More and more places to enjoy high tea are springing up all over Melbourne. Elegant spots with deep roots in custom coexist with the creative and quirky newcomers who are giving high tea a fresh spin.
We have compiled a list of the finest establishments serving high tea in Melbourne, so you can indulge in a traditional experience or try something new.
Isn't it amusing that high tea was once looked down upon as a pretentious relic of the past? High tea, or afternoon tea, is a globally renowned tradition that many people seek out to relax and unwind from the hectic pace of modern life.
A visit to one of these establishments is likely to do one or more of the following: a) transport you to the Victorian era; b) make you feel like a right gentleman; c) make your stomach growl; d) remind you of a visit to your grandmother; or e) all of the above.
Not entirely unjustly, high tea is often associated with upper-class behaviour. Unfortunately, the fact that high tea is "taken" rather than "had" is not helpful. Or how the stereotypical image of the ladies who lunch with their pinkies out is outdated in today's Australia.
In spite of this, the enjoyment is undeniable. Dressing up for high tea is a fun tradition, and the meal itself consists mostly of sweets (with some savoury interludes).
Among Melbourne's many great restaurants, these are where you'll find the finest high tea. Many of them take the traditional high tea format and subvert it in some way. However, those who stick to traditional styles tend to flourish and even go to great lengths to impress.
FAQs About Melbourne
Many traditional options are served at a high tea. These include Scones, Asparagus Rolls, Crumpets, and Sandwiches. More contemporary options include Casseroles, Potatoes, Onion Cakes, and Pickled Salmon.
Most venues for high tea have a set dress code, typically smart-casual. This can include jeans, closed-toe shoes (no sneakers), and a collared shirt.
Traditional black teas such as Earl Grey, Assam, and Lady Grey are traditionally served at high tea afternoons. Herbal options such as chamomile, ginger and honey, and peppermint are usually served as well.
There are quite a few places in Melbourne to get high tea. Check out The Conservatory at Crown Melbourne, Mansion Hotel at Werribee Park, Om Nom at Adelphi Hotel, The Langham Hotel, or Cafe Blush.
High tea in Australia is a fancy affair. It’s an afternoon tea, with a menu that generally consists of a mix of sweet and savoury items, such as finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, macarons, cakes, tarts, and vol-au-vents. It’ll be served with a pot of freshly made tea or coffee and occasionally a glass of sparkling wine.
Guide To The Best High Tea In Melbourne
Australian cuisine is best represented in Melbourne. Finding the best option can be difficult when there are numerous possibilities. Of course, it's never been more difficult to find an adequate High Tea service.
We reached out to the High Tea Society's devoted membership of tea drinkers.
Conservatory, Crown Melbourne
Not allowed to visit the City of Lights? Authentic to the style of traditional Parisian hotel tea rooms, the Conservatory at Crown Melbourne transports you to the City of Lights. A reservation at this luxurious establishment is guaranteed to make a good impression.
Located on Melbourne's Southbank, this restaurant is known for its breathtaking Yarra views, marble floors, lavish décor, hand-crafted chocolate desserts, and lavish buffet spread. Conservatory Crown Melbourne has been heralded as one of the best buffets in Melbourne by local foodies.
- Located in: Crown Melbourne
- Address: 8, Level 1 Crown Towers, Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006
Essence on Exhibition, Regency Towers
Whether it’s a relaxed afternoon with family or a special occasion, afternoon tea at Essence-on-Exhibition is one of the best high teas Melbourne has for petite scones, macaroons, and mini sandwiches piled with three plates high.
Available all week from $49 to $75 (with champers) per person, Marriott provides a wallet-friendly option to the uber-appealing pastime.
- Located in: Regency Towers
- Address: Corner Exhibition &, Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Lancemore Mansion Hotel Werribee Park
A lavish spread of sweet and savoury delicacies welcomes you every Sunday afternoon at the Mansion Hotel & Spa. Presented by T2 and Mansion Hotel, High SocieTEA (as the weekly event is called) is held in the sublime hotel lobby, the historic Library during winter, or the majestic balcony during warmer months.
