Collins Kitchen – Afternoon Tea

123 Collins St (Grand Hyatt), Melbourne
Phone: 9653 4671

Some things are worth waiting for. High tea appears to be one of them. My cousin C and I had been planning a high tea get-together for about two years. First I ran off to Viet Nam, then she had another child while I was gone, and well, one thing after another kept popping up, so back in September, we booked it in our calendars for Nov 20th.

The day arrived, and we managed to rope in my sister and our other cousin T, so it was going to be a ladies’ day out (well, plus me). Cousin T had also brought her daughter T along, so there was much cooing and talk of child-rearing to be had. While she’s already adorable at 8 months, from all the stories I hear, I think my plan is to adopt a three year old, so I can skip the baby stuff and enjoy the toddler years. Am I being naive? Probably.

I’d been to Collins Kitchen before, so I knew it was a stylish and sleek atmosphere, and that the quality of the food was going to be good. I’d contemplated booking at the Langham or the Windsor, two places renowned for their high tea, but on weekends, their prices seem rather exhorbitant. Collins Kitchen offers ‘Afternoon Tea’ for $38 per head on weekends, with finger sandwiches, scones, waffles, and a buffet dessert bar.

The one thing I will say about traditional afternoon tea is don’t go unless you have something of a sweet tooth.

The finger sandwiches are the oasis of savoury respite in a sugary desert of, well, desserts! The sandwiches on offer were a smoked salmon and cucumber on rye, air-dried wagyu (bresaola?) with a touch of mustard on white, and a traditional egg salad with cress on multigrain. They were all a little lacklustre, to be honest.
The dessert buffet, on the other hand, was anything but lacklustre! The scones were good, and that berry compote – although a little unwieldy armed only with a butter knife – was delicious! The macarons, however, were something of a disappointment. There was a lack of chewy inside, and the ganaches and creams which held them together were altogether too runny. It seems I have become one of those macaron snobs.

Of course, it being a buffet, and me being me, I went back for more. Cute little tarts (the apple one had a touch too much honey in it, the strawberry and pistachio one was much better) and creme brulee were next up!
The creme brulee had an excellend toffee lid, but the custard beneath was a bit too thick for my liking. All the ladies seemed to love it, however!

I finished the afternoon off with some pineapple and strawberries, and a decent caffe latte. It was a wonderful afternoon; refined, civilised and altogether sweet to catch up with family. We’ve decided that our next get-together will be a more traditional (for us, anyway) yum cha outing. Sweetness is great, but we’re all sweet enough anyway, so bring on the savoury! 😛

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