The best solution for a rainy or cold day has got to be afternoon tea (a solution for any ails really). And at the Langham Sydney, there's a Christmas in July afternoon tea on offer until the end of July with Christmas themed morsels and tea. Plus the option to have a mulled wine in front of the fire afterwards.
There’s a link that went around recently and it amuses me to no end. It describes how every year Australians are taken by surprise by winter. I feel like that is directed at people like me who consider a 18°C/64.4°F day freezing and immediately plunge ourselves into the comforting depths of warm pies, gravies and buttery baked goods. But really, our winters are so light compared to that of Europe and North America.
Still one of the best parts of living in Australia is that we pretend that we are freezing cold during winter. And we celebrate things like Christmas in July. Truthfully we have to head to the mountains or somewhere really cold for any sort of snow but it doesn’t stop me from indulging in Christmas food during the month of July. This food is normally be too heavy for an Australian Christmas where you normally visit the beach and eat seafood and salads.
I haven’t visited The Langham Hotel for afternoon tea yet. Not since the hotel chain took over the premises on Kent Street from The Observatory and waved its wand to turn everything white with accents of pink. Their afternoon tea is called the Wedgwood Afternoon Tea as it is served on Langham’s signature Langham rose china. It is not an inexpensive afternoon tea at $65 per person on weekdays and $75 on weekends (not including a champagne upgrade for either $20 extra for Laurent-Perrier Champagne or $30 for Laurent-Perrier Champagne Rosé Champagne).
Kristen and I are handed menus and I choose the white Snowbud tea, a gentle, subtle blend and the menu’s only white tea from a range of 20 loose leaf teas. About 10 minutes later the high tea stand arrives. It actually is a stand that sits on the floor so it doesn’t take up table space, a clever idea indeed when you’ve got teapots and water glasses everywhere.
There are three tiers and we start with the savoury. I go for the hot slow cooked mini lamb pie, all comforting soft filling with large chunks of slow cooked lamb and peas. It’s the perfect size and I love that it is served warm. There is also a divine chicken parfait with two pieces of toasted brioche and redcurrant gel. There are two sandwich offerings, first a honey ham and fromage finger sandwich which is fabulous. The other sandwich is a Christmas turkey, cranberry and alfalfa sandwich-this is a bit empty and lacking filling and I add some pate to this to make it more luscious. There is also a thin crispy croute topped with rare roast beef with horseradish creme and onion jam.
We ask for a change of plates and cutlery for the sweet courses. It’s the scone layer next and there are two types of scones: plain vanilla or fruited scone. I prefer the plain to bring out the flavour of the home made runny jam and thick cream.
Now you need to bring an appetite because the sweet selection is comprehensive and very much in the theme of Christmas in July. There are classic white chocolate and brandy chocolate truffles, a cute gingerbread sandwich filled with clementine marshmallow with a snowflake motif on top. There’s also a gold dusted sticky date macaron as well as a modern Mont Blanc tart with meringue and vanilla chantilly snow. The tart shell is crisp and fresh but the custard is smooth and silky and almost runny but I was hoping for a more classic Mont Blanc with lashings of chantilly cream and sweetened chestnut puree. My favourite is the cranberry and cinnamon lamington cake. It’s not dry at all like some lamingtons can be but it is moist and moreish with the sweetened cranberries. And needless to say, we could barely finish it all!
So tell me Dear Reader, what order do you have an afternoon tea in? Savoury first? Sweet? Or Scones? And can you finish a whole afternoon tea? And do you change plates and cutlery for the sweets?
This meal was independently paid for.
The Langham Hotel
89-113 Kent St,Millers Point, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9256 2222