Afternoon Tea homecoming….you can never have too many Afternoon Teas!
A week after arriving from my European Tour, I met my good friend at the fountain outside the National Gallery of Victoria. It was a sunny and pleasant Sunday afternoon. I was still feeling jet-lagged, trying to transition back into the time-zone, while my friend was hung-over from a trashy late night. So we were both feeling ‘lazy Sunday-afternoon-ish’ which was perfect.
After basking in some of the sun’s rays, we took to the Gallery, as we were early for the Afternoon Tea. A very worthwhile exhibit featuring fans and levitating VHS cassette tape captured our attention for a decent span of time. We also saw some very interesting and colourful costumes by Viktor & Rolf, and casually strolled through the open spaces, appreciating as best as possible the classics by Rembrandt and Steen, and a favourite of mine: Little Red Riding Hood by Gustav Dore’. Despite such headliner acts our minds we focused on the tea, and 3pm couldn’t have come soon enough.
We took the escalators up to the Tea Room on Level 1 of the Gallery. It was a packed house and there was a hustle ‘n bustle busy café vibe going on. The décor was dark and modern with a classis twist, largely due to the gold-framed mirrors, which were the backdrop of our seats; two very comfortable black leather bucket seats.
Our host briefed us on the Afternoon Tea, and informed us that we could choose one blend from their impressive selection including Assam, Keemun, Melbourne Breakfast, and Pai Mu Tan. Tea would be accompanied by a three-tiered stand consisting of sandwiches, scones, and treats, all chosen from the ones on display at the counter.
The service was swift, which is always nice, although I felt it was a little too café-like for an afternoon tea. I opted for the Earl Grey blend, which compared to other Earl Greys was very strong. My friend went for the Genmaicha blend, which he described as “roasted rice loveliness”. He had initially chosen the Ti Kuan Yin blend (Iron Budda) however we were informed that it wasn’t available, which was a little disappointing, especially as it reminds him of his time in China.
The teas were served in standard café-like white and clear teapots and mugs. Though I quite liked the silver-like touch on the sugar bowl.
The three-tiered stand made its grand entrance and I instantly noticed and eyed off the bright, hot pink macaroon. It tasted just as a macaroon should, and my friend was also rather impressed with his delectable chocolate one. They were dusted with a hint of icing sugar, giving them a nice touch.
An interesting treat was the bite-sized marshmallow cake, and not being a fan of marshmallows, off they went to my friend. The other item I passed on was the green Marzipan treat. I guess I’m not very keen of soft and gooey things! The mini vanilla cup cakes topped with a dollop of chocolate icing and a piece of chocolate were the pick of the bunch, delicious! And the mini cake tarts, which were topped with a nice syrupy glazing, were another favourite of mine.
On to tier no. 2: the scones. They were served with double cream and jam, and sprinkled with flour, a nice homemade look. I do like my scones rather petite-ish as they can be quite filling. These scones were quite large, although they were fluffy and still warm when we got to them, which compensated for their size. They also had the right amount of crispiness on the outside.
For the sandwiches I requested the vegetarian option, which was catered for adequately, particularly given we hadn’t requested it at the time of booking. The sandwiches consisted of cream cheese, and egg and mayonnaise ones. As part of the vegetarian option there were also mushroom and spinach mini quiches, which were very yummy. The non-vegetarian option included a salmon sandwich, a chicken and cucumber sandwich, and chicken ricotta mini-pastry rolls. The sandwiches were a combination of white and rye bread, and had a stale texture to them. I do love my sandwiches rather fresh, soft, and fluffy so they weren’t great. My friend on the other hand didn’t mind the sandwiches this way.
The National Gallery of Victoria’s Afternoon Tea rates 3 tea cups out of a possible 5. The service was good, the atmosphere is not really my cup of tea, and the sandwiches were a little disappointing. As a guest reviewer for Funk tea Time, my friend says “there were too many sweets and not enough sandwiches”. I tend to agree with my friend, though it’s still worth the visit.
The Tea Room at the Gallery serves up Afternoon Tea for $35 per person, and Sparkling Afternoon Tea, (which includes a glass of Sparkling Brut) at $45 per person. They also serve up Devonshire Tea for $15.50 per person, and they do packages consisting of Afternoon Tea and current exhibitions, if you fancy a package deal. The Tea Room is essentially a café where you can duck into for a coffee, cake, savoury snacks a glass of wine, and sandwiches.
Visit their website: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/visit/places-to-eat/the-tea-room
Booking by email was very prompt!
Happy National Gallery of Victoria Afternoon Tea!
