Collins Kitchen is the snazzy restaurant within the Grand Hyatt with an open kitchen format and attached bar. As befitting a hotel restaurant it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus everything in between, including high tea.
I’ve eaten a lot of high tea around Melbourne and sometimes it’s hard to judge whether a place is HOT or NOT. I love the ritual of afternoon tea and sweet things so much that sometimes it’s easy just to slap an automatic HOT in the headline because there’s limitless chocolate on offer!
But despite the chocolate buffet that I had on a weekend visit to Collins Kitchen, I can’t justifiably recommend it when comparing it to all the other possible options in Melbourne. Here’s why…
The venue is lovely if you’re able to snag a booth which faces onto Russell Street. It’s private, comfortably seats four people and provide tall views of the streetscape below. If you’re in one of the tables in the centre of the dining floor then you’re likely to be surrounded by shrieky hens dos and noisy baby showers. I have and love young kids but it’s not my idea of a relaxing time if you’re trying to negotiate a buffet with over-excited kids and the pram brigade.
High tea at Collins Kitchenn on a weekend is $65. We started off with a classic three-tiered stand of savouries, all of which was pretty underwhelming – mostly dry and tasteless and we left most of it. And it seemed almost desultory to only offer one limp finger sandwich.
The dessert buffet looked more promising, with platters of cakes and pastries, two chocolate fountains, scones and condiments, waffles and pancakes and a fridge full of ice cream.
What I didn’t understand was why nothing was labelled. The harried staff were so busy scooping ice cream and making waffles and pancakes to order yet still had to answer questions about ‘what is this? what is this?’ to every person to came to the counter. I don’t know how many times I had to hear the poor girl repeat each ice cream flavour for every customer.
So I have no idea what cakes I ate but safe to say some were good, some were not so good. The pastry work was particularly disappointing, with chalky choux pastry, sticky macarons and dry tart casings.
Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the scones either as I found the crust too hard for my liking. It would have been much nicer to enjoy the scones warm on the tiered stand.
The best part of the buffet was actually the limitless Gundowring ice cream but that’s easy because it’s one of my favourite ice creams. We went back for seconds!
I also found the service to be a bit haphazard. At the beginning I was asked several times by different waiters whether I wanted sparkling/tea/coffee (tea and coffee is unlimited). In contrast when we were done with our tiered stand it was left on the table along with an ever-growing pile of dirty buffet plates and no one came near our table until the end.
The only reason I’d return to Collins Kitchen for high tea over any other venues is because I can get 25% discount with an Entertainment Card. Plus children under 3 are free so I was able to treat one adult and one little person for $48.75. On the other hand, given the quality of the food I tried I’d prefer to take my afternoon tea bucks elsewhere and maybe save my Entertainment Card voucher for another meal.
Collins Kitchen High Tea, Grand Hyatt Melbourne, 123 Collins St, Melbourne +613 9653 4831
A la carte $45
Monday – Friday, 3pm to 5pm
Additional Dessert Buffet $65
Saturday, 12pm – 2.30pm & 3pm – 5pm
Sunday, 3.30pm – 5.30pm