We were nervous about having High Tea at the refurbished Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath. After years of driving past its fenced-off façade imagining what it would be like inside, the moment had come to find out. Our biggest fear was: what if it wasn’t any good, even after the $35 million restoration? The Blue Mountains has been waiting so long for this accommodation and dining icon to open. Would it meet our expectations?
Mine weren’t high, mind you. I was picturing a cross between a couple of other early-20th-Century-style Blue Mountains venues – praying it wouldn’t be like them with their slightly fusty, in-dire-need-of-new-doilies feel.
Thankfully, it wasn’t at all.
When we arrived for our high tea on Boxing Day the place was buzzing with visitors – all wanting a piece of the Hydro hype and to catch a glimpse of that spectacular Megalong Valley view. From the car park it’s a fair walk to the entrance, but this allows you to take it all in – the Boiler House café, the Pavilion filled with locally produced goods and – of course – the view.
The entrance to The Wintergarden room, home of the Afternoon High Tea, is through the main foyer, known as ‘The Casino’ with the impressive tiled dome. This is the lobby of all lobbies. This space knows first impressions count and welcomes you like a ringmaster, flaunting striped monochrome high-backed chairs, a grass-green confidante sofa and a looming triple-tiered chandelier.
Okay, you’ve got our attention.
Our party of five-and-a-half is ushered through a maze of luxe golden chairs and tinkling grand-piano sounds to a table some distance away from the windows overlooking the valley, but we’re not worried. On this hot summer’s day the window-folk look to be struggling with the sun streaming in on their backs, so we’re happy in this instance with our cooler spot up the back.
It takes a very long time for our tea and food to arrive, which with a hungry one-year-old feels like an eternity, but we put it down to the room being completely full and the kitchen probably still ironing out the creases, having not long been open.
The leaf tea is beautiful and makes the coffee-drinkers in our group envious (we get several cups from one pot, plus free refills of hot water). It’s also better for washing down the scones, which we enjoy towering with housemade strawberry jam and fluffy white clouds of clotted cream.
But I’ve jumped ahead of myself here – before we reach the scones we work our way through white-bread fingers of pickled cucumber and chutney, pastry puffs filled with smoked trout mousse, mini bacon quiches and soft, chewy lime macaroons – all of which bub enjoyed too. The highlight on our cake stand was, unanimously – even for those who don’t usually enjoy it – the tiramisu: a teasingly tiny shot glass of the most airy, creamy, sweet, espresso-soaked sponge.
By the time we’re done most of the window elite have left, so we’re free to head over and take in the view while enjoying the last sips of Earl Grey.
You have truly outdone yourself, Hydro Majestic. Very much looking forward to trying your other dining rooms.
Now, how about that teapot refill?
- Address: Great Western Highway, Medlow Bath, NSW, 2780
- Phone: +61 2 4782 6885
- Web: www.hydromajestic.com.au
- Opening hours: High Tea: Mon–Fri 11am–3.30pm; Sat–Sun 10.30am–3.30pm; last bookings taken 3pm.
- Prices: High Tea from $55 per person weekday and $65 per person Sat, Sun and public holidays; Deluxe High Tea from $69 per person including a glass of Australian sparkling wine; Luxurious High Tea from $75 per person including a glass of Pol Roger NV French Champagne. Children’s High Tea from $35 per child (aged 3 to 12 years)
- Cuisine: High tea
- Licensed? Yes
- Bookings: Essential – by phone or web. Requests for a window seat are taken but not guaranteed.
- Views: Yes
- Wheelchair access: Yes
- Cards: All cards; a 1.5% surcharge applies for the use of Visa and Mastercards; 3% surcharge applies for the use of American Express and Diners cards