Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Afternoon tea delights

It's that time of day when my tummy is rumbling for a tasty snack between lunch and dinner, so I thought I'd share some of my favourite afternoon tea spots. There's a lot to choose from but whether you're in Melbourne, London or Bangkok, here's my selection . . .
In Melbourne, the National Gallery has a delightful room aptly named The Tea Room. It's decorated elegantly with wallpaper and mirrors and they serve sumptuous macaroons, sandwiches, cakes and have a huge selection of tea. I had my birthday there last year but was unfortunately too ill with morning sickness to savour the food (but I have eaten there other times and it's been delectable)! 
The Windsor Hotel in Melbourne is the grand dame of afternoon tea and if you're looking for Edwardian-style decor, richly decorated furnishings, divine food and a real experience then this is a fabulous choice. I am always biased towards The Windsor as I was married there, but even if my opinion is too subjective, it does have a great reputation. Their website tells me they've been serving afternoon tea since 1883 so they're doing something right!
Another Melbourne pick is the Langham Hotel chocolate indulgence afternoon tea. My husband took me there last year for our wedding anniversary and we spent a wonderful afternoon sampling every type of chocolate fondue, tart, crepe, and fruit dipped in chocolate imaginable.
London is of course the epicentre of afternoon tea. There's dozens to choose from but for me the Orangerie in Kensington Gardens and Lauduree in Harrods are the best. The Dorchester Hotel and The Ritz are incredible too but they take afternoon tea to a whole different level. 
The Orangerie is, for me, the quintessential English afternoon tea experience. It's elegant, stylish, light, airy and has beautiful food and teas.  You can sit on the terrace and look out over Kensington Palace, or dine inside and admire the piles of scones and cakes on display.
Lauduree is of course the ultimate Parisian afternoon tea, but you can experience it at a few places in London too. In Harrods at the back of the food hall, the piles of coloured macaroons and sumptuous surrounds are both a foodies and visual delight.
My all-time favourite place to while away an afternoon is The Oriental in Bangkok (pictured). It's old-world, charming, elegant and the afternoon tea room is named The Author's Lounge after some of the great writers - such as Graheme Greene and W Somerset Maugham - that have stayed there. Also in Bangkok is the gorgeous Eugenia Hotel, where you can sit in a dimly lit lounge surrounded by old books and look out over palm trees and tropical surrounds and pretend you're in colonial times. 
I haven't yet tried Craig's Hotel in Ballarat, but the afternoon tea there is meant to be fit for a queen.
Well, I'm off to have something to eat now!


  1. Thanks, Lark (Allison). I'm a huge fan of your blog and all the beautiful things at larkmade.com.au

  2. I have such fond memories of a day we spent in London, including a trip to the Orangerie. Thank you for reminding me of it! I must find a Darwin afternoon place to take visiting friends... a mission I will happily accept!