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FOOD & DRINK

Melbourne's Best High Teas for When You Want to Feel a Little Bit Fancy

From the gin-filled to the ultra decadent chocolate spreads, Melbourne's high tea scene is full of modern twists.
By Kat Hayes and Ellen Seah
September 05, 2018
  shares

Melbourne's Best High Teas for When You Want to Feel a Little Bit Fancy

From the gin-filled to the ultra decadent chocolate spreads, Melbourne's high tea scene is full of modern twists.
By Kat Hayes and Ellen Seah
September 05, 2018
  shares

MELBOURNE'S BEST HIGH TEAS FOR WHEN YOU WANT TO FEEL A LITTLE BIT FANCY

From the gin-filled to the ultra decadent chocolate spreads, Melbourne's high tea scene is full of modern twists.

In 1840 the Duchess of Bedford grew tired of that hunger-inducing interval between lunch and dinner, and to the benefit of humankind she invented the elaborate ritual of afternoon tea. Who doesn't like to while away an afternoon sipping tea and sampling a dazzling array of bite-sized treats extravagantly served on those three-tiered stands?

But despite its traditional roots, the face of high tea is changing. No longer restricted to the retired and the rich, some of Melbourne's best cafes, restaurants and dessert bars are plating up creative (both traditional and not-so) afternoon teas for every tea-swilling sweet lover to enjoy. From cake-laden to the vegan and the Chinese-inspired, here are the best high teas in town.

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    Mary Eats Cake is serving up decadent high teas on two sides of Melbourne: Brunswick and Montrose. With an enticing selection of sandwiches, raspberry mousse cakes, apple teacakes and scones — and, of course, tea — it’s one of Melbourne’s best high tea options. You can choose from the standard package, for $52 a head, or the fancy sparkling package with unlimited French sparkling (and unlimited scones) for $79. If you’re having an extravagant celebration off-site, with more than 50, they’ll even come to you. The two venues often host themed high teas, too, and at the moment the Montrose spot is serving up a gin-fuelled high tea every Saturday in September.

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    Tea Room at NGV

    The National Gallery of Victoria isn’t just good for art — it’s also good for a bit of wining and dining, with cafes across all three levels and the Garden Restaurant on the ground level, too. The gallery’s Tea Room on level one is good for you if you’ve brought your mum along and she’s mentioned she’d love a cup of tea five times so far, or for you if you just want to treat yourself to something a bit fancy. The high tea option is $75 apiece and puts fresh finger sandwiches on the table (salmon, roast beef, ricotta and pea, and chicken) as well as homemade sausage rolls and mini quiches. As far as sweets go, there are scones, as well as a burnt lemon meringue tart and a salted caramel brownie.

    The high tea is served with a glass of bubbly and a pot of tea. It’s a surefire way to make even a routine trip to the gallery a little bit special.

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    The Stables of Como is a charming, wanderer-friendly setting in the grounds of South Yarra’s historic Como House, putting brunchers back in the days of dining in country gardens. As well as its normal brunch and lunch fare, the quaint café runs a daily high tea, and it’s suitably indulgent.

    Playing to the country manor feel of the estate, high tea goers will snack on the requisite finger sandwiches and petit fours: smoked salmon bagels, ham and mustard sandwiches, French toast with mascarpone and berries and other sweet. The Stables’ cakes are very good, with minimal room to move around the cake display case thanks to oglers. Plus, it serves Allpress Espresso coffee and, if you’re looking to really indulge (or want to do your high tea the right way and have accepted you’ll probably need to nap afterwards regardless), you can also opt for free-flowing mimosas for an extra five bucks.

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    Decadence is also a very relevant feeling at Mámor, where you can forgo a standard afternoon tea for Full Indulgent and Seven Sins of Chocolate options. Sink into its plush red velvet furniture and feel a little bit beyond your means as you pick your high tea poison.

    The standard ($47) option — which is still quite extra — is more of a traditional sandwich situation, with scones included as well as petit fours and artisan chocolates, and bottomless tea or filter coffee (and sparkling wine available as an extra).

    The Full Indulgent option is stepped up a notch or two, with sausage rolls, quiches, and pinwheels filling up your savoury stomach and lemonade scones and petit fours and gateaux doing the same for your sweet side. And, if you’re really raring for a chocolate time (this is a chocolate café, after all), go for the Seven Sins option: all your desserts will be rich and chocolatey. These two options will set you back $65 on weekdays and $75 on weekends. All teas can be made vegan, gluten- or dairy-free for an additional cost.

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    The Hotel Windsor has been hosting Melburnians for high tea for over a century. And we mean that literally — the hotel has been serving up high tea daily since 1883. The restaurant One Eleven Spring Street is adorned with glittering chandeliers, velvety chairs and stretches of Victorian-style carpet, which really adds to the whole extravagant experience.

    The tiered offering will include pastries both savoury and sweet, a selection of ribbon sandwiches and scones served with cream, jam and strawberries. You’ll also get a glass of sparkling on arrival, a choice of types of tea and, if you visit on a weekend, access to the dessert buffet.

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    Once a pigsty, Shannon Bennett’s Burnham Beeches property in the Dandenongs has undergone quite the transformation. The Piggery Café has an industrial, pared-back interior, where you can enjoy an afternoon tea for a reasonable $35 (or $5 with a glass of prosecco). You’ll get a selection of sammies, scones and cakes — all made with locally sourced produce.

    From the dairy to the flour, the vegetables to the beef, you’ll be enjoying only the freshest savoury and sweet treats in Melbourne.

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    The team at Madame Brussels serves up luxury high tea every weekend. Although they don’t call it high tea, they call it a garden party — and that sounds like much more fun. Stroll in anytime between midday and 3pm for a cheeky jug of the Madame’s Fruity Double D Cup and a whole heap of tasty treats. Traditional finger food like curried egg and cucumber, spinach and cheese roulade and sausage rolls are served in a bright coloured rooftop.

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Top image: Mary Eats Cake.

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