There's no greater pleasure than experiencing a delicious high tea in a beautiful setting - and The Gables certainly delivers.
Update August 2021: The Gables is now permanently closed
With many of Melbourne’s major hotels not currently hosting high tea due to COVID-19, boutique venues like The Gables are enjoying a renaissance of sorts – not that The Gables was ever out of fashion.
Located in Malvern East, the property epitomises Victorian glamour in the Queen Anne style. Think stained-glass windows, open fireplaces, elegant period detailing, chandeliers, parquetry floors, wallpaper imported from France and beautiful gardens.
No detail has been spared, rendering this a truly luxurious experience. High Tea at The Gables is served across the venue’s formal front rooms, the original drawing room and dining room of the house, allowing for private high tea events. You can also take your high tea on the verandah, weather permitting. Tables are adorned with white linen tablecloths and napkins, crystal tumblers, a bowl of sugar cubes, and a high tea stand embossed with The Gables name in gold.
The ladies lounge in itself is a sight to behold, with a long marble dressing table decorated with tea light candles and pink roses, where ladies can seat themselves at one of the ottomans and enjoy gossip as they touch up their make-up in front of two large silver gilded mirrors.
First built as a private residence in 1902, the property became a rooming house until 1930 and was later home to Melbourne’s first jukebox. During Melbourne’s prohibition era, The Gables ran an underground speakeasy gambling room upstairs and sold beer from the back door.
For the past 26 years, it has been run as a reception centre and tea house by Jessica Souter and her family, who have seen generations of families celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and babies.
The Gables, Ms Souter tells the High Tea Society, began serving high tea before it really took off in popularity, and retained a strong following even during Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdowns by delivering their high tea offering to customer’s homes – complete with a high tea stand.
Today, The Gables is back serving high tea in-house, and it’s clear from the outset that this is a high tea people put their Sunday best on for. We are offered a glass of French champagne on arrival as well as a selection of teas and coffee.
The offering is both traditional and Australian, with classic finger sandwich fillings of salmon and cream cheese, chicken and chives and egg and lettuce – all of which were delightfully fresh and delicious.
This was succeeded by a quiche and beef burgundy pie, followed by fruit and plain scones served warm and accompanied by homemade jam and cream. A particular shout out to the fruit scones which had a hint of cinnamon, and were reminiscent of a hot cross bun.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, The Gables‘ famous dessert buffet has been replaced by a selection of cakes, sweets and pastries served straight to your table.
When the High Tea Society paid a visit, desserts included a macaron, tiramisu, panna cotta served in a chocolate cup, trifle, rocky road, vanilla slice and cheesecake, among others.
If there’s one complaint about this high tea, it’s that there’s simply too much food to be able to possibly finish it all. But otherwise, this is one high tea experience not to miss.
The Gables High Tea menu:
- Point Sandwiches
- Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese with Dill & Capers
- Chicken & Chives
- Egg & Lettuce
- Quiches: Sundried Tomato, Potato & Goats Cheese
- Pies: Beef Burgundy
- Plain and fruit scones with jam and cream
- A selection of cakes, pastries and sweets
Choose from unlimited plunger Lavazza coffee or a selection of Tea Drop loose leaf teas
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