Tea for Two at the Bayside Lounge

Tea_For_TwoDarling Harbour has morphed so much since we arrived in Sydney over 25 years ago. Then the area was gloomy with what appeared to be derelict warehouses and a web of railway tracks. It was shudder-and-look-away territory as you drove on the overbridge heading for more attractive parts of Sydney.

Now, of course, it is everyone's playground, thronged with tourists and locals at most times of the year, but never more so than on a sunny summer day. It was like this last week when I took up an offer to have high tea with a friend at Bayside Lounge underneath the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The lounge's curving wall of windows gave us a ringside seat view of the sparkling Sydney skyline as well as all the goings on outside - buskers juggling balls, boats on the bay and the masses of people. After all it was just past Christmas and so far Sydney's summer has been balmy, and it seemed everybody was out enjoying it all.

Despite this our attention was on the tiered stand holding a range of afternoon tea treats. In addition to a glass of Australian sparkling wine and quality leaf tea, and espresso coffee (Zentvelds from the NSW north coast, I was pleased to see) there were open prawn sandwiches, veal and mushroom vol au vents, crab and celery finger sandwiches and smoked salmon rillettes on cucumber. That was just the savouries (and vegetarian alternatives are available too).

Sweet tastes (here I was pleased to see there was a good balance - so many 'high teas' are sugar overloads) included a fresh berry macchiato with créme fraéche in a shot glass, brandy snap vanilla mascarpone and, the piéce de resistance, gold leafed Lenétre Opéra slice, as served by the Lenétre culinary school in Paris.

Tea for Two has been created by Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre's Executive Chef Detlef Haupt, who has drawn on fresh local produce to create a contemporary high tea menu in keeping with the lounge's relaxed style and spectacular setting. I was most impressed too with the price: $22 per person. When you consider the location, this would have to be one of the best treat-yourself bargains in town.

Tea for Two at the Bayside Lounge, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Drive, Darling Harbour, 02 9282 5916, is available from 2pm-5pm Wednesday to Sunday. Bayside Lounge is open for coffees, snack and meals from 8am daily.

 

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