Nadalisa Tea-ser xx
Afternoon Tea homecoming....you can never have too many Afternoon Teas! A week after arriving from my European Tour, I met my good friend at the fountain outside the National Gallery of Victoria. It was a sunny and pleasant Sunday afternoon. I was still feeling... Read more
Funky Tea Time steps back in time to enjoy a high tea in the period splendour that is The Chateau Yering. So put on your vintage hat and fancy gloves for an afternoon of tantalising treats, prepared by the Chateau's Executive Chef Mathew Macartney and his team of pastry chefs.... Read more
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... Read more
What’s a girl to do when she is invited by a fine young gentleman to an afternoon of high tea and high society at one of the world’s most prestigious hotels? She accepts and puts on her best tea party dress! It was a cold winter’s afternoon and the snow was falling in Amsterdam... Read more
What’s a Tea Lady to do while she’s on an Afternoon Tea tour of Europe? She lets that fine young gentleman know she’s in town, and accepts an invitation for a ‘Reunion Afternoon Tea’ and a tour of Berlin. How dainty…and cultural!
Berlin in the winter-time
Picture a grey, overcast, cold, and rainy day in Berlin. Now imagine walking around the city to all the historical sites, monuments and attractions, only having to stop every half hour or so for a hot chocolate, because your fingers are snap frozen, and your nose is as red as Rudolf’s.
After slurping yet another hot chocolate and having seen enough of the city, we made our way to the Regent Hotel Concierge. We arrived cold and shivery and much in need of a good cuppa.
A very dedicated ‘Tea Master’
The service was very friendly from the word go, particularly having just walked in off the street. Our host Roland Proh was as proud as punch of his Afternoon Tea, and had the exclusive title of ‘Tea Master’. He led us through the large spacious foyer with marble floors and walls. The moment I entered the dedicated tea lounge I noticed the much-needed and cosily lit fireplace, which was decked out beautifully in Christmas decorations, and the grand piano in the corner. An elaborate chandelier lit up the intimate and small room, and was complimented with little lamps spread out along the walls and candles on each of the tables. Gold-framed paintings and mirrors also added to the charm of the room.
A choice of seating arrangements
What I really liked about the hotel’s tea lounge was that it was very small in comparison to other hotels I have visited. And despite this, it offered multiple seating arrangement options. There were a couple of table with chairs options, a small lounge area with its own couches and arm chairs, and a set of two cushioned arm chairs directly in front of the fireplace. We were offered the couches, conveniently located to the right of a very impressive tea collection – pole (tea) position.
So many teas, choose wisely!
Despite the number of teas on offer, aspart of the ‘Regent Afternoon Tea’ we were only able to choose from one tea blend each. I went for the Splendid Earl Grey, which has put me in the mood for this blend weeks after having the tea here. The fine young gentleman opted for the Wintermarchen blend, a winter fruit tea, and a mixture of apple pieces, rosehip, hibiscus, cinnamon and cloves, rounded off with fine vanilla and cinnamon flavour.
Our teas were served promptly, in shiny silverware, and on our serving plates we had a yummy chocolate bon bon, which we devoured instantaneously, and just as the three-tiered stand arrived.
The three-tiered stand makes its grand, yet petite entrance!
The stand consisted of bite-sized sandwiches; salmon, egg, ham, and cucumber. They were very fresh and literally bite-sized – which was ideal, as we were really after a petite-ish bite before we hit Kreuzberg for dinner that evening. The sandwiches were decorated with a salad arrangement, which added a nice and fresh touch. The sweets tier was not over-done and also consisted of bite-sized portions. There were mini raspberry tarts, generously topped with fresh raspberries, a hint of icing sugar, and small traces of pistachio shavings – perfection! The disproportionately-cut fruit cake slices were moist and very airy, yum-o!
We shared the two truffles, one white chocolate, and one milk chocolate, which again, was a nice serving size, and had a ‘melt in your mouth’ texture. And the piece of Turkish Delight, I am told by the fine young gentleman was delish – I am not a Turkish Delight eater-ess. As with the sandwiches, the sweets were garnished with a bright violet coloured flower. I really like the detail here.
Finally, at the top of the stand were the scones, all of which contained raisins and were drizzled with a sprinkling of flour. They came with clotted cream, and a nice strawberry jam. I like me a good jam, though sometimes this can be overlooked. The clotted cream also had a few green leaves sprouting out of it. While the scones were fluffy and still moist upon peeling them open, they were quite large in comparison to the sandwiches and treats. There was one scone that was bite-sized, if they were all that size, and consistent with the rest of the items, it would have been perfect!
Although our Tea Master initially ushered us to the Tea Lounge, and took our requests, we were then taken care of by someone who appeared to be his Junior Master in training. Junior also looked like he enjoyed doing the tea thing. He checked in with us every now and then, and topped up our teacups.
The Regent Hotel’s Afternoon Tea easily scores 5 tea cups, out of a possible 5. I was very impressed with the service, the décor, and the tea itself was something I have perhaps been searching for: petite, bite-sized, and not over the top. This was one of my favourite Afternoon Teas in the world.
