Arriving at the InterContinental, I pause momentarily to scan the lobby for my coffee date. A well-groomed man softly glides to my elbow to enquire, in dulcet tones, as to whether I require assistance.
This standard of responsiveness continues into High Coffee ($55/person), taken in the Cortile Lounge. It’s an afternoon tea that takes everyone else’s three-tiered platter, and throws in two more tiers - delivering handsomely on your spend.
Stefano Manfredi’s coffee comes up well in the opening espresso martini, served with an array of sandwiches.
It’s a wee bit jarring against smoked salmon on rye with mascarpone and preserved lemon, but suits a panini of wagyu beef, cucumber and watercress.
In the face of such generosity, it’s gauche to quibble over a less-than-perfect scone.
I would rather celebrate the joyous green apple sorbet palate cleanser, which summoned my grandmother’s applesauce; so I was chuffed to hear it’s a recipe from Executive Sous Chef Julien Pouteau’s own family.
Move on to a ripper salted caramel éclair against the hotel’s signature Caffè Corretto (a shot of espresso ‘corrected’ with a shot of grappa) and you’ll definitely leave this innovative reply to Sydney’s epidemic of high teas buzzing.
Just don’t make a dinner reservation – you probably won’t need it.
PS. Now if, like me, you're a long way from a Vera Wang gown of your own, take the table up in the corner, and stuff your face with cakes while you live vicariously through watching other women try them on...
Intercontinental Sydney, 117 Macquarie Street, Circular Quay
Ph: (02) 9240 1396