Finding an outing which spans the interests of three generations can be tough. But food is a wonderful connector and the arrival of Sydney’s Claris-themed High Tea at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour sees generations bonding over fine food and a little mouse named Claris.
The exquisite Claris-themed High Tea is inspired by Australian fashion illustrator Megan Hess and her acclaimed children’s book, Claris, the Chicest Mouse in Paris. Fans of the book, and those yet to be introduced to the kind little mouse with fashion flare, will be enchanted by this experience. I particularly love the attention to detail with the high tea tying in elements from the book with Claris-themed plates and cutlery.
With the first ‘bonjour’ from the Sofitel Sydney staff I felt we were about to be transported, if only for a few hours, on a delicious break from reality. Looking around the Atelier restaurant, I was delighted to see little girls dressed in their Saturday best for High Tea, sharing time with their mothers, grandmothers and friends. Australians have embraced a casual lifestyle, to the point where it’s now rare to see such a sight, which only makes this experience even more special.
High teas are somewhat of a tradition in our family. We have them at home for special occasions and it’s long been a loved outing for my Mum and I. Even as a preschooler I was passed over the fence to enjoy the tea tradition with our neighbour and her elderly mother. Back then, my favourite part of the process was the novelty of a tea trolley and plopping the sugar cubes into their tea with a scoop. Since then my palate has evolved and I enjoy exploring the stand from base to tip.
Perusing the tea menu with delights such as Pomme Prestige Tea, Chocolate Tea, Moroccan Mint Tea or French Earl Grey, left me feeling boring ordering my favourite brew, English Breakfast. So often, tea accompanying high teas is disappointing, weak and lacking the punch I like, but not at Sofitel Sydney. It was just as I like it.
Knowing high teas are stacked with small but filling offerings, I’d avoided eating prior to our arrival at 2pm. The result was a musical stomach doing flips in anticipation of the sweet and savoury delights to come.
When our Claris-themed High Tea stand was delivered, ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ could be heard all around. Our waiter passed on the chef’s suggestion that we start the high tea from the bottom and work our way to the top. My Mum is more of a savoury gal so she delighted in the ribbon sandwiches with various fillings, mini sausage rolls, mini quiche Lorraine, avocado smoked salmon green bun and tomato bocconcini pink bun. That’s not to say she didn’t save room for some of the pastries!
AJ on the other hand is our sweet tooth. She was dazzled by the array of sweet treats on offer including red berry pannacotta, raspberry macaroons, ruby chocoate madeleines, chocolate pocky sticks and of course the chocolate fountain.
I’m pretty happy to dabble in both sweet and savoury, after all it’s important to have a balanced diet – even with a high tea stand.
ACCESSIBILITY AT SOFITEL SYDNEY DARLING HARBOUR ATELIER RESTAURANT
To save my Mum walking any distance, I dropped her and AJ at the front of the hotel and parked at the nearby ICC car park. If we’d been doing anything else in the area after the high tea, I’d have parked at one of the other car parks with more reasonable rates. ICC is the most convenient parking and offers level access from the car park to the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.
Once inside the hotel, lift access is provided to the restaurant.
A large unisex stand-alone accessible bathroom is available at the restaurant.
The Atelier Restaurant is spacious. When booking, I suggest mentioning if you are a wheelchair user to ensure you have a position with plenty of circulation space.
The Claris-themed High Tea at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is available every Saturday afternoon 1-4pm until 21 December 2019.
$69 per person or $58 for AccorPlus Members
$79 per person if you’d like to include a glass of French sparkling
$95 per person including a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee Brut
$35 for children 2-11 years and free for children under 2
You can read more about the Claris-themed High Tea on Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour’s website.
Our high tea was hosted by Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, but as always, our glowing review is based on our experience and I feel the photos tell a fairly scrumptious tale on their own.
CLARIS, THE CHICEST MOUSE IN PARIS BOOK
I know not everyone can experience this high tea, but I do suggest you have a look at Claris, The Chicest Mouse in Paris book as a gift idea. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the story of a kind mouse who makes the most unlikely friendship is a wonderful message to spread. I shall leave you with my favourite quote from the book, “I believe you should always be brave and help someone in need. Because nothing’s more stylish in life than compassion – it matches so well with a good dash of fashion!” Well said, Claris!