- Located in: Lancemore Mansion Hotel Werribee Park
- Address: Gate 2, K Rd, Werribee VIC 3030
The Melba Restaurant, The Langham Hotel
The Melba Restaurant is home to The Langham High Tea, which offers a variety of high tea options. Examples include Afternoon Tea With Wedgwood, Twilight Tea With Wedgwood, The Greatest Mother’s Day High Tea, and Spa And Afternoon Tea, to name a few.
The Langham High Tea Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood, in particular, is a bespoke tea experience that teams a special menu created by the hotels’ pastry chefs with Wedgwood specialty teas served in tailor-made “Langham Rose” Wedgwood teaware.
- Located in: The Langham, Melbourne
- Address: 8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006
The Hotel Windsor
The Hotel Windsor, which first opened its doors in 1883, has served more than two million customers high tea in the traditional Melbourne fashion. The hotel, in honour of its 130 years of serving afternoon tea, has published a guide to high tea that details the customs and traditions associated with the tradition.
Cauliflower and cheese pie, caramel log, mandarin mousse, and The Hotel Windsor's World-Famous Scones are just a few of the tantalising desserts available. You can't go wrong with The Hotel Windsor's high tea if you're looking to sample only one of the best in Melbourne's central business district.
- Address: 111 Spring St, Melbourne VIC 3000
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto
The Clark Sisters’ High Tea is a debugging-style experience not to be missed. The Clarke Sisters were renowned for spending lavish afternoons having tea. They were also both (at different points in life) married to the same man who commissioned the original Rialto building.
Here at the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, you will find heavenly treats from Vue de Monde, Le Petit Gâteau, and Merchant, along with traditional sandwiches, scones, and a choice of the main course served on Noritake China.
- Address: 495 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
The Art of Afternoon Tea, Park Hyatt Melbourne
A visit to the Art of Afternoon Tea, hosted by the illustrious Park Hyatt Melbourne, is a once-in-a-lifetime, five-star high tea experience. You can rest assured that your dining experience will be uniquely Melburnian thanks to the city's abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants and expert sommeliers who use only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients.
High tea here is served at the Tea Lounge overlooking the picturesque Trilogy Gardens. Highlights include finely cut sandwiches together with freshly baked scones served with a selection of jams and double cream, followed by a delectable selection of afternoon pastries.
- Located in: Park Hyatt Melbourne
- Address: 1 Parliament Square Off, Parliament Pl, Melbourne VIC 3002
Collins Kitchen, Grand Hyatt Melbourne
You can enjoy one of the best high teas in Melbourne at one of the city's finest restaurants. Dining at Collins Kitchen is an extravagant treat that will leave you with wonderful memories and delicious food.
Named after the prestigious Hotels location on Collins St, the menu offers many french inspired options such as pastel cupcakes, macarons and handmade petit-fours. The melt in your mouth menu is served on 24-carat gold-rimmed Cristina Re china with beautiful arrays of colours and patterns. Collins kitchen focuses on local ingredients, with much of the menu capturing local offerings of seasonal produce, only the finest ingredients, of course.
- Located in: Grand Hyatt Melbourne
- Address: 123 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
What sets high tea at The Westin apart from other venues is that it has partnered up with Maker & Monger to present a high tea and high cheese at-home experience that is unrivalled. The exceptional package is perfect for parties of one or two, with a choice of high cheese or traditional high tea.
The Westin offers a seasonal menu of delicate bites, including scones, finger sandwiches and delectable desserts. Assembled on specially designed takeaway high tea stands, this high tea at home is the real deal. Whether it’s for date night or an afternoon tea treat, this drool-worthy menu has it all.
- Address: 205 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
This place will likely give the Madhatter a run for his money. Not a high tea venue per se, but more of an all-year garden soiree is what Madame Brussels will be able to offer you and your tribe. For $55 per head, you’ll get an array of sweets and savouries, pots of tea, and French plunged coffee. Enough to send any man into a food-induced coma.
