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Located in the Queen Victoria Building, an elaborate Romanesque building in the heart of the city centre, the Tea Room serves up morning and afternoon tea daily -- think petit fours, finger sandwiches and scones -- on three-tiered platters and British fine china. At the iconic Sydney Opera House, high tea hits the high notes with an private opera recital while you peer over your cup to the harbour beyond (bookings are essential). The delicious spread includes everything from fresh crab sandwiches with coriander mayonnaise to vanilla macaroons. Elsewhere, Sir Stamford at Circular Quay  near the centre's waterfront hub, serves up an elegant tea daily from 1 pm in a historic bar full of gilded paintings, high backed chairs and Persian-style rugs. Try the classic Devonshire cream tea with scones and jam or splash out on the elaborate "Heavenly High", which includes a glass of champagne and gourmet chicken curry puffs, caramel chicken and duck confit pastries, and jam tarts that would make the Queen of Hearts proud. And in an even more contemporary twist on high tea, the Intercontinental Hotel has recently introduced "High Coffee", where different coffees – from an espresso martini (chilled espresso, coffee liqueur and vodka) to a cafe freddo (a double-shot espresso, shaken with ice and served in a glass) are matched with various culinary treats, from gourmet beef and smoked salmon sandwiches to Belgian waffles.

Time will tell if high coffee will cause a storm in a tea cup in traditional tea-going circles. But given Sydney's inventive dining scene it could be here to stay. Especially if brunch is anything to go by.

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