What started in the 17th century as a mid-afternoon supplement between lunch and dinner is now a social event befitting royalty: the High Tea.
Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, is thought to have come up with the idea of a 4pm replenishment in about 1840, to vanquish a ‘sinking feeling’ she felt in the late afternoon. Today, high teas are luxurious affairs featuring tiered trays of highly Instagram-able morsels and sparkling wine.
Here are great places serve up a memorable occasion.
Sheraton High Tea
Take your high tea experience to the next level with a hint of Parisian flair at The Sheraton Hotel. Their Little Collins St Kitchen is presenting the decadent sweets from Melbourne’s own The Crux & Co and savouries from their talented team. On the weekend, these pastries are presented in a dessert buffet, paired with La Maison du Thé teas and a glass of champagne.
The Tea Salon
If you’re in a desperate need for a girl talk, take your girls out to The Tea Salon. This charming tea place is conveniently located in the heart of the city and this season they have a musical-theme high tea, My Fair Lady. Their menu includes items such as ‘Eliza’s hat’, ‘Fancy that!’, ‘Just you wait, mango cheesecake ‘and ‘A very berry English tart’. They’re available until 29 July.
Jazz High Tea
What would be a better pairing for food, if not music? Arts Centre is spoiling Melburnians with jazzy tunes while they enjoy the sweets and of course, the tea. Each Jazz High Tea session will feature different act. From blues, classic jazz, to soul and gypsy swing, these vocalists will make your high tea experience a memorable one. Sundays, once a month, until 3 December.
The Windsor Hotel
Melburnians have enjoyed afternoon tea at the Hotel Windsor since 1883. To celebrate more than 130 years of service, the hotel has published its guide to etiquette at afternoon tea – it’s well worth reading before arriving at the Windsor. Afternoon tea is served every day of the year and reservations are recommended. Available seven days a week.
Hopetoun Tea Rooms
The Hopetoun Tea Rooms in Melbourne’s historic Block Arcade was set up as a tea room for the Victorian Ladies Work Association. Today, it is easily one of Melbourne’s most visited eateries (there’s a queue to get in on most days). High tea at the Hopetoun is a reservation-only event. Your tiered stand comes to you laden with a range of savouries and sweets. Of course, high tea at the Hopetoun is served with freshly baked scones (with double cream and jam) and… well… tea!
High tea at Om Nom is not a traditional affair. Of course, you’d expect as much from a restaurant in the world’s first dessert themed hotel – the Adelphi. Chef Joanne Ward’s high tea menu includes croque monsieur fingers, handmade chocolate truffles, fizzy lemon meringue and black forest mousse cake. Om Nom serves high tea every weekend. Reservations are a must for Saturdays and highly recommended for Sundays. Book for Saturday August 12 for the ‘Bake a Wish’ high tea, with $20 from each ticket being donated directly to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
More high teas to try:
Melbourne Zoo: Enjoy a relaxing high tea experience after a walk in the zoo. The Melbourne zoo will pamper you with wonderful sweets and tea in their Rainforest Room.
Langham Melbourne: Enjoy an exquisite selection of tea time delights served on the finest Wedgwood china, weekdays at Aria Bar & Lounge at the luxurious Langham Melbourne. A rotating range of themed high teas are also on offer including a special collaboration with boutique dessert creatives Nector and Stone, and childrens’ high teas themed around popular favourites such as The Smurfs, Despicable Me 3 and Barbie.
NGV International : A warm mini almond croissant and a peach, pear and Sauternes crème fraiche parfait are just some of the delectable sweets you have to try at NGV International’s Tea Room.
Cinema Nova: If you like movies and food, you’ll love going to Cinema Nova’s Deluxe High Tea, for $45 per person, your high tea experience is included with an admission ticket.