Afternoon Tea at The Regent Hotel is served daily from 2pm until 6pm and they have a few packages to choose from, including the ‘Regent Afternoon Tea’, which is 31 euros, and the Sächsischer Hof Tea, which includes a glass of champagne and costs 41 euros.
Visit their website: http://www.fischersfritzberlin.com/115.0.html?&L=1
Next time I’m in town, I’ll definitely check out their ‘Art & Tea’ package, which includes a visit to a current exhibition followed by Afternoon Tea. A Tea Lady needs an excuse to come back to see the fine young gentleman you know. Really, it’s about the tea!
Happy Regent Hotel Berlin Afternoon Tea!
Nadalissa Tea-ser xx
Funky Tea Time steps back in time to enjoy a high tea in the period splendour that is The Chateau Yering. So put on your vintage hat and fancy gloves for an afternoon of tantalising treats, prepared by the Chateau’s Executive Chef Mathew Macartney and his team of pastry chefs.
One could say I was in my high tea element whilst staying at The Chateau Yering recently. With a history dating back to the 1800’s, the Chateau is located in the heart of Victoria’s Yarra Valley, and is nothing short of alluring, charming, and stunning.
Beautifully decorated rooms
Whilst my review is centred around the high tea, it is important to set the scene and the surrounds; the lush green gardens with a croquet set – neatly scattered about the place, the lemon trees with lemons on the ground, the grass tennis court, the shiny wooden sweeping staircase, the wooden panelling throughout the corridors, the exquisite carpets, and the beautifully decorated rooms.
The Chateau is a heritage-listed mansion, offering period accommodation. It boasts 32 luxuriously decorated suites, a Library, Lounge, Drawing Room, Chinese Room, bar, and the Award-winning Eleonore’s Restaurant, some of these still in their original 1850’s form. The library features furnishings with warm tones, complimented by a cosy fireplace, elegant gold-trim velvet drapes, aged leather antique armchairs bearing creases, and gold-framed paintings.
Exuding effortlessness and timelessness
And then we come to the Drawing Room: the setting for our high tea! The decoration was remarkable; ornate ceilings, multiple sitting areas – each decorated individually, some with embossed and embroidered couches, and armchairs. A series of classic, rough-edged rugs lay about the room, exuding effortlessness and timelessness. The room was light and bright, thanks to the French doors and windows. The main window showcased some of the gardens and the huge Chilean Wine PalmTree.
We took our seats in the sitting area immediately in front of the white ornate fireplace, and half-sawn wooden barrel containing the firewood. The fireplace was decorated with antique vases and a fine painting. By the French windows, which were also beautifully draped, sat petite period tables and chairs. I could only imagine how the folk of yesteryear would come here to socialise.
Our lovely hostess brought us a glass of sparkling to start off with, and was quick to follow with a platter full of finger sandwiches and mini baguettes. They were filled with vibrantly coloured grilled vegetables (we had booked a vegetarian high tea), and smoked salmon. The savoury tarts, and smoked salmon boats topped with a yummy sauce and caviar, were quite unique among all the teas I’ve reviewed so far, and I must add – very delicious.
Packed with more treats than I could imagine devouring
The three-tiered stand with all the goodies then made a grand entrance. It was packed with more treats than I could imagine devouring. Where to start? Well, as poffertjes are a personal favourite of mine, and were on the very top tier, I’ll start there. At the risk of offending the Dutch, they were the yummiest, fluffiest, and most perfectly shaped poffertjes – dusted off with the requisite icing sugar. Beside them were the pistachio doughnuts and the Trifle with Mandarin Gel and topped with marshmallows. So again, you can see already it was like no other high tea I’ve experienced before. This was an interesting spin on the traditional teas. As I was working my way through the top tier, I had to stop for a rest as I had tiers 2 and 3 to go still.
The freshness was oozing out of them!
Tier 2: The brownies were dunked in a rich chocolate sauce and topped with perfect decorative dollops of cream, and chocolate chips. Amazing! The Berry Cheesecakes had just the right amount of biscuit layer, which made for a great tasting combination. There were specks of berry visible through the sides of the Cheesecakes, and they were also topped cream, and finished with berries and purple flower petals. They looked like something straight out of a glossy baking book. The lamingtons were sliced in half and were filled with cream and jam, which was sticking out beautifully imperfectly on the sides. The freshness was oozing out of them!
After polishing off all the above, it was a relief that the scones were rather petite, on tier 3. They were presented sliced in half but still intact, and served with fig jam, cream, and dusted off with icing sugar. They were light and fluffy, and hit the right tea-time spot!
Made with passion
We were offered tea after the cake stand came out, and there wasn’t such an emphasis on tea offerings here, which was fine by me. The tea was served in beautifully decorated chinaware, which reminded me of Delft Blue design. We chose a traditional afternoon tea and sipped away whilst enjoying the wonderful treats, which looked like they had been made with passion. This is what the emphasis was on. Renowned Chef Mathew Macartney was behind the high tea, together with his team of pastry chefs.
