The Pullman Quay Grand is the latest hotel in Sydney to offer an afternoon tea at their Q Dining restaurant. With views of Sydney Harbour, scones, cakes and sparkling rose on offer, take a peek into their high tea style!
It's a relentlessly wet rainy spring day and I'm meeting JY for afternoon tea but really any day is good for high tea. The Q Dining afternoon tea is $55 a person of $65 a person including a glass of sparkling Chandon Sparkling Rosé and tea.
There is no trace of my booking but this is resolved with staff after a few minutes and thankfully it isn't fully booked (and they have enough afternoon tea for everyone!).
JY arrives and we order starting with tea. There isn't a tea menu as such but staff reel off a list of around half a dozen teas. We share pots of Earl Grey and French Vanilla.
The French vanilla is actually rose with vanilla and is more rose than vanilla. The Earl Grey is fine but not particularly perfumed in bergamot.
They swiftly bring the tiered stand out and we start with the savoury selection on the bottom. There are five types listed on the menu: a grilled vegetable antipasti with feta cheese on focaccia; roast beef, horseradish cream, watercress and cornichon; smoked salmon mousse and cucumber on rye; artichoke prosciutto salad with rocket pesto and egg salad with avruga caviar. The actual sandwiches are different-the salmon mousse is paired with big chunks of artichoke and there's no caviar on my egg sandwich sadly and there's no focaccia, it's white sourdough.
There's also an issue with some of the bread. It is very hard and crusted over, as if the stand was placed in the fridge uncovered (when they set the tiers down the plates are cold). In fact apart from the white bread egg salad sandwich we don't eat the bread from any of the other sandwiches (because life's too full of temptations to eat bread that isn't amazing).
Alas I can't say that I enjoyed the sandwiches much apart from the egg sandwich. Sourdough just doesn't really suit afternoon tea sandwiches and they really do need to be made fresh and kept covered. I'm a bit sad because the sandwiches and scones are my favourite part of an afternoon tea.
We ask for the scones to be warmed up and there are two types: a large plain scone and a small fruit scone. They are paired with a gigantic pot of whipped mascarpone cream and a berry jam. When they're warmed up they're great, especially the larger scone and we dollop it with the delicious mascarpone cream generously and ask for some more jam and they bring out some small breakfast jars of jam.
Because there was some confusion about the French vanilla tea they let us try some of the Italian almond tea which is really good with a nice almond aroma to it.
Cream first and then jam for me
The sweets again differ a great deal from the menu. There's no éclair or pavlova. There's a pink rosemary meringue that doesn't really taste like rosemary in place of a pavlova with whipped ream and berries. I end up making up my own pavlova with the whipped mascarpone cream and chocolate coated strawberries.
There are two macarons and a raspberry and dark chocolate slice. The crème brûlée is served in a pot but hasn't got a brûlée top on it. It is however the tastiest dessert from the selection and we enjoy this along with the view outside!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you ever ask for your scones to be reheated? What is your favourite tier with afternoon tea? And is it jam or cream first for you?
NQN and JY were guests of the Pullman Quay Grand but all opinions remain her own.
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour
61 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9256 4000