With Mothers Day this Sunday lots of people will be booking in for afternoon tea with their Mum. I’ve just got what I think may be the last table at the Langham for some scones, jam and cream action for my Mum which I think might be looking forward to even more than she is. Researching the different afternoon tea venues prompted me to post about the afternoon tea I had recently at Sofi’s at the Sofitel with my friend Joyce from Mel: Hot or Not.
|The whole afternoon tea tiered stand|
The setting for the afternoon tea at Sofi’s, just off the lobby of the hotel, is certainly opulent which is no surprise given the Sofitel is one of Melbourne’s swankiest hotels. There are high ceilings, plush sofas and even a grand piano offering the possibility of a musical accompaniment to the scones action.
Unfortunately the afternoon tea that followed did not live up to the swish surroundings. It was served from a three tiered cake stand with one tier laden with finger sandwiches, the second with scones and finally a layer of cakes. So far, so good. However the first bite of a sandwich signaled the problems with Sofi’s afternoon tea. The fillings were uninspired combinations of wafer thin ham, flaccid smoked salmon, cucumber and tired egg mayonnaise. Worse still the bread was stale and the sandwiches had obviously been pre-prepared a few hours earlier.
Scones are the cornerstone of any afternoon tea but even the scones at The Sofitel were hard and disappointing. Even if we had wanted it there was no offer of more scones in the style of Claridge’s unlimited scones at afternoon tea.
|Sparkling wine with afternoon tea|
The cake tier had some nice enough chocolate offerings but nothing exciting or contemporary. The retro nature of the offerings was summed up by the ridiculous profiterole shaped like a swan.
The most serious failing of all was the tea itself. In comparison to The Lanesborough in London which has an extensive tea list and its own tea sommelier, at The Sofitel there was only a choice of English breakfast, Earl Grey and Peppermint.
|The profiterole swan|
Despite the luxury surroundings, afternoon tea at The Sofitel is tired and desperately in need of a revamp. This iconic Melbourne hotel deserves better and I have my fingers crossed that afternoon tea at the Langham proves to be far superior.
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Details: Sofi’s at The Sofitel, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000 (Ph 03 9653 7744) Afternoon tea served 2.30-5pm.
Damage: Pricey. $45 for afternoon tea with food, tea and a glass of sparkling wine.