- Address: 3/59 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Om Nom, Adelphi Hotel
There’s no better place to treat your tastebuds than at the world’s first dessert-themed hotel. The hotel’s colours and textures are based on desserts. And it also features jars of lollies and sticky toffee apples that welcome you to the lobby and reception area.
Other mouthwatering features include free sweets in the bar fridges of every room, a turn-down service that comes with homemade macaroons, and of course, the 40-seat dessert resto-bar, Om Nom, that spins out sweet treats which look like pieces of art. No wonder it made the list of the best high tea Melbourne has on offer!
- Located in: Adelphi Hotel
- Address: 187 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tea Room, National Gallery of Victoria
A team of talented pastry chefs are the masterminds behind the handcrafted macarons, éclairs, and other compelling cakes and savouries found at the NGV Tea Room. High tea here comes with a modern twist, i.e. it incorporates tradition with current trends.
One fun example is that green tea and chai come served in pots with modern patterns. The best part is, thanks to the inclusive nature of the gallery, you needn’t come for the art to gain access to one of the best high tea Melbourne CBD has to date.
- Located in: National Gallery of Victoria
- Address: 180 St Kilda Rd, Southbank VIC 3006
Mámor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón
Plush velvet furniture and fine antique china and silverware make Mámor a great location for your next high tea Melbourne hangout. Other than heavenly morsels of food made from the best produce in town, it’s also extremely familiar with helping to plan events. Mámor will be able to suggest a host of entertainment options such as tarot card reading, tea leaf reading, life drawing, burlesque, professional photography, topless waiters, and bonbonniere.
- Address: 153 Johnston St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Mary Eats Cake
In the heart of Brunswick lies Mary Eats Cake, a two-storey industrial glam’ tea house that’s dedicated to spoiling you with their version of fresh savoury items, sweet treats, and artisan teas served in fine bone china.
In addition, add-ons such as French sparkling on arrival, tea blending workshop, wine pairing package, coffee, calligraphy workshop, blossoming tea, and cheese & fruit board are also available during bookings.
- Address: 558 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056
Hopetoun Tea Rooms
This charming spot was originally a bulk grain store sold in 1837 but unfortunately burnt down in 1889. It was then erected by The City Property Company in 1893. Soon after, it became one of the best high teas Melbourne CBD has today.
Since then, Hopetoun Tea Rooms has continued dishing out fine foods and beverages made with the utmost quality. Treats such as quiches, pinwheels, petit fours, and seasonal fruits generally decorate the three-tiered serving platter.
- Located in: The Block Arcade
- Address: 282 Collins Street – shop one and 2 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Strangers Corridor, Parliament House
Where better to have a glass of sparkling wine than inside the Parliament House of Victoria? Strangers Corridor has been serving traditional afternoon teas since the 1920s. The venue is one of the more traditional high tea venues in Melbourne, including freshly baked scones served with jam and cream, pastries and finger sandwiches.
When you arrive, you’ll be offered a glass of sparkling wine, and the booking includes unlimited brewed tea and coffee at your table. A guided tour is offered to help you make the most of your time at this Australian landmark.
- Located in: Parliament House
- Address: 1 Spring St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Miss Violets Team Rooms, Old Man Drew
Step back in time and enjoy a traditional high tea at one of Melbourne’s best cafes. Picture high tea, and you instantly think of Royal Albert China, crystal chandeliers, white starched tablecloths and fresh flowers. That is exactly what you are greeted with when you visit Miss Violets Tea Rooms in the Old Man Drew cafe.
Sometimes it’s nice to be treated to a traditional menu with no surprises, and that’s exactly what this venue offers. The menu offers well-established options, such as scones, ribbon sandwiches, and cold savoury options. Reminisce the bygone era with Miss Violets Tea Room.
- Located in: Old Man Drew Cafe
- Address: 359-361 Mt Alexander Rd, Ascot Vale VIC 3032
High Tea at The Tea Rooms 1892
The Tea Rooms 1892 sit at an iconic spot in the Block Arcade. They have a rich history of serving high tea to elegant Melburnians in gilt surrounds. Of course, there are scones and their famous smoked salmon pinwheel sandwiches.
