High Tea at Yugen Tea Bar, Melbourne

Photographer: Michelle Milton
Sweet selection
Sweet selection

Trying out a new high tea venue can be a bit of a lucky dip – but when the executive pastry chef hails from Vue de Monde and there’s an inviting dessert window fronting Chapel Street, you know you’re in for a treat.

Located in South Yarra, Yugen Tea Bar forms part of a collection of cafes and restaurants owned by the LK Hospitality, which also includes Omnia Bistro & Bar next door and the rather impressive Yugen Restaurant, a stylish Asian-inspired restaurant located under the tea bar that has a rather fabulous chandelier overhanging the bar.

Billed as “refined yet relaxed”, Yugen Tea Bar presents as dark and moody, with low lighting and grey granite jutting out from all angles (including the ceiling), giving the impression of being in a cave.

This is juxtaposed with soft furnishings, buttery leather lounges and soft velvet cushions. The overall vibe is sleek, quietly elegant and a little edgy (sometimes literally).

We are greeted by Manager Calvin Chan, who invites us to choose from an extensive tea menu with an enviable selection of black, green, white, and oolong teas from around the world.

Unsurprisingly, this is a venue that takes its tea seriously, and the tea is presented on a tray with the steeped tea leaves served on the side for added aroma and theatre.

We are also offered a glass of NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve champagne. Calvin explains Yugen Tea Bar melds the talents of Melbourne-born Executive Pastry Chef John Demetrios of Vue de Monde fame, globe-trotting Tea Sommelier Thibaut Chuzeville and Culinary Director, Stephen Nairn.

The offering is inspired by a classic English afternoon tea, with some bold twists and turns. It begins with a tempting plate of elegantly presented finger sandwiches, accompanied by a black wooden three-tier cake stand adorned with savouries, desserts and scones.

Starting with the sandwiches, we are immediately impressed with the generously portioned pastrami sandwich heaped with layers of delicious pastrami, pickles, sauerkraut and mustard.

The yellowfin tuna with seasoned kombu and creamy avocado and goats cheese are also standouts and provide the perfect trio of sandwiches. Moving over to the other savouries, and the vibrant colour of the wagyu beef carpaccio contrasts beautifully against the black puffed “forbidden” rice cracker, which delivered a satisfying crunch.

Next up was a spring roll tart filled with bonito cream and heaped with glistening orange salmon roe that popped in your mouth and offered a salty hit.

Sampling the desserts, and my personal favourite here was the raspberry and dark chocolate nama cake – a surefire winner among chocolate lovers. Special mentions also go to the vanilla slice reimagined as a tart and topped with filo pastry, and the vanilla bean cream and raspberry jam encased in choux pastry.

Finally, the scone. A Yugen Tea Bar scone is unlike any other, and this is a good thing. Shaped like a flourless cake, the scone has the consistency of a biscuit on the outside (with a bit of crunch when biting into it) and a tea cake on the inside. It is sweeter than a traditional scone, and because of this, only small amounts of jam and cream are needed – because the scone is scrumptious all on its own.

Displaying outstanding flavours and expert execution, the Yugen Tea Bar afternoon tea menu screams understated elegance. Definitely one to try out!

Yugen Tea Bar High Tea Menu:

Table setting
Table setting


  • Puffed forbidden rice, shaved wagyu & horseradish
  • Parmesan gougere, chive & kombu
  • Spring roll tart, bonito cream & salmon roe
  • Wagyu pastrami, dill pickles, horseradish & sauerkraut
  • Yellowfin tuna, mayonnaise, seasoned kombu & chive
  • Avocado & goats chevre


  • Vanilla slice
  • Matcha and coconut bubble tart
  • Strawberries and cream profiterole
  • Mango macaron
  • Raspberry and chocolate nama cake
  • Fresh scone with jam & cream


High Tea Melbourne – find more experiences
in our High Tea Venue Directory

Yugen Tea Bar:

Capital Grand, 605 Chapel Street, South Yarra, VIC 3141


Saturdays and Sundays 12.30pm-4.30pm


$119 with a flute of Champagne
$105 with a flute of sparkling wine
$105 without alcohol
$45 for kids between 3 and 6 years old
$55 for kids between 7 and 12 years old

Prices are correct at the time of publishing, but subject to change. Please contact the venue for further details.

Charlene Macaulay

Charlene has been a High Tea Society contributor since 2013. She has over ten years’ experience working as a journalist and is now a communications specialist in the local government sector. Charlene loves reading, travel, going for long walks and a good glass of champagne or red (depending on the occasion). Having tried scones from just about every Melbourne high tea venue there is (and some interstate and international venues too) she can definitively state that her mum’s remain the best.

Articles by Charlene