Are you ready for high tea with a high-end twist? The Sheraton on The Park, one of Sydney's leading luxury hotels, unveiled a sophisticated new lobby-level lounge last week. Drawing inspiration from adjacent Hyde Park, The Gallery now resembles a garden of earthly delights after a sumptuous makeover. The lounge will serve elevated hors d'oeuvres, rare teas and focus on single origin brewing by Vittoria Coffee. To mark the occasion, a throng of invited guests toasted the new look on a recent evening.
In a first for any Australian hotel, Vittoria has installed an elegant bar at the lounge entrance. On display are the various brewing methods for our single origin coffees: syphon, chemex and cold drip. The three-tiered wood and glass cold drip maker, which looks like something from the lab of a rogue scientist, creates silky smooth coffee over the course of eight hours. Guests at the opening soiree enjoyed cold drip martinis, with Kahlua, Frangelico, Belvedere vodka, vanilla syrup and our Costa Rican blend.
Executive chef Gunnar Mueller orchestrated a spectacular array of treats that highlighted The Gallery's sublime menu. Small bites including quail and egg bruschetta, panzanella salad, green tea cakes, mini pavlovas and jelly tarts were artfully arranged on tables festooned with grass. "We're highlighting root vegetables, unique sandwiches like duck and currant pate brioche, and, in the desserts, native ingredients such as rosella and lemon aspen," says Mueller. In addition, the hotel commissioned an artisan to create elaborate silver stands, which are shaped like branches, for displaying savoury and sweet items.
The Gallery's interior also echoes the park theme. Sydney-based interior designer Joseph Pang decorated the venue with custom-designed leather chairs, hand-tufted rugs that change colour with light, and beaded metal curtains that are translucent by day and shimmer by night. The biggest statement is an enormous tree-like sculpture made from resin and silver leaf that lines the rear wall of the lounge. "It's an abstract piece made by an American designer that takes the form of interlinking roots," says Pang.
"The intention of The Gallery was to create the most opulent high tea lounge in the city," says Volker Burth, Sheraton's food and beverage director. Mission accomplished.
The Gallery is open daily from 10am until 4pm.