The service was fabulous and our hostess was more than obliging and happy to tell us about the contents of the high tea. It was service with a smile all the way.
With the Chateau being a one-hour drive from my place, this is somewhere I will definitely go back to on my own frequently, just to delve into the world of yesteryear (and another high tea or two!). The Chateau Yering’s High Tea scores 5 stars out of a possible 5.
High Tea is served every Sunday between 2:30pm and 4:30pm in the Drawing Room, the Library, or the Lounge room. It costs $55.00 per person, including a glass of sparkling wine or $79.00 per person including a glass of French Champagne.
Visit chateauyering.com.au and contact them on email@example.com or
+61 3 9237 3333.
Happy High Tea at the Chateau Yering!
Nadalissa Tea-ser xx
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
What’s a girl to do when she is invited by a fine young gentleman to an afternoon of high tea and high society at one of the world’s most prestigious hotels? She accepts and puts on her best tea party dress!
It was a cold winter’s afternoon and the snow was falling in Amsterdam as we rode our bikes through the thick of it and then parked outside the Amstel. Upon taking a glance up at the historical building dating back to the 1800’s (and be sure to flick through the pictures) I was in love. Not only did it resemble those quaint little canal houses of the city on a larger scale, the snowfall and the bare tree branches made it look like something out of a movie.
After entering the hotel and being in awe of the old fashioned decors, we were led to a very naturally-lit space: the Amstel Bar and Brasserie which instantly felt very cosy, especially given the cooler temperatures outside. We were greeted ever-so-high-society-like, with formal hand-shakes and our coats were taken away to the cloak room.
Elegant antique chairs
As our host led us through the room, I looked across at the seats by the window overlooking the Amstel River and the beautiful snowfall. I was hoping that the window views with the ‘reserved’ sign on the table were ours and, they were!
The views were also like a scene from a white Christmas movie and so too were the elegant antique chairs with beautiful embossing and century-old polished timber trimmings. I had met my match: the kind young gentleman also.
Seated, I started to take in the views of the room: it was filled with well-suited and booted gentlemen and highly maintained ladies who were in no rush to be done with their tea. Elaborate chandeliers complimented the natural light, and not because they were lit but their colour fit in with the ambience of the room.
Lamps, which looked like they’d been sourced from a very exotic location were stationed at various antique hardwood tables, whilst the medieval-looking candle arrangements posted on the walls lit the room even further. I was also taken by the subtle and perfect scent of fresh flower arrangements which filled the room.
My observations were soon interrupted by our very own tea hostess who initiated proceedings by informing us about the Japan Original Genmaicha Tea, a “traditional green tea from the country of the rising sun. A tea with a specific greenish flavour, in combination with a full round taste and rice”.
Our hostess proceeded to explain that she would come and visit us with a different tea at regular intervals as she poured the tea from the shiny silver teapot so elegantly. As I sipped the Japan Original Genmaicha I was taken by the full-bodied taste and originality of the tea.
I then turned my attention to the china: Villeroy and Boch and it carried a beautiful design of butterflies and flowers: to die for!
Next up: an elaborate and somewhat rustic tray on a stand was then brought in and flourished with a wonderful selection of spritz cookies, biscuits, scones, pastries, chocolates, unusual cakes, and to my surprise, a stand-up circular loaf of bread that had been hollowed out and filled with a selection of delectable sandwiches to include egg salad with watercress, smoked chicken, smoked salmon, and cucumber, and being the vegequarian (I eat fish but no other meat) that I am I had all the salmon, cucumber, and egg sandwiches, which were very crisp and fresh and left a very distinct taste in my mouth. The scones were both vanilla and lemon flavoured and were accompanied by yellow clotted cream and in one word, were: yummy!
Teas included China Lung Ching, and Amstel Luxury Tong-Ting Oolong, and the Darjeeling Summer Flush, which originated from the North India/Nepal border, straight from the slopes of the Himalayas to be precise. It was described as a “mild tea with a refined musk flavour, and referred to as the Champagne of teas”. I can’t say I’ve ever tasted anything quite like it and realised this wasn’t just a high tea, it was also a journey of tea flavours throughout the world.
As we realised we’d finished all the delicacies and that there were no more teas to enjoy we fell back into our chairs and continued to enjoy the last drops of our final tea, savouring every moment.
The service at the Amstel fit its facade, history, and interiors. It was a truly unique experience and one that I will be going back for time and again.
High Tea at the Amstel Intercontinental Hotel is available every day of the week from 12pm until 6pm and they have packages starting from 35 euros.
Stay tuned for the next high tea at the very posh Windsor Hotel in Melbourne and also a history on high teas.