One Sunday in the 19th century, a grand tradition commenced at Craig’s Royal Hotel in Ballarat.
Around three in the afternoon, poets, princes, prime ministers and prima donnas would gather for high tea.
Today, that decadent tradition continues with unrivalled Victorian charm, and taking high tea at Craig’s Royal Hotel has quite the Downton Abbey feel to it.
Served in the Grand Dining Room, the High Tea Society was greeted with beautiful chandeliers, gilded mirrors, ornate tapestries on the wall and classical music playing softly in the background.
We were immediately offered a glass of champagne and given a list of eight T2 teas to select from, or plunger coffee for those after a stronger caffeine hit. Served on Villeroy and Boch patterned home wares, our high tea arrived on a three-tier stand and was a sight to behold.
We start out with the finger sandwiches and were impressed by the freshness and crunch of the smoked salmon and cucumber.
The creamy curried egg and cos lettuce was also a favourite, while the generously-sized bocconcini, leek and mushroom quiche proved delicious.
The scones were light and fluffy, but it was the top tier that had my tastebuds in a twist.
The lemon curd tartlet had a lovely tangy aftertaste and the hazelnut and pistachio friend was just plain yum, while the soft chocolate and hazelnut brownie was the standout of the day.
After enjoying high tea we were offered a short tour of the hotel, which has undergone a stunning restoration and whose past guests have included Prince Albert, Dame Nellie Melba and every Governor General since Federation.
Each banquet room and suite, we were told, has its own unique style and features different carpet, wallpaper and window hangings.
We were lucky enough to get sneak peeks at the Prince Albert suite, Shenandoah suite and Thomas Bath suite – each was more luxurious than the last.
Located one hour out from Melbourne’s CBD, Craig’s Royal Hotel is the perfect place for a lovely weekend drive, divine high tea and some interesting morsels of history.
Craig’s Royal Hotel Afternoon Tea Menu
- Leg of ham, cheese and relish
- Curried egg and cos lettuce
- Smoked salmon and cucumber
- Chicken and mushroom vol au vent
- Bocconcini, leek and mushroom quiche
Scones with organic jam and a quenelle of cream
- Lemon curd tartlet
- Coconut congolais
- Strawberry, blueberry and vanilla cream tartlet
- Chocolate and hazelnut brownie
- Hazelnut and pistachio friand with maple icing and toffee
A glass of champagne plus a selection of T2 teas or Genovese plunger coffee.