QTea by Adriano Zumbo is available exclusively at QT Sydney
QTea by Adriano Zumbo is available exclusively at QT Sydney

Review: Adriano Zumbo QTea high tea at QT Sydney

Adriano Zumbo is Australia’s answer to Willy Wonka – a master of the mystic cake arts, the ‘Sweet Assassin’ who revels in dazzling our eyes as much as our stomachs. His latest taste bud-pleasing creation? QTea: an exclusive high tea only available at QT Sydney.

Plated up every Saturday and Sunday at the moody QT Sydney, QTea by Adriano Zumbo consists of a towering array of sweet and savoury treats, many plucked from his nostalgic roster of dishes, with a few never-before-tasted delicacies thrown into the mix too.

Guests can enjoy tea in the lobby or adjacent Studio Q.

More than a late-morning treat, QTea is an experience, one which begins with a warm welcome and sees you settle into a Mad Hatter-style tea party, either in the lobby or the adjacent Studio Q space. The latter is where we experienced our 11am sitting.

Located next door to the historic State Theatre on Market Street, creativity and theatrical flair runs through the QT Sydney’s veins (or would that be pipes, in this case?). I’ve visited a few times over the years and have yet to tire of its Alice in Wonderland styling.

Australian patissier Adriano Zumbo has leaned on his talent for the theatrical to create QTea at the QT.
Australian patissier Adriano Zumbo has leaned on his talent for the theatrical to create QTea at the QT.

Prior to the high tea’s debut on May 29, Zumbo says he was inspired by the hotel’s DNA when creating it, wanting to deliver a treat that felt at home in its quirky surrounds.

“Not one to do things the traditional way, I wanted to work with QT’s signature quirk and create a high tea that you’d never expect,” Zumbo explained. “Forget sensible finger sandwiches or stuffy service, QTea is for guests looking for a sugar rush with a side of theatrics.”

He wasn’t kidding. Presented on a spinning, multi-level custom tower with removable trays, the high tea is a feast for the eyes. And it really takes a minute to soak it all in.

Happiness is a lazy Susan tower piled high with sweet and savoury treats.

The 10-dish menu flows from savoury to sweet (the order recommended you indulge).

The savouries comprise of a petite smoked salmon and caviar blini; chicken Caesar slider served on a cos lettuce leaf; goat’s cheese tart with confit tomatoes and asparagus; a delicious Champagne lobster roll; and a bite-size pea, mint and carrot tart.

Goat’s cheese tart with confit tomatoes and asparagus.

Dialling up the sweetness, the menu switches gear with Zumbo’s take on the traditional Devonshire Tea: ‘Sconez’ served with strawberry and lemon myrtle jam, piled high with clotted cream; followed by a signature Zumbo passionfruit tart.

Rounding out the full menu are a globe-shaped V4 tart with yuzu curd; a blood-red love heart filled with chocolate and pistachio; and a duo of classic Zumbaron macarons.

The passionfruit tart was one of our favourite dishes.

Dishes are complemented by a selection of eight teas, including macha, chai, and lemon ginger. We opted for the burnt blueberry, which is exclusive to the QT Sydney. It had a light, refreshing flavour that paired with both the sweet and savoury dishes.

It’s not high tea without the tea.

A champagne and cocktail menu were available for those wanting something stronger, at an extra cost. This started with Mumm and NV Perrier-Jouët by the glass, and ramped up to bottles of 2000 Dom Pérignon ‘PR’ and 2002 Louis Roederer ‘Cristal’.

Guests can also pop the cork on a selection of champagnes.
Add a little extra sparkle to your high tea with some optional champagne.

The verdict? It’s a mouth-watering adventure… and really good value too.

I’ve enjoyed quite a few high teas in my time, but this one just goes that extra step beyond to become really memorable. The location and staff are essential ingredients too.

If you were to compare it to other high teas available in the city, the Zumbo QTea is a lot less traditional. That’s actually one of its strengths. There’s a playfulness to it and a willingness to embrace unconventional ideas. It’s joyous.

There is a lot of food to enjoy, and bottomless tea refills mean you can linger longer and try a few different flavours. I’d recommend skipping breakfast or lunch, depending on your booking, otherwise you may run out of room towards the end.

The Caesar slider, passionfruit tart and goat’s cheese tarts were our pick of the dishes.

From $95 per guest, QTea by Adriano Zumbo is only available at the QT Sydney.

For more info or to book, visit qthotels.com/sydney-cbd/

Written by
Chris Ashton

We're Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

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Written by Chris Ashton