Afternoon Tea at The Hotel Windsor
One of Melbourne’s premier Afternoon Tea destinations is The Hotel Windsor, where they serve up one of the daintiest tea-times in the world. Funky Tea Time checked it out on a rainy Wednesday afternoon and was taken by the scent of the fresh-out-of-the-oven scones.
Melbourne’s historic Hotel Windsor dates back to 1883 and boasts absolutely delightful Victorian architecture. This, coupled with the exquisite and perfectly aged furniture – the brown leather armchairs adorning the dedicated and non-dedicated lounge areas, finely carved coffee tables, cosily-lit lamps, warm carpet tones, elaborate chandeliers, gold-embossed frames on wall hangings, and dated staircases with perfect imperfections – all make for an utterly splendid backdrop for an afternoon tea!
Afternoon tea has been a specialty of The Hotel Windsor since 1883 and is served in the hotel’s restaurant, which exudes a warm, welcoming, and cosy ambience that instantly hit me. Not to mention, it was a rainy, cold winter’s day.
Out of an olden day movie
After being ushered into the hotel by the very polite, top-hatted, waist-coated, suited, and booted concierge, Russell, the warmth of the hotel grew warmer as we were led to the restaurant. On the way I took in (and in sheer delight I must add), the shinny wooden concierge desk, which showed signs of its age yet very well maintained. Add a wrought iron staircase as a backdrop to the desk, and a gold-embossed bell and you have something out of an olden day movie. (As a side-step, the Ladies Powder Room was also well worth the visit).
When we got to the restaurant I noticed a glass cabinet filled with Moet & Chandon, but I was soon distracted by the friendly waiters who led us through the room filled with beautifully decorated tables, which were covered in very crisp, and thick white tablecloths. The chandeliers adorning the room were simple yet elaborate and their reflection shone off the wooden square poles and the framed mirrors. Elegant curtaining draped perfectly over the windows, and whilst the chairs were simple (yet very cushy) they looked somewhat majestic and royal.
The table was set up with beautiful white china, which carried a silver pattern resembling the Hotel’s logo, and the cutlery was shiny and silver. First up we were treated to a glass of Hugo Capet Brut, and some delectable macaroons, chocolate ones, raspberry ones, combination-of-raspberry-and-vanilla ones, to name but a few!
Soft ‘n fluffy bread
We were then briefed about the teas that were available to choose from, which included their very own Hotel Windsor Blend, and some of my favourites: a Supreme Earl Grey – a little citrusy with hints of bergamot oil and marigold, Malabar Chai – a spicy concoction of cinnamon, cloves, rose petals, cardamom, star anise, and ginger. The usual suspects also made an appearance: Peppermint, Darjeeling, Jasmine, and the Hotel’s own Orange Pekoe tea. They also serve up blossoming teas in glass teapots (for maximum viewing pleasure) to include the Peaceful Lotus and the Enchanted Heart.
As the first tea began to flow in, quite literally, so did the three-tiered silver stand filled with (from bottom-up) the traditional favourite finger sandwiches: egg with mayonnaise and snow pea sprouts, smoked salmon with creamy avocado and dill, chicken with apple and mayonnaise, virginia ham with dijon mustard, and cucumber with sour cream and chives. All the ingredients tasted fresh and crisp where appropriate, i.e. the cucumber. And who doesn’t love fresh bread? It was soft and fluffy, and despite the generous serving size it left me wanting more.
As they say it ‘aint over till the fat lady sings: Operaaaaa-ooo-ooo cakes!
The middle tier carried petite cakes and pastries: a pistachio financier sponge with white hazelnut mousseline, religieuse (a choux pastry filled with chocolate and caramel crème pâtissière), raspberry lamingtons, strawberry and white chocolate mousse tart, and plenty of opera cakes, some made from joconde sponge with chocolate ganache and coffee butter cream or green tea (to die for!).
As for the icing on the cake? The cherry on top? These would have to be the freshly baked raisin & vanilla scones, which were served with double cream, and a variety of jams. They too were also fluffy and moist on the inside.
Tempted? Here are the details
Catering is available for vegetarians and there are also gluten free options. The hotel is situated at 111 Spring Street Melbourne and Afternoon Tea times and prices are as follows:
Monday-Friday: 12pm – 2pm and 2:30pm – 4:30pm $59 per person
Saturday-Sunday: 12pm – 2pm and 2:30pm – 4:30pm $79 per person and this includes an dessert buffet
Reservations are essential, and due to popular demand, allow at least 3-4 weeks advance notice for weekend bookings.
For telephone reservations (+61 3) 9633 6004
For email reservations firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hotel Windsor Afternoon Tea rates a 10/10 and next time round, it’ll be the Weekend Afternoon Tea.
Funky Tea Time Dignitaries & VIPs
Happy Hotel Windsor Afternoon Tea!
Nadalissa Tea-ser xx