A fresh, new High Tea venue brings elegance and class to Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Custom built and beautifully furnished, The Third Tier in Brunswick draws inspiration from classic tearooms across the world in its design, furnishings and menu.
The Third Tier is a refined sanctuary nestled in the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs. The brand new venue has been custom-built and beautifully modelled to reflect a traditional tea room, with the owner Reem’s attention to detail apparent in every element of the building.
On entry, a trio of beautiful arch-shaped mirrors, lining the walkway towards the open and light-filled tearoom itself. The most striking feature of the premises is the beautiful wall of windows along the North and West sides of the building. These allow an abundance of light into the building, bouncing off the silver teaware and the white floors and walls, creating a bright and ethereal atmosphere. Opposite the western-facing window is a feature wall of floor-to-ceiling mirrored panels, framed with gold, helping again, to open and brighten up the space.
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Looking up, the first eye-catching feature is the glistening chandelier, hanging ornately from the ceiling, capturing and reflecting the natural light. Your eye is naturally drawn to the ceiling behind the chandelier, where a mural of a blue sky dotted with clouds is set inside a golden oval, creating a dome-like effect, reminiscent of the tearoom at The Ritz London, adding further to the celestial ambience.
Each table is seated with beautiful white chairs upholstered with cream coloured fabric. Artworks in themselves, each chair has been custom-made and handcrafted from mahogany and, as Reem explains, were also inspired by the Ritz London and their iconic High Tea chairs.
Reem’s attention to detail and penchant for fine-dining is apparent in the carefully laid High Tea table setting. Brand new vintage Wedgwood plates were topped with crisp white, linen serviettes, and framed by glistening Wedgwood designed by Vera Wang silverware. Fine-bone English china teacups and saucers, delicately painted with gold were set alongside a vintage silver teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug.
The centrepiece of the table was a three-tier cake stand, laden with a variety of savoury and sweet mouthfuls that were both a treat for the eyes and the tastebuds. Starting on the bottom tier, we were treated with three sandwich varieties: egg salad, chicken salad and a slow-cooked lamb bao with tzatziki.
The egg gribiche sandwich was creamy and light, with the gherkins and capers cutting through with their sweet and sour flavour and adding a textural element to the classic High Tea dish.
Moving onto the chicken sandwich, each mouthful was deliciously moist and creamy, with the tarragon giving the dish a unique twist.
The last sandwich on the menu was a lamb bao bun, topped with tzatziki and dill. The 12 hour braised lamb was wonderfully tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, with the rich meaty flavour complemented beautifully by the zesty tzatziki sauce. While not a traditional High Tea dish, the Lamb bao of The Third Tier was a refreshing and creative take on the conventional sandwich and a reflection of the multiculturalism of the surrounding suburbs.
Moving onto the second tier, bought us a selection of delicious and perfectly portioned canapés.
The truffled mushroom served in a small pot with a crunch of pastry to decorate was deliciously rich and meaty. The pot size was more than enough to fill us both up with the rich flavours of sautéed parsnip and mushrooms.
Our next selection was the Prawn tian served on a slice of cucumber. The sweetness and creaminess of the prawn was beautifully offset by the freshness and crispness of the cucumber bed on which it sat. The serving size was just so that the richness of the prawn tian wasn’t too filling or overpowering.
The final dish was the salmon with black rice shards and avocado mousse. The beetroot-cured salmon was artistically presented in a rose shape and served on black rice chards, which gave the dish extra crunch. The creamy avocado mousse tied the dish together nicely, adding a very ‘Melbourne’ element.
The Third Tier- and the tea house’s namesake was what I’d been looking forward to since we first sat down.
We started with the Hazelnut Mill Feulle; a layered chocolate dessert with a dacquoise biscuit base, hazelnut and milk chocolate ganache, topped with hazelnut cream. The base layer was moist and flavourful, the panache layer was smooth with crunchy hazelnut pieces throughout, and the cream on top was deliciously light and creamy. All together in one bite, each element was distinct but in perfect, delicious harmony.
The lemon myrtle tart was next on the menu. The crispy shell was perfectly sized to contain the rich and creamy lemon curd, made from indigenous lemon myrtle. The pastry was thin, but still crispy, perfectly offsetting the smooth filling. The last bite held a delightful surprise burst of blueberry, from a concealed berry in the curd.
The centrepiece of the dessert menu was the Lychee Blush; a glistening pink dome sitting on a green-pistachio crumb topped off with a raspberry. The lychee mousse was light in texture and taste, with hints of the lychee flavour apparent, but not overpowering. The pistachio crumb of the base was perfectly crunchy and added a textural juxtaposition to the creaminess of the mousse. With each bite bought us closer to the centre of the dish, where a burst of raspberry compote flavour awaited us, the tartness of the raspberry perfectly complementing the smooth, creamy mousse.
To finish our High Tea, we were served two plain scones each, alongside strawberry jam, clotted cream and lemon curd.
The scones were freshly baked and generously sized; crispy and golden on the outside, while still warm and fluffy in the centre. The accompanying condiments perfectly paired with the buttery soft scones, the highlight being the lemon curd, again made with native lemon myrtle.
We were offered two mocktails to pair with our High Tea experience: a hazelnut Espresso martini and a sparkling elderflower and hibiscus spritzer. The Elderflower sparkling was tasty and refreshing, with a sweet, floral flavour. The Hazelnut espresso was a unique take on the traditional expresso martini drink, refreshingly smooth with a distinct hazelnut flavour.
While the venue is not licenced, there is no shortage of creative and tasty mocktails to complement your High Tea experience.
While discussing the menu with Reem, she was all too happy to outline the many adjustments she could make to the High Tea menu to cater to a range of dietary needs. On booking, we asked to have a pescatarian option made for us, and we were met with helpful and understanding service over the phone and high-quality alternatives for our High Tea sitting. Upon request at time of booking, The Third Tier is able to cater to dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian or pescatarian, vegan and low-FODMAP diets, meaning everyone can enjoy a stress-free, High Tea experience.
We found the service at The Third Tier to be exemplary. We were tended to on a regular basis and were made to feel welcome and at ease. If we had any questions about the menu, the friendly staff were only too happy to volunteer information and make suggestions for us. The venue itself seats around 35 people at maximum capacity, which means that the attentive staff are able to provide a high quality of service to all patrons at a High Tea sitting.
The Third Tier High Tea Menu
- 12 hour braised lamb & Tatziki bao
- Egg Gribiche, capers, gherkins, parsley, dill & tarragon aioli
- Poached chicken, tarragon, red onion and mayo sandwich
- Truffled mushroom & parsnip pot
- Prawn tian on polenta cake (cucumber)
- Beetroot cured salmon with avocado mousse served on black rice chards
- Hazelnut Mill Feulle dacquoise, milk chocolate panache & Chantilly cream
- Lemon myrtle tart
- Lychee Blush; Pistachio crumble, lychee mousse & raspberry compote
- Served with strawberry jam, lemon curd and clotted cream
- A variety of tea is available, along with coffee and a selection of unique mocktails.