my obvious love of sweets, I can never finish a sweets layer at afternoon tea. The cupcakes, although topped with a lovely sprinkle of freeze dried raspberries is thick with icing but they look pretty and the cake is soft and the slightly tart berries are a good foil for the sweetness of the cupcake and icing. The last item is a black forest chocolate mousse cup with a soused cherry on top and the cup itself is edible too which fascinated the girls. It's a lovely sweet end for everyone including the girls who get a taste of this before doing a bit of the robot dance.
"Best day ever! "Eloise says excitedly.
"Yes! Best day EVER!" echo Laura and Olivia.
So tell me Dear Reader, what were your favorite treats as a child? Mine were honey joys, sausage rolls and crinkle cut chips! And do you remember specials meals or cakes from tour childhood?
NQN, Liss and the girls dined at the Sir Stamford as a guest of the Sir Stamford
Sir Stamford At Circular Quay
93 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9252 4600
The children's afternoon tea is a regular afternoon tea option
The girls helping me with my bags stop for a look at the "Cinderella" clock