I went somewhere a little different for afternoon tea today… the Parliament of New South Wales.
It’s not as though Sydney doesn’t have hotels and very nice venues for high tea, as they call it here, but when the Strangers’ Restaurant at the oldest Parliament in Australia popped up as an option in the Google search, the decision was made for me.
The Parliament was founded in 1810 and for those who remember the Rum Hospital story, you’ll be delighted to know that the Parliament Building was also funded by the rum… MacQuarie’s ambitious hospital project was larger than the city needed so one of the superfluous wings if the building became the home of the Parliament in 1829.
I’m sure there has to be a joke about democracy being built on booze but I just can’t think what it might be. Suggestions in the comments and the winner will get a postcard.
I don’t think I expected Parliament to be pink and it’s very easy to walk past the building without realising what it is.
To have afternoon tea here, you must book because if your name isn’t listed in the reservations, you aren’t allowed to enter.
Once through the police security check, you walk into the main building and the security staff at the main desk give directions to the restaurant having verified that you have booked a table.
The Strangers’ Restaurant was closed for refurbishment so I was eating in the Members’ Dining Room.
The waiter led me to my table saying: “Ah yes, you’re dining alone. I like to do that too.”
It made a change from the usual comment: “Alone? Really? Do you enjoy it?”
Afternoon tea solo usually means you get the window seat, where one is available and I had a table overlooking the Domain.
At the end of December, for two weeks, the waiter told me that the tree in the corner of the photograph had not been visible because of the bushfire smoke.
If you are wondering the distance, the tree is approximately 20 metres away from where I was sitting.
That looks fantastic. It seems somehow exclusive and fancier to be in that venue, even though people can just book it. Nice tableware.