Afternoon tea is one of life’s great pleasures. The cheeky mini meal that sits happily between lunch and dinner can be a simple affair, but why settle for that when you could indulge in a lavish spread? Forget a quick break from work; these are events worth putting in the calendar.
Words: Alexis Buxton-Collins
Sit down on one of the comfortable couches in the airy lobby of the Hilton and you’ll feel like you’re on holiday already. The live piano player and water feature add a touch of elegance and provide the perfect backdrop for high tea, available every weekend from 1 to 3:30pm. There’s no minimum booking, but this is an experience you’ll want to share with friends.
The opulent affair begins with a glass of sparkling on arrival and delicate house made sweets from the pastry kitchen. These include a selection of colourful macaroons, rich cakes and tarts topped with edible flowers that look simply stunning against the bright floral patterns of the crockery. Next come the warm scones (plain and fruit) with jam and cream alongside a medley of savoury options – the pork sausage rolls wrapped in deliciously flaky pastry are the stuff of legend. And of course there’s the tea; aromatic full leaf blends from La Maison Du Thé in a range of traditional and herbal styles.
High tea at Lenzerheide starts with a bang (or at least a pop), thanks to a glass of French blanc de blanc on arrival. It’s just one of the touches that makes a visit to the historic 1890s mansion in Hawthorn memorable. The special treatment continues with a seasonally changing menu of delicacies prepared by the chefs daily. Tiered trays are laden with fresh scones, a selection of sandwiches and other savouries such as woodland arancini.
When it’s time to move to the sweets, things become truly indulgent – the rocky road cupcakes are a firm favourite at the moment. Choose something to accompany them from the tea menu (or an espresso for non-traditionalists), and relax in the quiet surrounds of the elegant main dining area. High Tea at Lenzerheide is available every Wednesday to Sunday from noon; just remember to book 24 hours in advance because everything is made to order.
The Rising Sun
High Tea at the Rising Sun is a classic affair that draws together up to four generations, from baby showers to students from the local high school and great-grandparents enjoying a taste of tradition. But thanks to the plush carpets and undulating brick walls, it’s always quiet in the cosy, heritage-listed building that dates to 1845. There’s no minimum booking for the high tea, which is served from Wednesday to Saturday, but you’ll need to give 48 hours’ notice because the food is all made in house (which means the kitchen can cater to all dietaries).
The sumptuous four course menu starts with finger sandwiches including curried egg or beef and salad, then moves onto warm pastries and light, fluffy scones with jam and Chantilly cream before finishing with an assortment of petit fours. You can choose one of 12 loose leaf teas for the bottomless pots that accompany the food, and the vintage tablecloths and antique tea sets are in keeping with the atmosphere of the historic building.