It’s my not-so-secret mission to taste test every high tea available in metropolitan Melbourne within the time of this blog. I think that’s an entirely doable goal – so far I’ve hit Stranger’s Corridor, The Langham Melbourne, The Westin and now The Sofitel.

Sadly, the weekday high tea at Sofi’s, the lobby lounge of The Sofitel, fell far short of the other places I’ve tried  my partner in crime Gourmet Chick was similarly unimpressed.

In terms of atmosphere it exudes the kind of refinement and elegance you’d expect from a five star hotel, with curved back chairs, cushy sofas, floral arrangements and even a grand piano in the corner.

Sofi’s afternoon tea offering is a classic 3-tiered stand suspending china plates of finger sandwiches, cakes and scones, with a glass of sparkling wine to start and tea or coffee with your treats.

However, for $45 a head the quality of the food left much to be desired.

The bread from the crustless sandwiches was stale, was too heavy buttered and the fillings were uninspired – deli ham, flavourless smoked salmon, slithers of cucumber and a paper-thin smear of egg mayonnaise. The pita bread from the roast beef roll-up had been sitting around for so long it was almost crisp.

The scones were rock hard, though the home-made jam made them more palatable.

The desserts were uniformly forgettable –  a bit of chocolate here, a bit of cream there – except for the hilariously retro carved swan profiterole! I didn’t really like any of the desserts as they lacked the sort of finesse I’d experienced at other high teas I’ve tried.

Even the tea wasn’t that great. The selection was exactly English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Peppermint, Green tea. Boring, boring, boring, boring. The only consolation was that you got to sip it out of very nice tea cups.

On the weekends Sofi’s offers a High Tea buffet for $69 per person which is the weekday offering plus a crepe station, hot and cold savoury morsels and possibly a greater choice of cakes and pastries. However, based on my experience I’d hesitate to paying even more money to try afternoon tea there again.

Sofi’s, The Sofitel Melbourne, 25 Collins St, Melbourne +61 3 9653 0000

Mon-Fri: 9am – 7pm
Sat: 10.30am – 8pm
Sun: 10.30am – 5.30pm
Mon – Fr Afternoon Tea: 2.30pm – 5pm
Sat & Sun High Tea: 2.30pm – 5pm
All day menu available from 11am daily

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