If the idea of a few fluffy scones, some dainty sandwiches and a steaming pot of tea doesn’t sound like a charming time to you, we can’t be friends. High tea, low tea or afternoon tea: we don’t mind what you call it! Just join us for good natter over one of twenty of the must-do high teas in Melbourne soon.
1. Hotel Windsor
Philipa Sibley has been lured into The Windsor’s kitchen to reinvigorate their iconic afternoon tea menu. Yes, there is a version of her Snickers dessert on the menu—this time as a cream puff! And with whispers of the hotel’s uncertain future, you’d better get your chicken and lemon thyme ribbon sandwich fix pronto.
From $69 per person including a glass of sparkling
2. Park Hyatt
Indulging in high tea in Melbourne can be really tough going, you guys. An hour-long massage and a glass of Clicquot in preparation for facing all of those scones—nefariously dolloped with clouds of vanilla Chantilly—is probably a necessity. Park Hyatt encourages such extravagance with their Spa Champagne High Tea. We only wonder: will the concierge let us get away with wearing our fluffy robes to tea?
From $55 per person (high tea only), including a glass of sparkling
3. 28 Skybar Lounge
Free flowing Moet & Chandon makes for a Sunday funday indeed. Skybar’s sky-scraping city views aren’t the only thing to leave one a little light headed if you opt for their most indulgent high-tea-in-the-sky offering. Sometimes you just need more than one glass of bubbles to wash down Wagyu crostini anointed with horseradish cream and teeny rocket cress.
From $75 per person
4. The Waiting Room
Surely the miniature treats on the high tea menu at The Waiting Room are strong contenders for the best-looking delicacies in town? Here’s where we go when we want to feel super swish, with a sprinkling of rock lobster, Avruga caviar and plenty of fancy French words appearing on the menu.
From $55 per person
5. Jardin Tan
Shannon Bennett makes a decent argument for switching finger sandwiches in favour of miniature banh mi. His Jardin Tan afternoon tea puts a fresh Vietnamese twist on the Melbourne high tea tradition. But never fear, there are still plenty of French-influenced choux and macarons to satisfy the purists. Go for a stroll in the surrounding Royal Botanical Gardens afterwards, and it’s an entirely guilt free experience.
From $30 per person
6. The Piggery Cafe
Speaking of good things Mr. Bennett does, The Piggery Cafe at the sprawling Burnham Beeches must dish up the most insanely good value tea in town (or, in fact, out of it). It’s so worth a daytrip to the Dandys. Don’t forget to leave time for a game of bocce or croquet and to say hello to their pet pigs Bubble and Squeak.
From $25 per person
7. Hopetoun Tea Rooms
A true local institution, the front window at Hopetoun has been enticingly filled with gorgeously old-fashioned cakes and tarts forever. It’s a pinkies-up high tea affair here, as you waver over sampling the pinwheels or the roast beef sarnies first. Stay tuned, this bustling tea room is about to grow a whole lot bigger later in the year.
$50 per person
8. The Tea Salon
At the end of the month, rockstar baker Katherine Sabbath (we dare you to peek at her Instagram without getting cravings) lends her whimsical ways with sugar to The Tea Salon. We’re dreaming of chocolate brownie koala doughnuts and fairy floss-topped pannacotta. Be warned: this limited edition Melbourne CBD high tea will be gone by November.
From $43 per person
9. The Abbotsford Convent
Bursaria host their High Tea with a Twist regularly at The Abbotsford Convent. Don’t miss the miso cured salmon with coriander mayo atop wasabi blinis, or donuts bursting with bitter chocolate and blood orange custard. There’s strictly no elevator music allowed at this quirky Melbourne high tea. Instead, soul DJ Jesse Fultone spins motown tunes on vinyl. For even more of a twist, just wait until you see how the roving desserts are served.
