Built in 1819 by the convict architect Francis Greenway, the World Heritage Listed Hyde Park Barracks, now a museum, started its life housing convicts. From 1848 it became an Immigration Depot for single female immigrants and then a female asylum from 1862 to 1886. The government moved in and used some of the buildings as law courts up until as late as 1979. The wonderful heritage barracks and buildings as well as its spacious courtyard, that is more reminiscent of army parades than convicts have had a colourful life and now operates as a museum. After an interesting poke around the museum, take tea and scones in a building that acted as former solitary confinement cells, and then later as a court room. On the mezzanine level be sure to look up and witness the only remaining original dome-like ceiling. Sit in or outside and enjoy the historical ambience that feels a world away from the hectic pace of the CBD. The scones are on the brunch menu and are baked to order, so they ask for 10 minutes preparation time. The scones are large and of course fresh from the oven, but taste more muffin/cake than a traditional scone. The tart rather than sweet strawberry jam is house made and don’t be put off by the dark red hue, it’s the real deal. The cream is definitely freshly whipped, but not the way I like it – the old-fashioned way with an electric mixer. Instead it’s very light and I suppose out of a whipping cream siphon. Scones are available from 9.00 – 11.45am daily.
Tea: A range of Tea Craft loose-leaf teas served in an Asian inspired teapot.
Overall: Sophisticated and relaxed dining a stones throw from the city centre.
Location: Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9222 1815
Reviewed in May, 2015