Afternoon tea buffet at the Tea Lounge, Hyatt Hotel Canberra

After breakfast at Cafe Essen we walked around the shops with bellies full of bacon. We visited the Canberra Museum and Gallery.

When we got back to the hotel in the afternoon, we rested for a couple of hours. We skipped lunch because we wanted to build up our appetites again; we'd booked for high tea at the hotel's Tea Lounge.

On the very first afternoon when we arrived at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, we saw the spectacular afternoon tea buffet. To get to our room, we had to walk through the Tea Lounge, so we walked past the buffet a number of times over the course of our stay. We are big fans of high tea and couldn't wait to try it.

As soon as we'd been seated, our waiter offered us a complimentary glass of sparking wine, which Jac accepted. I declined and was offered an alternative complimentary drink - I chose orange juice. My OJ was delivered with a paper-wrapped bendy straw. Given the choice of coffee or tea, we both chose English breakfast tea, which was served in well worn Twinings china teapots. After a few sips of our drinks, it was time to hit the buffet.

I didn't just enjoy eating afternoon tea; I had fun exploring the buffet. Luckily, no one paid me much attention and I was able to take photos as I tiptoed around the it.

The cakes looked absolutely delectable, pre-sliced for our convenience.

On the very day we arrived at the hotel and saw the buffet I whispered to Jac: "Look! They have macarons!"

Other delights included berry-studded chocolate mudcake on a stick, delicate pink rose cupcakes, caramelised apple tarts, date loaf (which looked very plain, frumpy and forlorn among all the other shiny sugary colourful items).

There were strawberry tarts, orange cheesecake topped with cream and a toasted walnut, mini cherry-topped meringues.

The mini quiches and curry puffs were tasty enough but Jac was disappointed they weren't hot. They weren't even warm. It did seem pointless to serve them in those covered dishes

Jac's theory is that the puffs' filling is made from whatever curry or casserole is left over from the hotel's lunch buffet. The curry in the puffs was beef rendang-style and very tasty without being too spicy.

There was a selection of finger sandwiches and delectable little bread rounds with savoury toppings.

There was a hot rhubarb crumble with a jar of custard.

There were two varieties of scones - plain and raisin, with bowls of sticky jam and thick cream to eat them with.

Like the pastries, the scones were not served warm. They tasted very fresh, though.

The finger sandwiches included the classic high tea cucumber as well as roast beef and smoked salmon.

The little savoury-topped rounds of bread were perfect mouthfuls: cold roast beef chopped into cubes and tossed in mayonnaise and herbs, and curried chicken topped with sweet red onion.

Jac enjoyed drowning her rhubarb crumble in custard.

The pink rose flavoured cupcakes were soft and moist.

Strawberry and vanilla custard tarts are always a favourite at afternoon tea and I had to have one. The orange cheesecake had a chocolate biscuit base and was decorated with wafer-thin slices of orange.

The macarons looked pretty but were nothing amazing - the shells were dry and brittle with air pockets and shattered when I bit into them - I suspect they were a little stale. The pink one tasted like strawberry, the orange one like orange (citrus) and the green one, sadly, was not lime, but marzipan. They definitely needed more butter cream filling.

The berry pudding had fresh berries floating in it and was surprisingly delicious. The berry mousse cake was light and sweet. I loved its colour. I loved all the colours of the buffet.

The Tea Lounge is an elegant setting perfect for afternoon tea, with its high ornate ceiling and chandeliers, high-backed chairs and polished wooden tables.

It was a very pleasant way to spend a few hours. The staff were friendly and attentive without being intrusive, and getting drink top-ups was a breeze. We would've preferred the savoury pastries to be served hot. The scones were fresh but would've been even nicer if they were served warm.

I didn't eat as much as I thought I would - I think my sugar/sweet food limit is much lower than my salt/savoury food limit. If you're a sweet tooth and love desserts, you will love this afternoon tea. It was beautifully presented and felt like all high teas should: decadent, elegant and a special treat.

The Tea Lounge
Hyatt Hotel Canberra
Commonwealth Avenue
Yarralumla ACT 2600
Telephone: (02) 6269 8815

Map of Hyatt Hotel Canberra - click for larger map
Click for larger map

Morning tea buffet Saturday and Sunday only 9.30am to 12pm
AU$29 adult / $14.50 child (6-14 years)

Afternoon tea buffet 2.30pm to 5pm daily
Monday to Thursday $38.00 adult / $19 child (6-14 years)
Friday to Sunday $44 adult / $22 child (6 - 14 years)
Public holidays $48 adult / $24 child (6 - 14 years)
Includes a glass of sparkling wine for each adult

Reservations essential.

Canberra trip, November 2010

See the full list of posts about our Canberra trip, November 2010 in correct reading order.