It's a truth universally acknowledged that an afternoon tea aficionado in possession of a ravenous appetite must be in want of The Hotel Windsor's offering.
Indeed, walking into The Hotel Windsor’s tearoom for afternoon tea is much like being transported into the scene of a Jane Austen novel, featuring traditional 19th-century décor complete with chandeliers, linen table cloths, Noritake fine bone china and silverware to match.
The Hotel Windsor has been serving afternoon tea since 1883, and to this day holds a sterling reputation for what is arguably Melbourne’s best traditional afternoon tea offering.
As you can imagine, this is a rather big claim to make, but the beautiful setting, impeccable service and on-point menu epitomises an impressive attention to detail.
Today I’m trying The Hotel Windsor’s latest afternoon tea menu – the menu changes seasonally – with High Tea Society founder Michelle Milton.
We are offered a glass of sparkling wine on arrival and are asked to choose from 11 tea varieties, with tea served in individual silver teapots and an accompanying extra pot of hot water. There is also coffee available for those needing a stronger caffeine fix.
During the week, one can expect to receive the traditional three-tier cake stand featuring finger sandwiches, savouries, petit fours and of course, The Hotel Windsor’s famous plain and sultana scones.
This alone is enough to make you feel pleasantly full, but on weekends afternoon tea goers can expect the three-tier cake stand (minus the petit fours) and an extensive dessert buffet.
From the outset I already have my eye on a pistachio raspberry slice and rum and raisin opera slice, both of which are perfectly layered and beautifully presented.
Apart from the stunning petit fours, there’s also an impressive selection of whole cakes, including a to-die-for chocolate and orange gateaux, French madeleines, a fruit salad and a milk chocolate dessert fountain with a range of sweets and treats to dip in.
If there’s a fault with the weekend menu, it’s that there are 27 different dessert options to choose from, meaning that choosing the right desserts to sample is vital.
As expected, the finger sandwich fillings are delightfully fresh, with the chicken, celery and apple a stand-out and the hot English mustard mayonnaise adding a great tang to the shaved leg ham sandwich.
On the dessert front, a special mention must be made for the super-rich chocolate and hazelnut petit fours, and the sultana scones.
As many Melburnians are aware, The Hotel Windsor has plans for a multi-million dollar restoration and make-over in coming years. Timelines will be announced soon but you’ll still be able to enjoy afternoon tea until at least 2019, The High Tea Society has been told.
In the meantime, The Hotel Windsor remains the venue for a stylish, refined and above all, ultra-traditional afternoon tea.
The Hotel Windsor Weekend Afternoon Tea Menu:
- The Hotel Windsor’s famous traditional and sultana scones, baked fresh daily and served with double thick cream and Windsor jam
- Pie of mushroom and gruyère cheese
- Cheese gougère with tuna, capers and mayonnaise
- Egg mayonnaise and dill
- Smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese
- Chicken, celery and apple
- Shaved leg ham with hot English mustard mayonnaise
- Enjoy a selection of gateaux and pastries inspired by The Hotel Windsor’s 134 year heritage.