If you’re lucky enough not to work Monday-Friday then quickstep to The Waiting Room at Crown Towers, where they are offering their twist on high tea – ‘High Coffee’ – for only $40 per person on weekdays.
The Waiting Room is the lobby bar of Crown Towers and it is the exact opposite of a sterile doctor’s waiting room. In fact, it’s opulent Art Deco meets glamorous disco-fabulous, sort of like the Baz Luhrmann version of The Great Gatsby.
The Waiting Room is open from 6:30am to late for snacks and drinks and afternoon tea is served daily from 12pm-5pm. I was invited to try their new ‘High Coffee’ menu which highlights Vittoria coffee as the drink of choice rather than traditional tea.
In fact, other than the fact that the delicacies were presented on a three tier stand, nothing was particularly traditional about this afternoon tea. For starters, the stand was a glossy Art Deco mirrored square shape, unlike any other cake stand I’ve seen at other high tea venues.
The food was all classic with a twist. There were four savoury sandwiches to choose from, with my favourite being the smoked salmon and herb crepe roulade.
The next level was of hot savouries – creamy crab and leek tarts and fluffy ham and cheese croquettes.
The desserts were just as dazzling – all beautifully presented and very inventive. My favourites included the bittersweet chocolate glazed éclair with espresso cream and the chocolate and Nutella layered cream cake (notice the chocolate theme?) while I didn’t particularly enjoy the tartness of the vanilla vodka jellies with sour cherries and basil seeds. Applause for creativity though!
Only after hoovering through the three tiers did I realise I should have saved room for scones! Both plain and raising buttermilk scones were offered, cuddled in a nest of napkins to keep them toasty warm. Delicious slathered with clotted cream and homemade jam.
Apparently sorbet is a usual ending of High Coffee but I had to depart before I could try the burnt caramel and pear sorbet. Probably a good thing too as I had to cycle home!
Don’t worry, if you’re not a coffee drinker The Waiting Room’s High Coffee can be served with Jing Tea, Vittoria Coffee or a flute of sparkling wine. You can also choose to pay extra and have a liqueur coffee or a signature coffee cocktail from The Waiting Room’s drinks list.
I think The Waiting Room at Crown Towers provides one of the best afternoon tea food offerings in Melbourne. For $40 you won’t find many high teas of such a high standard, with so much food, for a similar price. If you want seclusion then there are dark nooks to hide in within The Waiting Room though I think its location means it’s a fantastic opportunity for watching the comings and goings of the Crown Towers Hotel – you might even spot a celeb or two!