I hate surprises. Even if they turn out to be good I either convince myself it will be the worst thing ever or I over-expect and imagine what the surprise could be and end up disappointed because it is not what I anticipated. But today would be different. I was meeting up with my friend Alice, owner and creator of Alice Jones Art for a spot of shopping before my “birthday surprise”. I had a slight inkling as to what it would be and soon found out it was High Tea at 3pm. YUM – foodness – she knows me well!
We soon made our way over to the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in Sydney to Level Two and found the cute little café, Cellini’s Bar Restaurant. We had a table right by the banister overlooking the beautiful clock and the whole of the QVB which is a pretty sight to behold and perfect for our High Tea experience. Alice had booked a table at Cellini’s Bar Restaurant well in advance, which was a good thing as pretty much all the tables were taken.
As we were sat at a table outside the actual Cellini’s main café/restaurant we were able to people watch and watch the world go by. Luckily, Level Two isn’t very busy so it wasn’t too chaotic sitting out here, giving us a chance to catch up properly without having to shout at each other!
Our High Tea started with a glass of sparkling wine which made us feel like ladies of leisure after a successful shopping trip in the city. Cheers to that! Shortly after our bubbles arrived, a waitress arrived with a two tiered cake stand which contained a selection of cute finger sized sandwiches on the bottom plate and the top plate had two macaroons, one cupcake and a little cheesecake.
We dived in and began with the savoury sandwiches first which had the crusts removed. I always find it funny when places remove the crusts, supposedly for decoration purposes as I quite like the crusts and always find it a shame they have been removed. We had a choice of smoked salmon, cheese and ham, beef as well as chicken. We had three sandwiches each which were yummy, although a tad dry, perhaps from being made in advance and being left out in the open too long.
Next up was the sweet options. I’m not a huge sweet tooth, but on this occasion I was. It’s good to treat yourself every so often. We chose to start with the macaroons and decided as they were different to cut them in half to try both options. I’m glad we did as I loved the purple coloured one, which to me tasted like blackberries and I could’ve eaten a whole stash of these, whilst the blue one, we wouldn’t quite work out the flavour so opted on sugar, which I’m sure isn’t far from the truth!
We then moved on to the cute little cupcake. Again, I did the honours and cut it in half and slowly devoured the cake and sugary flower, which was nice, as the sponge was light and not too dense. Perfect.
Now it was time for the cheesecake. I’m always impressed by desserts as baking isn’t my strong point – I’m more of a cook and savoury girl than a baker. The cheesecake seemed to have a hint of lime running through it and was nice and creamy with a crumbly biscuit layer at the bottom adding to the texture.
After our sandwiches and cakes we were starting to get full and almost forgot about our scones and tea which was also part of the High Tea! This was the main reason Alice had booked this place as apparently it does clotted cream. Since being in Sydney, I have noticed many places do not serve clotted cream which always disappoints me. We always get whipped cream or double cream which quite frankly does nothing for me. We were really looking forward to some fresh clotted cream to remind us of home.
Our china teapot soon arrived along with the scones, jam and “clotted cream”. I’m not normally a tea drinker, or hot drinks person for that matter, but you have to have a teapot full of tea goodness when you have High Tea with scones, jam and cream. It’s an English tradition and I couldn’t possibly let my country down.
When the two little scones arrived we were a little suspicious about the “clotted cream”, which didn’t look like real clotted cream to me. We were right in our suspicions and were actually presented with aerosol cream which melts as soon as you touch it – urgh! Clotted cream should be thick and gooey and crusty on top and we were gutted that Cellini’s Bar Restaurant had presented fake clotted cream after stating that they use fresh clotted cream. This was really disappointing especially as this was the main reason why Alice chose to come to Cellini’s Bar Restaurant.
As there wasn’t much we could do, we got on with it and set about cutting our mini scone in half and spread the jam and cream on top. The scones were warm and as soon as the jam and cream were on it went straight into my mouth! The scone was light and fluffy and well made, despite being miniature compared to the scones I last had back in Cornwall in August. Nevertheless, they tasted good, despite missing the core ingredient clotted cream. We soon washed down our sorrows with a few cups of tea. They do say, there’s nothing better than a good cup of tea, and in this situation this did just the job.
Overall, Cellini’s Bar Restaurant did an average job with this High Tea, despite the fact that their cream was not clotted cream. Perched on level two of the QVB this makes a great place to catch up with friends whether you stop by for a quick drink or a snack to refuel before you continue shopping or come here to celebrate with friends over a sparkling high tea.
This wasn’t the best high tea experience I’ve had, but it was nice to catch up with my friend over tea and cake. Nevertheless, we will continue our hunt for the real “clotted cream” of Sydney and I will let you all know as soon as I find it!