Or enjoy quiches, chicken liver pate on chestnut biscuits, and refreshing fresh fruit. A selection of sweet petit fours also goes perfectly with your pot of tea. Reservations essential.
Afternoon Tea at Hotel Windsor
Travel back in time to 1883 for a traditional afternoon tea at Hotel Windsor – with a hint of stylish contemporary flavours. A three-tiered silver stand is adorned with freshly baked scones, sweet jam and cream.
Exquisite pastries include savoury tarts with tomato, ricotta and fried capers. There's also blueberry, sake and mascarpone choux. Or try classic cucumber sandwiches and brioche buns with white anchovy, paprika and lemon.
High Tea at Royal St Collins
Who said tea was just for the afternoon? Royal St Collins invites you to take in their delicious treats at breakfast too. Indulge in gorgeous loose leaf teas from Harney & Sons (or a jaunty mimosa if you prefer).
The food menu includes mini desserts and point sandwiches. Then there are two kinds of scones – rosewater and date or orange blossom – ready to be dolloped with jam and cream.
High Tea at Om Nom Kitchen
High tea at Om Nom Kitchen is a creative take on tradition. You'll find Om Nom set within the designer Adelphi Hotel. The décor is dark and dramatic and sets the scene for scones with gruyere and truffle honey.
Savouries include a confit duck waffle cone. Sandwiches are filled with egg, potato and Jamon. For sweets, think passionfruit pav, lemon meringue profiteroles and the famous ‘Lamingtart’.
Afternoon Tea at the Conservatory
The conservatory at Crown is an indulgent experience in bright and airy surroundings. Enjoy an immaculately presented array of gorgeous bites with unlimited tea and coffee. Warm scones, both plain and raisin, are served with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
There are hot savouries like seafood vol au vents and wild mushroom pies. Perfect finger sandwiches have fillings like the classic cucumber and cream cheese. Finish on a sweet note with something like raspberry and Earl Grey tea ganache tart.
Afternoon Tea at Budapest Café
Carlton’s Budapest Café is inspired by the notion of Wes Anderson’s film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Their regular menu features fluffy Japanese pancakes, custard puffs and creamy mentaiko udon.
But you can visit from 3 pm on Fridays for their dainty take on afternoon tea. Order a sweet afternoon tea set for almond tuiles, Earl Grey madeleines, cronuts and a cup of tea. Or indulge in an array of unique coffee flavours, from tiramisu treats to matcha red bean creations and more.
High Tea in Style by Cristina Re
Cristina Re is known for her gorgeous gold-trimmed tableware and elegant, vintage style. For an ultra-glamorous high tea experience, head to Collins Kitchen at the Grand Hyatt. The high tea is framed with Cristina’s beautiful pieces.
Enjoy warm scones and finger sandwiches with fillings like confit chicken. There are also golden savoury goat cheese pastries, rose macarons and other decadent treats. Tea is served by loose-leaf icons T2, and there’s also an entirely vegetarian menu available.
High Tea at Collins Coffee House
Sure, you can dine under chandeliers and decorative ceilings. But Collins Coffee House also loves to box up their baked beauties and deliver them to your door. Whether you're dining at home or in the heritage building, enjoy pumpkin and sage tarts, egg rolls, chicken Waldorf finger sandwiches.
Plus classic scones, moist cakes and Italian biscuits. Now there’s a perfect Sunday. Gluten-free selections are also available.
It's easy to forget about the tradition of afternoon tea, or high tea as it's sometimes called, in a city so well-known for its coffee and hipster cafes.
This old favourite has made a comeback in Melbourne. It was originally developed to stave off hunger between lunch and a late dinner. Who doesn't dream of a leisurely afternoon spent sipping tea and nibbling on delicate ribbon sandwiches and scrumptious pastries?
A chic restaurant, a chic outdoor setting, a chic hot spring, or a hot spring. You can count on finding something of interest in this list.