Continued unemployment means that every day is a potential duvet day. I have ample opportunity slump around the house in tracksuit pants and a food-splattered fleece, so any excuse to dress up and get out of the house is always welcome.

On Tuesday I decided to take my ladylike self to high tea at the Strangers Corridor. I donned a spotted silk dress, slipped on a pair of demure heels, pulled on my embroidered gloves and then topped my outfit with a plastic bike helmet to cycle in an elegant manner to Parliament House.

The restaurant isn’t as it sounds, like some dark windswept outpost in the back corners of the building. In fact, it’s a cosy wood panelled room filled with padded chairs and delightful little alcoves, perfect for whiling away an afternoon sipping tea and leisurely scanning the newspapers.


The quality of the food was equal to any of the delights served by the Windsor Hotel high tea, without the high cost. The large platter contained two bumptious sandwiches (smoked salmon and cucumber), an enormous featherlight scone served with homemade jam and thick double cream, various small quiches and three mini cakes ($27.50 – update October 2013 now $38). In addition, the old-fashioned personal service was exemplary; from the moment I was escorted from the Parliament front desk to my chair by name, to the regular enquiries about whether I wanted more tea and then an offer to join a Parliament tour and to visit the back balcony.

It’s a shame that the restaurant is only open to the public during Parliament’s non-sitting weeks and only during weekdays, as it’s such a wonderfully soothing and refined experience that I’d love to return again and again.