I can think of no better way to spend a cold, rainy afternoon than in front of an open fireplace drinking tea. Better still, drinking tea, eating cakes and lounging around reading an Evelyn Waugh novel.

I recently indulged in my perfect rainy-day afternoon scenario with High Tea at the Lobby Lounge of The Westin Hotel. The Lobby Lounge is on the ground floor of the hotel and is a space set apart from the main reception marked by leather lounges, an open fireplace and bookshelves. It’s quiet enough to read a book and the leather bucket seats are just right for sinking into.

The Westin is all about contemporary glamour and so their high tea is a modern take on the traditional afternoon tea. For $45 ($55 including a flute of Chandon NV Brut) you receive unlimited tea or coffee plus sweet and savoury morsels presented on a sleek tiered platter reminiscent of a vintage drinks trolley. The teas from Jing Tea range from black, green, white and herbal infusions and I tried the White Peony tea and the whole rosebuds. Each pot would normally cost $7 so if you really like drinking tea then unlimited tea is good value!

Tier 1 contained two scones – original and cranberry and raisin. They were quite crusty on the outside and I feared that they might be dry but in fact they were light and fluffy inside. Not the best scones I’ve ever had but nice enough with jam and cream.

Tier 2 held the savoury bites and they weren’t just the standard cucumber sandwiches. First up, smoked leg ham, brie and semi-dried cherry tomato in a black olive and parmesan ciabatta. A mouthful of a description and a delicious mouthful too. The smoked chicken with apple and walnut compote filling was a little tasteless in comparison, though I did like the crunchy sunflower seeds in the polenta bun. To round out the savouries, a teensy smoked salmon tart and a classic crustless sandwich of egg mayonnaise and watercress.

Tier 3 was a colourful array of sweet delights. I liked the pastry of the vanilla marscapone and fresh fruit tart and the lemon tart but the pistachio macaron was too sticky and wet in texture. The two chocolate desserts – a chocolate creme brulee and black forest slice – were a really decadent end to the afternoon tea and I could feel myself dozing over my book as the sugar coma took hold.

I enjoyed The Westin’s contemporary take on high tea and it’s a nice pit stop after some city shopping. High tea is served on weekends from 12-4pm and bookings are recommended as there are only five tables in the Lobby Lounge.

Love afternoon tea? You can also try The Langham and Stranger’s Corridor.

High Tea at Lobby Lounge, The Westin, 205 Collins St, Melbourne +61 3 9635 2222
Lobby Lounge (at the Westin) on Urbanspoon