Once upon a time, a Queenslander might’ve told you that a good cup of tea is the perfect antidote to a hot summer day. It sounds counterintuitive but with venues this slick serving high tea, you’ll want to believe it’s true.
Spicers Balfour Hotel
Balfour Hotel brings a little bit of Spicers’ country charm to New Farm and the hotel’s high tea is no exception. Wash down pumpkin and labneh tarts and wagyu beef brisket croquettes with either T2 tea or a tight range of vintage sparkling wines (high tea includes a glass of sparkling wine or Perrier Jouet champagne on arrival). Take your tea on the hotel’s marvellous deck, which boasts some of the best views of Story Bridge in town.
Starts at $79 per person.
37 Balfour Street, New Farm; (07) 3358 8888
Massimo Speroni is known for his sweets and Bacchus’s Italian-born head chef doesn’t hold back with this sumptuous high tea menu. Think ham-loaded za’atar croissants and black brioche buns stuffed with chicken and celery for savouries; or go sweet with almond dacquoise and passionfruit meringue tartlets. To drink, Bacchus offers Harney & Sons tea in imported William Edwards bone china but will happily help you indulge in a few bubbles with Chandon, Moët and Dom Pérignon options.
Starts at $38 per person.
Corner of Glenelg and Grey streets, South Brisbane; (07) 3364 0837
Room With Roses
Much of Room With Roses’ charm lies in its location. On the first level of a plush, heritage-listed arcade off the Queen Street Mall, it’s a pleasant place to wait out a humid Brisbane afternoon. Once there, three menus are available. The Deluxe High Tea focuses on favourites such as delicate ribbon sandwiches and raspberry scones served with multiple dollops of Chantilly cream but you can upgrade to a spread featuring handmade chocolates or chocolate fondue. Gluten, vegetarian, vegan high teas are available as well — just be sure to ring ahead.
Starts at $42 per person.
Gallery level, Brisbane Arcade, 111-117 Adelaide Street, Brisbane; (07) 3229 7050
Dandelion & Driftwood
Dandelion & Driftwood might be better known for its coffee – brewed by owners Peter and Penny Wolff a few hundred metres down the road at Wolff Coffee Roasters – but one step inside this knowingly kitsch cafe and it’s hard not to swerve towards the tealeaves. Infused single-serve inside a pot, the loose-leaf teas cover the spectrum from blended black options (Earl Grey, Morning Tea) to delicate melon green or Sencha green tea and are best enjoyed in the outdoor tea garden. Ribbon sandwiches are optional here, such is the quality of the sweets: creamed scones with Paul Grainger raspberry jam; lemon curd and caramel tarts; macarons; and a slice of flourless chocolate cake.
Starts at $25 per person.
1 / 45 Gerler Road, Hendra; (07) 3868 4559
The Spirit of Queensland high tea menu is fit for a queen – literally. Queen Elizabeth II was served the menu’s layered tropical fruit entremets during her 2010 Brisbane visit and the treat is now a key part of the service, featuring mango, bananas, pineapple and finger limes all sourced from the state. There’s also a Daintree barramundi, leek and dill quiche, Stanthorpe cider apple-and-raisin scones and a fancy take on a lamington. The spread, available Friday to Sunday, should be taken on the Brasserie terrace overlooking the river.
Starts at $49 per person.
Corner of Edward and Margaret streets, Brisbane; (07) 3100 5749
Take a tour of this National Trust-listed, 19th-century farmhouse half an hour outside the city and finish the history lesson with its high tea. Wolston’s keeps the spread fairly traditional with house-made sausage rolls and éclairs and an orange cake made from a recipe found in a former owner’s cookbook that features on special occasions. There are two sittings — 10.30am and 12.30pm — every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to book.
Starts at $40 per person.
223 Grindle Road, Wacol; (07) 3088 8133
Brisbane once had a habit of knocking down its heritage buildings, which makes a grand 19th-century edifice such as Customs House, with its domed roof and Victorian-era colonnades, all the more precious. It also makes it an appropriate venue for high tea, with three menus available. The Customs House high tea is the most popular but you can boost the selection of ribbon sandwiches, scones and petite desserts with Louis Roederer champagne or sparkling wine.
Starts at $49 per person.
399 Queen Street, Brisbane; (07) 3365 8999
Darling & Co
Darling & Co might be a go-to post-game watering hole for Suncorp Stadium regulars but during the afternoons it makes the most of its light-filled, enclosed patio by offering a high tea. The menu revolves around West End Tea Co brews and an assortment of savoury and sweet bites. You can add Veuve champagne or go all out with a Tanqueray G&T high tea set.
Starts at $40 per person; only for groups of 10 or more.
157 Given Terrace, Paddington; (07) 3367 9800
Sofitel Brisbane Central
This Sofitel Brisbane Central tea experience is high in location, too. Situated on the hotel’s 30th floor the Club Lounge overlooks the Brisbane CBD. Once there, you can go all out on delicacies such as sandwiches filled with fresh salmon, mayonnaise and cress or tandoori chicken and minty yoghurt or black forest cake and meringue tarts topped with fruit.
Starts at $48 per person.
249 Turbot Street, Brisbane; (07) 3835 3535
The Lab Restaurant and Bar
The Lab’s high tea is all about the atmosphere. Served in a century-old dining room, with an ornate wood-panelled bar and spectacular arched window, it’s simply a brilliant place to spend an afternoon. The restaurant’s The Height of High Tea menu comes with stacks of ribbon sandwiches, scones, macarons, petite sweets, and pot after steaming pot of La Maison Du Thé French tea. Available Saturday and Sunday.
Starts at $45 per person.
Treasury Heritage Hotel, 159 William Street, Brisbane; 1800 506 889
Top image: Sofitel Brisbane Central