Over the years I have enjoyed a Devonshire Tea or two at Champagne Charlies, the lobby bar at The Carrington Hotel in Katoomba. The art-deco landmark is still holding on to its grandeur, although these days it does remind me of a combination of ‘Faulty Towers’ and the recent movie ‘The Grand Hotel Budapest’ (in its latter years). It’s Sunday afternoon in the middle of the Yuletide Festival, so it’s busy. People are rolling in and the skeleton staff just can’t keep up. It’s also a tad chilly in front of the bar (the lounges in front of the fire are all taken) even though there’s a massive albeit slightly defective heater on the wall beside us, so we are forced to keep our coats on. Still, I just love it here – we just don’t have a lot of buildings in Australia (compared to Europe) that transport us back to another era. After placing our orders at the bar (all very comical), our scones arrive well before the drinks. The scones taste like they are straight out of the oven, big and slightly crispy on top. Although agreeing that the scones are mighty fine, my fellow diners are not impressed with the accompaniment of blackberry jam/cream combo that’s served in the same dish. There’s not enough of both to easily lavish on the scones for starters and you have to either delicately dig in to the jam and cream separately or just give up and smear them on together, which isn’t ideal. I do like the jam though, and the cream is firm (from the fridge) but a tad sweet. Shame about the slow service and the tea arriving over 10 minutes later than the scones. Available from Thursday to Sunday.
Tea: A small variety of black and herbal teas served in a good-sized pot.
Overall: Gorgeous art-deco splendour.
Location: The Carrington Hotel, 15-47 Katoomba St, Katoomba NSW 2780 Ph: 02 4782 1111
Reviewed July, 2014