The Tea Room

Posted on February 24, 2011


Surely I can’t be the only one noticing that English trends are becoming more and more popular? I’m talking foodie trends of course.

1. Cider – a drink favoured by our soccer loving counterparts has been gaining in Melbourne watering holes. Many places even have a range of ciders on tap now; that’s when you know it’s becoming almost as important as beer in our great southern land! Can any interstate visitors confirm whether this is happening elsewhere in Australia or if it’s just limited to us Victorians?

2. High tea/afternoon tea. THIS, I’m sure is becoming in vogue Australia wide if my friend’s friend’s website ( is anything to go by. Apparently the drinking of tea in the afternoon became a custom in England back in the 1600s when a member of Portuguese royalty married into England, and thus introducing this habit with her. So then a tradition of sweets and tea in the afternoon was born.

Umm, and that’s all the trends I can name at this stage. So anyhow, this post evidently, is going to be about afternoon tea – although I actually had it the morning. But hey, what does time matter? Typically, afternoon tea is hosted at fancy hotel rooms and it’s a pretty refined affair. Nowadays, cafes and even bars serve their own versions of afternoon tea.

In an attempt to be a lady of culture, I had afternoon tea, in the morning, at The Tea Room (Level 1, National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC). The room itself isn’t anything special. Unfortunately there were no great pieces of art for us to gaze thoughtfully at will we sip at our cups of tea, or in our case, coffee. Food and value though I rate quite highly.

The standard afternoon tea offering is priced at $45 for two. That’s right, it works out to be only $22.50 per person. As most high tea aficionados would know, it is usually a pricey experience, with prices easily at $35+ per person and that’s usually a weekday price (yup, the fancy hotels charge a premium for a weekend tea experience). For it’s $60 per two person serve, The Tea Room will also provide a glass of bubbly for you and your companion.

So now onto the food. $45 buys you either 2 pots of tea or 2 espresso coffees and a very traditional three tiered platter of bite sized treats. Top tier is for the savouries, 3 little pastries (pastie, pie and sausage roll) and 3 mini sandwiches (egg mayo, smoked salmon and roasted veg). Middle tier is for the scones, jam and cream. Then the final tier is a selection of desserts (eclairs, macaron, chocolates, cake etc). Taste wise, everything hit the mark. Especially the cream that went with the scones – delish!

It may not look like too much, but rest assured it was more than enough for two. In fact, I struggled to finish off my portion, and it took a long time to digest all that sugar! But what better way to walk off your meal (and sugar high) than to stroll through the gallery pondering the wonderful works from the past? Perfect way to spend the weekend.