Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Melbourne Food Guide: Best High Teas and Afternoon Teas in Melbourne

When I was researching the food culture of Melbourne, I found that besides the highly regarded coffee and café culture, there’s also a high tea or afternoon tea culture in Melbourne. To some, high tea is usually taken during the time between lunch and dinner but in here, they usually refer to it as afternoon tea or high coffee in some establishments – serving a tower of savoury and sweet finger food, served with good coffee or tea. Another important element of the afternoon tea experience is the ambience and service, giving you the royal treatment or transporting you to another era. In this post, we will look at some of the best high teas or best afternoon teas in Melbourne – something you must try when you visit Melbourne. As always – a good tip is to call to reserve your places three days to one week in advance and inform them of your dietary restrictions.

 

Hotel Windsor Afternoon Tea

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Located just opposite the parliament building, Hotel Windsor has been serving afternoon teas since 1883 – that’s more than 130 years in the industry. With that amount of tradition and prestige, one would expect a refined, posh and stylish afternoon tea affair.

 

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The tall ceilings and crystal chandeliers, coupled with the smell of fresh orchids greeted you as you walked in. Be ready to be treated like royalty. Afternoon tea can be a family affair too and they have big tables to cater for big groups.

 

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For smaller groups like me – I got seated next to the windows – allowing some sunshine and I love the comfortable and classic looking sofas. Ahhh ~~ I’m feeling like royalty already ~~ now bring me my tea please ~~

 

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And yes – be ready to enjoy Hotel Windsor’s list of teas ~~ boy ~~ are we ready ~~ People usually go for the famous Hotel Windsor Afternoon Tea Blend, or their special Earl Grey called the Grey De Luxe.

 

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I went for their Enchanted Heart Blooming Tea – which is a milder white tea – which will blossom within the teapot.

 

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The good news is that – you can try out a few teas while you are enjoying your afternoon tea. So be sure to try out a few to find your favourite tea.

 

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The Afternoon Tea also includes a nice glass of Premium French Sparkling Wine – the pour today was a Louis Perdrier Brut Excellence. You can definitely call and replace it with sparkling water if you don’t consume alcohol – and do inform the staff when you make your reservations about your dietary restrictions or preferences.

 

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My afternoon tea tower for one person  – let’s have a look at what sort of nom noms we get ~~

 

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I was delighted to see lemon curd as part of their condiments to go with their scones – which are also served with double cream and Windsor’s special jam ~ I have a special weakness for lemon curd ~~ swooons ~~

 

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The famous Windsor Traditional scones and raisin scones. You usually get one each – I shot a delightful picture of these scones from the nice ladies sitting next to me.

 

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Spread some of that cream followed by lemon curd and jam ~~ ahhhhhh a little piece of heaven ~~ *sips tea*

 

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Some people actually prefer to start with the savoury sandwiches first before eating the scones because they are the lightest. I actually highly recommend that – but the scones were too tempting so I went for them first ~~ for my ribbon sandwiches of the day – I got chicken, apple, celery and watercress whole meal sandwich, free range ham, honey and dark ale mustard whole meal sandwich, Cucumber, avocado and tarragon cream cheese white bread sandwich, Egg Mayonnaise, caper and pea shoots white bread sandwich and lastly the smoked salmon, dill, caraway and malt cream cheese white bread sandwich. You can actually request different sandwiches based on your dietary restrictions but be sure to inform them when you make your reservations. Vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, nut free or halal dietary requirements will be met.

 

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The desserts are pretty exquisite and I love all three of them! The Orange Sachertorte is a chocolate sponge cake, with orange ganache and marmalade with a chocolate orange glaze, The Raspberry Yogurt Delice is a light raspberry cream on vanilla sponge with vanilla yogurt mousse and raspberry syrup jelly. Last is the Saint Honore, a kirsch infused custard cream with coconut icing, vanilla cream Chantilly and cheery compote. Yum!

111 Spring Street Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Hotel Windsor Afternoon Tea

111 Spring Street, Melbourne CBD (just opposite the Parliament Building)

 

Madame Brussels

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To describe the ambiance of Madame Brussels in one word – I would say ‘quirky’. You will see vintage white metal furniture with a lot of pink themed decorations in the background. It’s in a cosy part of the Melbourne CBD at Bourke Street.

 

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You gotta love the ‘indoor garden’ theme at Madame Brussels, pink walls, artificial grass carpets and a brick road ~~

 

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Or you could sit outside at the with a view of Melbourne city – despite it being winter – I opted to sit outside to enjoy the view – and not to worry – the staff’s warm friendly service in their retro 80s style tennis uniforms *sizzles* (and the heaters of course) kept us warm throughout our afternoon tea experience.

 

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They have quite an extensive choice of food and drinks to choose from ~~ but we settled for coffee.

 

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I really enjoyed their chicken liver pate served with toasted bread and pickles ~~ yum!

 

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Would you like some macarons for afternoon tea? Yes please! Choose from quite a variety of macarons here!

