2018 is a big year for our family with several significant birthdays and celebrations throughout the year. My Mum, also my best friend, kicked off the year with a special birthday ending in a zero back in January. Among her gifts was a voucher to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney to experience High Tea at The Calyx. For a garden lover there seemed no better setting than a garden which stands at 6 metres tall, covers 50 metres of wall and contains 18,000 odd flowers. A wonderful setting for a special high tea experience in Sydney, and it’s accessible.
Mum always enjoys a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney but neither of us had visited The Calyx which opened in June 2016 to celebrate 200 years of the gardens. The Calyx took 11 months to build and houses a café, education hub and a garden wall with wow factor.
At first Mum and I were a little taken aback about the location of the seating for the high tea. We felt we were part of the display with the tables placed so close to where visitors were walking to admire the garden wall. Visitors definitely glanced at the high tea stand with envy but were mostly transfixed by the flowers and didn’t bother us. Once the food arrived, we too were transfixed and soon ignored the other visitors.
Mum and I have worked our way around many of the high teas offered in Sydney and both agree High Tea at The Calyx is one of the best. We enjoyed the savoury selection including pork and fennel sausage rolls with a delicious bush tomato relish, capsicum, feta, smoked paprika tartlet and sundried tomato, basil mozzarella arancini.
Between the warm savouries and the delicious finger sandwiches of smoked salmon, capers & dill, roast turkey, cranberry and brie brioche sliders and Devonshire egg, pea sprouts and celery, we had little room left for the decadent sweet treats. We made just enough room for a scone each but had to ask for a take-home container with the rest of the sweets. It ensured we were popular with the family when we returned home baring a gift of a taste of our high tea for all to share. One glass of sparkling wine was enough for us but you can book a high tea with unlimited bubbly. T2 tea provided the perfect ending to the meal for us tea-loving gals.
A children’s menu is available and dietary requirements can be catered for with notice. Bookings need to be made online and there is a cut-off the day before. High tea at The Calyx is served on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You can read more about High Tea at The Calyx and book here.
If you can book a Friday timeslot, I recommend it, as I imagine it is the quietest day in The Calyx.
Sitting enjoying our Calyx high tea allowed us plenty of time to enjoy the detail and abundance of blooms.
The display in the Calyx changes but at the moment the theme is pollination. It’s free to visit The Calyx to enjoy the floral display Pollination. In the plant world, colour is the essential ingredient for pollination. Curated by the horticultural team at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, the display features a collection of plants and flowers showcasing the role colour plays in natures magnificent act of pollination.
Garden beds of vibrant coloured orchids, daisies, gardenias and lilies are set against the backdrop of the display hero -the green wall.
An accessible path leads to The Calyx. You can read more about access at the Botanic Gardens here.
A unisex stand-alone accessible bathroom is available inside.
The café has a casual menu including salads, croissants, cakes, coffee if you are not visiting for high tea.
A visit to the garden wall in The Calyx is free, though a donation is appreciated by the gardens.
Our visit to High Tea at The Calyx was self-funded.