An elegant Asian-inspired high tea nestled in the Dandenongs.
Our last Melbourne high tea was just before the pandemic — it’s been over two years since we had proper Australian-English-style scones! :O So, on a recent trip back to our hometown, we drove to the leafy Dandenong Ranges, and visited Olinda Tea House. A serene pocket in an otherwise touristy area, the gardens surrounding Olinda Tea House are sculpted in an Asian style, with sweeps of shrubbery cascading over pebble stone, a little creek bubbling under a bridge, and an elegant gazebo at the heart of it. But there’s no mistaking you are still in Melbourne when you hear the trill of the kookaburra bird somewhere in the distant.
Afternoon tea is taken in a spacious wooded dining area. Arriving on a separate platter, the savouries were generous in proportion, and numbered four. There was an egg sandwich, BBQ char siew pork bun, chorizo croquette and truffle mushroom pastry. Two rather large scones were served for each person, accompanied with cream and raspberry jam.
And as for the high tea’s dessert selection, they were certainly the highlight of the afternoon. Beautifully presented on an antique-looking, circular teak stand, there were six desserts. Four of the desserts were petite-sized — a pale pink macaron, a caramel profiterole, a cupcake infused with earl grey, and a creamy verrine embellished with rose petals. The other two desserts were entremet mousse cakes — one a rabbit, and another a piglet. Sitting on a matcha cookie base, the rabbit cake had a heart of passionfruit jelly, surrounded by white chocolate mousse. The little pig cake’s flavour profile by contrast, was more tangy, with a centre of mandarin jelly and citrus mousse counterbalanced by chocolate sponge cake. They reminded us of trompe l’oeil petit animal cakes from Linger Cafe, one of the most creative patisseries in Melbourne.
Long-time followers of this dessert blog will recall that Fortnums has been our long-time favourite pit stop for Devonshire Tea (i.e. just scones) while visiting the Dandenong Ranges. If you are looking for a full high tea experience — do venture further up the hill to Olinda Tea House for a serene afternoon of elegant desserts.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Olinda Tea House, 86A Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda VIC 3788.
- ☑ Budget: $$$ (AUD $66-75 pp, depending on day of week).
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: High tea.
- ☑ Must-eat: The cakes.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: An elegant Asian-inspired high tea nestled in the Dandenongs.