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It’s a more casual afternoon tea affair here ~ but that doesn’t mean it’s less fun! This could be a good place to bring a date – or just a good excuse to enjoy the ambiance and rooftop view of the city while having a nice yummy afternoon tea.

Madame Brussels on Urbanspoon

Madame Brussels

Level 3, 59-63 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD

 

Mamor Chocolates and High Tea Szalon

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Mamor is situated along Johnston street at Collingwood, a nearby suburd just a tram stop from the city. When you look through the windows, you would think it’s a costume or fancy furniture shop but the red and gold theme of Mamor teleports you to Old Europe, and unlike the posh hotel style afternoon teas, this is a very homey personal experience – hosted by Hanna and her husband. Say hello to a Hungarian style afternoon tea experience!

 

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Choose from Hot Chocolate, Coffee or their specialty chocolate teas!

 

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They have plenty of chocolate ‘teas’ – basically cocoa nibs being made into teas to give you a strong whiff of cocoa flavour from your ‘tea’. They have other assortment of teas but this is a must try if you had never experienced it.

 

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I must say while sipping my delicious fragrant chocolate tea – I can’t help but admire the beautiful settings of Mamor – I can imagine a group of ladies, purposely dressed up in classic traditional European costumes and having a nice afternoon tea while taking group photos and selfies!

 

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Mamor’s three tier afternoon tea set includes a series of Hungarian style savory appetizers, scones, macarons and meringues.

 

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For the savory Hungarian snacks, there’s the Pogácsa (Hungarian savoury potato scones), Liptó cheese spread on bread (feta & ricotta cheeses with paprika) as well as chicken liver pate on toast. I especially enjoyed the goat cheese tartlet served with red onion jam. Hanna is trying to introduce more savory snacks to accommodate more gentlemen who accompany their ladies for afternoon tea.

 

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The scones at Mamor are more on the richer side ~~ mmm let’s make it richer by spreading more cream and jam on it ~~

 

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Home made meringes and macarons that are not too sweet. Hanna advises it is good to take our time and chat while enjoying the afternoon tea.

 

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The Somlo Walnut Sponge Cake is a very good finish to the afternoon tea tier. A rum soaked cake made from ground walnuts, drizzled with chocolate and topped with cream and jam).

 

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Last but not least – you can to choose two chocolate truffles personally home made by Hanna, whose a professional chocolatier! There are many whimsical flavors to choose from such as wasabi, chili or even kangaroo salami chocolates!

 

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Such interesting combinations! I can’t take my eyes off that kangaroo salami chocolate – and I tried it in the end ~ such an interesting chocolate!

 

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A special mention goes to their special Kaitaia chili infused chocolate truffles – which according to Hanna, is like a female orgasm – it takes time to come but you will definitely feel the kick when it happens. I didn’t really feel the heat when I tasted the chocolate – but I felt the rush about 10 seconds later. Hanna mentions that only these Kaitaia chilies from New Zeland has the effect and she has tried other chilies without success.

 

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It’s always good to buy some souvenirs back – some whimsical whacky chocolate truffles for your adventurous foodie friends!

Mámor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón on Urbanspoon

Mamor Chocolates and High Tea Szalon,

153 Johnston Street, Collingwood

 

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The Waiting Room

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The Waiting Room is a fancy looking establishment located at the lobby of the Crown Towers. It has a very modern architectural design to it – very different to the other afternoon tea places listed here.

 

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You would say it’s not a very girly afternoon tea kind of place but The Waiting Room’s concept is more towards a high coffee culture – sophisticated and modern ambiance,  it makes you feel like you’re one of the upper class elites,  sipping coffee while enjoying your sandwiches and desserts in the afternoon.

 

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High Coffee at The Waiting Room starts with a nice glass of Sparkling Wine  but if you don’t drink alcohol just let them know and switch to other beverages.

 

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Unlike other afternoon tea places which uses fine china, The Waiting Room uses posh looking three tier trays to serve their food. Notice what’s missing? Yes! Where’s the scones?! The host told me that they take pride in their scones and they will be baked fresh to ensure the quality of the scones! Just make sure to let them know 15 minutes in advance!

 

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The top of the tier features two hot savory bites – ham and leek croquettes to the left with crab and leek tarts to the right. I love both bites and wished they were more – but that’s what appetizers do – they make you want more!

 

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From the second tier, there’s four different items. The one on the left is a simple cucumber and cream cheese white bread sandwich, on the right is a chicken and walnut wrapped with tortilla bread.

 

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I prefer the other two from the second tier – the refreshing tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella goes so well with the olive sour dough bun while the smoke salmon and herb crepe roulade looked sophisticated – not to mention tasty! Nom nom!

 

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The dessert tier is pretty interesting as well – a pretty grown up version – on the left is a Victorian poached pear and frangipani tart – and on the left is a bittersweet chocolate glazed éclair filled with espresso cream ~~ ahhhh ~~ these two should go so well with my coffee!

