Looking for a non-traditional high tea at a stylish venue?With its high ceilings and expansive chandeliers, large windows overlooking the Yarra River, high-backed leather chairs and mostly white, cream and mint colour scheme, there's no doubt the Conservatory at Crown oozes class - and it comes with a price tag to match.
A basic afternoon tea (read: no champagne) will set you back $70 per person, jumping up to $85 for a glass of Moet and Chandon, and an eye-watering $115 for free-flowing Moet and Chandon throughout the service.
Price aside, there’s a lot to like about this buffet-style afternoon tea.
The offering is extensive, and it’s easy to be impressed by the sheer variety and quality of food on offer. All up, there’s 30 different savoury and sweet items on offer, including dedicated Indian and Asian serving bars and a chocolate fountain.
A little surprisingly, there’s not a finger sandwich to be seen, but the peking duck pancakes, smoked salmon rolls vegetable dim sum make up for it.
In fact, the savouries are easily the star of the show, and are perfectly matched by assorted sauces and condiments.
In particular, the Chinese BBQ pork puffs are generously filled with a good amount of succulent pork.
But that’s not to say the beautifully presented desserts aren’t worth a look in; the only problem is by this point you’re already quite pleasantly full, and can only really dedicate yourself to about three of the sweet treats on offer.
My favourite was easily the raspberry sacher cake, which had a nice tartness to it.
Executive sous chef Matt Coates said the afternoon tea offering changed seasonally.
On top of the champagne, there is also 16 varieties of loose leaf tea from The East India Company, which are served in individual silver pots with a tea strainer, and white and brown sugar cubes.
The vibe is chatty, perhaps a tad too much so for such a refined venue.
But easily the biggest problem at the Conservatory is trying to fit in a taste of everything that’s on offer.
The Conservatory Crown Melbourne High Tea Menu
Cold savoury menu
Baby tomato and bocconcini on crouton
Smoked salmon roll, chives and sour cream
Mini baguette, BBQ chicken, cucumber and coriander
Caramelised onion, smoked ricotta scone
Ham, pickles and aged cheddar scone
Australian cheddar, blue and brie cheeses with grissini, lavoush and dried fruits
Hot savoury menu
Mini chicken and leek pies
Kale and onion tarts
Pinwheel lamb harissa, feta almond
Mini aloo tikki with tamarind chutney
Mini vegetable pakoras with mint chutney
Sweet chilli sauce and tomato relish
Vegetable dim sum
Chicken sui mai
Peking duck pancakes
Chinese BBQ pork puffs
Traditional plain scones
Accompanied by whipped cream, strawberry jam, blackberry jam, orange marmalade, orange compote and poached pears
Chocolate mud cake
Lemon meringue tart
Carrot and walnut cake
Paris brest choux
Green apple and calvados tart
Raspberry sacher cake
Assorted candies and chocolates with the four flavours of chocolate fountain
Assorted cut fresh fruits
Assortment of ice cream and sorbet