Wendy Hargreaves: Melbourne’s best high teas
Stick your little pinkies out people. It’s time get your posh on for a few hours of old-fashioned chill with nice spot of high tea.
Melburnians have enjoyed fluffy scones and dainty cakes since the 1800s, giving our city strong high tea form. Here are five of the best places to try…
153 Johnston St, Collingwood
Open by appointment, this lush hideaway on busy Johnston St celebrates all things decadent (from $60pp), with dainty crockery full of flaky sweet and savoury pastries, chocolate treats, macarons and fluffy lemonade scones with jam and cream, all washed down with tea, coffee or something stronger. On weekdays, Mamon offers a $20 Devonshire Tea ($3 extra for vegan/gluten or dairy free) with two scones, jam, cream, cookies and a bottomless cup of English Breakfast tea.
1 Southbank Ave, Southbank
Until tomorrow, this lush tea room is offering a kid-friendly Disney Junior Minnie Mouse High Tea, with hand-decorated shortbread ears, cookie sandwiches, honey joys shaped like flowers and cute vanilla cupcakes served in a miniature ice cream, among other delicious stuff ($59pp). The more traditional Windsor Hotel also does an indulgent high tea (from $75), with an eye-popping dessert buffet at weekends ($99pp).
Block Arcade, 282 Collins St, Melbourne
Snaring a table a Melbourne’s most iconic high tea venue is an exercise in patience, with a six-month waiting list on weekend bookings, and two to three months for week days. They’re coming for a taste of yesteryear (continuously trading since 1891), but mostly for the cakes, pastries and sweet gems that come from the cellar kitchen. Fans also know the four-course high tea ($65) is great value, with generous serves and two drinks included.
Parliament House, Spring St, Melbourne
Ever wondered what it’s like in the back passages of Parliament House? Here’s a chance to get a guided tour, followed by a top-notch high tea in the Strangers Corridor, the busy dining area for politicians to talk turkey during sitting weeks. If only those walls could talk. While the pollies are away, the kitchen is open to mere mortals, serving freshly-baked scones with jam and cream, sweet and savoury pastries and finger sandwiches on tiered stands (with vegetarian and gluten-free options at no extra cost). It all happens weekdays from 2.30pm-4pm. Call 03 9651 8944 to book.
380 Lygon St, Carlton
Watch your favourite movie in a boutique cinema lounge and work your way through Nova’s high tea box, washed down with a Pimms cocktail, or your choice of hot or iced tea. Nibble on cut little sandwiches and bite-sized pastries and desserts like the gooey chocolate tart. The high tea ($45pp) includes the movie, but is only served on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. You can also privately hire the cinema for 20 people or more – choosing any movie in the catalogue.