 

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Mmmm you can never have enough chocolate – check out the nutella and chocolate layer cake on the left – the very interesting pistachio, rock melon and crème fraiche financier on the right.

 

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Last of the desserts is a vanilla jelly with sour cherries and basil seeds ~~ pretty interesting texture and playful way to end the desserts tier ~~

 

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I enjoyed all these treats while sipping my coffee and nearly forgot my scones! Quite a lot to eat ~~

 

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The scones are simply crisp on the outside yet buttery and fluffy on the inside ~ they are very good scones. I asked for Earl Grey Tea to match the yummy scones. *sips*

 

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I was about to leave but then the host reminded me that there’s raspberry sorbet to be served at the end of the high coffee and I went – wait what? There’s more?! It was a very pleasant finish to a filling meal – fresh tangy with a good crunch from the toppings. Very refreshing and I must say – a genius end to my high coffee.

The Waiting Room on Urbanspoon

The Waiting Room

Ground Floor, Crown Entertainment Complex/8 Whiteman St, Southbank

 

Aria at The Langham Hotel

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I have to be honest with you – I simply adore chocolate and when I found out one of the best afternoon teas in Melbourne involves a chocolate buffet and with collaboration from the famous Darren Purchese on some of their chocolates – I simply must check them out! Thank you Cindy Chapman for this recommendation! Langham’s Weekend Chocolate Afternoon Tea is a must try! My tip for you is be very very hungry before having this!

 

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You begin the afternoon tea with a glass of sparkling bubbly but you can let them know if you don’t drink alcohol.

 

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You can choose from their range of tea blends and I must say I love the cups they are using ~~ beautiful!

 

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The Pomegranate Oolong certainly caught my attention – sounds so delicious!

 

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The Chocolate Buffet spread will definitely steal all the limelight from the three tier afternoon tea set so I will first talk about them first. You get some pretty good sandwiches and a savoury pie.

 

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and of course – two scones – one classic and one with raisins ~~~ good scones ~~~ but you probably can’t take your mind off the chocolate buffet!

 

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They have a chocolate fountain where you can dip fruits or marshmallows in chocolate ~~ oooooo ~~

 

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On the left and right of the chocolate fountain, savory lamb pastries and chocolate pudding are part of the buffet too!

 

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They also have a chef on site to cook crepes suzette with chocolate sauce as well as souffles upon request ~~ what a nice touch!

 

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Now we can finally go to the highlight of the chocolate buffet spread! It’s definitely an instagrammable moment – where you can #omg #chocolateheaven #paradise

 

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Some of them are breathtakingly beautiful ~~

 

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*swoooons* More and more chocolate ~~~

 

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Chocolate coated almond cookies? Am I in chocolate heaven?!

 

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So so so much different types of chocolate desserts ~~

 

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Descriptions of the different types of chocolate desserts will be shown on the menu and also labeled at the buffet table.

 

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Colourful and unique – but I must say – just eating each of every single chocolate dessert can be very challenging as you’ll find yourself feeling full before even trying half of them ~ unless you’re me of course – it’s my job to sample EVERYTHING! It’s a tough job but hey – somebody’s gotta do it ~~

 

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One of my favourites – the chewy banana and chocolate milk fudge topped with caramel pop corn ~ texture and richness both spot on! Loved this!

 

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Their bite sized churros dipped in chocolate was very yummy as well! I had quite a few of them!

 

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I must also mention that this cake is one of the best cakes I’ve tasted. It’s Domican White Chocolate Pannacotta, with Raspberry and Mango Jelly layers. Simply gorgeous – not too rich – light yet packed with so much love!

 

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Needless to say – I have a few more slices of the cake as well as the popcorn chocolate dessert ~ Nyum! At the end of the afternoon tea – I achieved #chocolatecoma ~~ another version of foodcoma but induced by too much delicious sweet chocolate! For a chocolate lover – this is an ultimate feeling ~ Langham’s Chocolate Buffet Afternoon Tea is a must try and is available only during weekends!

Aria Bar & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Aria Bar and Lounge, The Langham Hotel,
One Southgate Avenue, Southbank

 

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That concludes the list for the best afternoon teas or high teas in Melbourne. Notice that each of them have their own unique characteristics which suit different occasions and different personalities. My advice is always – to make bookings earlier and to inform them of any dietary requirements or restrictions. I hope this post is useful in helping you decide your afternoon tea / high tea / high coffee experience in Melbourne!

 

This concludes my Melbourne Food Guide for the best high tea and afternoon teas! Do check out my other food guides on Melbourne!

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http://www.thanislim.com/2014/08/melbourne-food-guide-best-breakfast.html

Click on the link for the best breakfast and brunch places in Melbourne!

 

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http://www.thanislim.com/2014/08/melbourne-food-guide-best-restaurants.html

Click on the link for the best mid-range to fine dining restaurants in Melbourne!

 

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