$55 per person including a glass of Prosecco
10. Market Lane Bar
It was only a matter of time before some bright spark switched leaves for beans; this is Melbourne after all. Thank you Market Lane Bar! Though they do serve a classic high tea also, we’re fond of the idea of a perky cup of Arabica and an espresso martini (double thanks!) to go with our honey and chocolate scones.
$55 per person including an espresso martini
11. Coombe - The Melba Estate
Behind the haphazard hedges of the Coombe estate lies another world. Here, chef Tony Milton serves a high tea to do the late resident, opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (pretty much the Beyonce of her era) proud. Dive into friands and chocolate truffles here like Charlie Chaplin once dove into the historic pool.
From $49 per person including a glass of sparkling
12. Melbourne Zoo
If sweet pastries and dainty desserts aren’t enough to tempt you to visit the Melbourne Zoo’s Rainforest Room for high tea, perhaps the cheeky company will be? The space overlooks the zoo’s Tamarin monkey habitat as well as a Japanese garden and lake. And surely dining in a zoo is a good enough excuse to scoff the lion’s share of cakes without a second thought?
From $68 per person including one hour of zoo access
One of the newer destinations in Melbourne, Bibelot—by the geniuses at Chez Dré—has zoomed straight to the head of the high tea set. With the sweet salon’s plush interiors, glossy desserts you can literally see your own reflection in, and ‘fromages et charcuteries’ on artisan bread, it’s little wonder.
From $65 per person
14. Fancy Nance
Another newbie, Fancy Nance is a monument to modern high teas by celebrity pastry whiz, Adriano Zumbo. Situated in between his namesake patisserie and Little Frankie’s, the space is both naughty and nice. Nice in that space is decorated with a child-like, carnivalesque abandon. Naughty in that they have a dedicated cocktail bar on site for a very grown up addition to tea. Try the macaron/petit choux hybrid, the “chouxmaca”.
From $45 per person
15. Collins Kitchen
According to Gourmet Traveller, the Grand Hyatt serves up what is officially the best breakfast of any hotel in Australia. They’re no slouch in the high tea department either, going the whole shebang with tiered platters, dessert buffets and a sumptuous chocolate fountain. Their classic tea goes global via the addition of Chinese pork buns, Greek tzatziki lamb wraps and Italian eggplant parmigiana.
From $65 per person including a glass of sparkling
16. Werribee Mansion
It’s not just the polo, the zoo or Truck Stop Deluxe’s ice cream sandwiches that lure us out to Werribee. One of our favourite Melbourne high teas can be found out west. The mansion has partnered with T2 to present their High SocieTEA series. In winter take your tea fireside in the library balcony. Or hold out until summer to sip and sup on the glorious balcony.
$80 per person including a cocktail
Mossgreen promises Melbourne’s high tea goers unlimited scones. They don’t know what they’re in for when next we visit! Aside from this invitation to gluttony, you can feed your creative side as well as your appetite with a stroll through their contemporary art gallery after tea.
From $52 per person
18. Om Nom
Tempura, savoury macarons and syringes of liqueur are not items you tend to encounter on afternoon tea tables. Yet Om Nom’s Head Chef Christy Tania is happy to break traditions with her edible mini sculptures. No wonder she’s a Masterchef fave.
$65 per person with a glass of Champagne
19. The Austen Tea Room
Do you identify with Elizabeth Bennett? Or is Emma Woodhouse more your style? Perhaps you’re like one of the Dashwood sisters? Whichever character you lean towards, it is a truth universally acknowledged that taking tea in this quaint venue is agreeable. Think lacy tablecloths, fine china and private rooms in a space that pays its respects to author Jane Austen. P.S. if you’re actually a Mr. Darcy type, do call us.
From $35 per person
True decadence can be found at Mámor Chocolates and High Tea Szalón. Their tea is served amid palatial surrounds in the style of the Viennese or the Budapestian. They are famous for their infused chocolate truffles here, but the sweetest news to some is that they’ll attempt to cater to any dietary desire from vegan to paleo to intolerances and allergies on request.
From $65 per person
Image credit: Alamy via The Telegraph