I'm struggling to breathe as I write this, but in a good way, as only can be experienced after an afternoon well spent at a buffet high tea.
The Afternoon Tea at Epicurean is the latest in eye-watering buffets to hit Perth. It's strictly a Sunday afternoon event, only available between 3.15 and 5pm at a cost of $59 per person and $30 for children between 4 and 12 years.
The prices include bottomless tea and coffee as well as a glass of Veuve Tailhan (adults) or soft drink or juice for the kids.
The highlights include a incredible chocolate fountain with three flavours of chocolate and a range of fruit, marshmallows and little cakes to dip (you take a little pot and fill it with your chocolate of choice); a crepe station where a chef makes fresh crepes with a range of toppings and sauces; and a long hot savoury spread with goodies such a Wagyu sliders with truffle mayonnaise as well as traditional scones with jam and cream.
You can check out the menu here but it does change regularly. It's not a traditional English high tea, but encompasses a far wider reach including Asia (steamed buns, soy ginger chicken lollipops), Italy (pizza), India (samosas) and Latin America (empanadas). There is also a cheese station with a range of cheeses and sides from across the globe.
There is only one Afternoon Tea sitting (3.15pm) so everyone tends to arrive around 3pm and then there is the necessary polite scuffle to get to the front of the line and check-in. There are two or three staff working to get you through as fast as possible then a small army of waiters to take you to your table.
It's a large, bright, luxurious room that overlooks the pools. But it's hardly quiet, and between the music and the chatter of hundreds of guests, it can be difficult to hear the person across the table from you.
Epicurean seats hundreds of guests in a large, bright elegant room
Expect to queue for food, it is the nature of the beast, but the lines move quickly and the staff are constantly topping up the dishes – I did not see anything run out or even look in danger of running low.
The hot food station has two identical ends, which means you can queue from either side and it moves rather quickly. Everything else is located on the central island.
Epicurean offer two varieties of finger sandwiches as well as tortilla wraps, mini bagels and assorted Vietnamese rice paper rolls
Around 4.30pm the staff will come and ask for final drink orders and begin to finalise the bill. You can ask for the bill to be brought to the table so that you have it with you when you leave (you pay at the front as you leave). There are no bathrooms in the restaurant but they are not far.
The chocolate fountain had white, milk and orange chocolate plus mini churros, marshmallows, strawberries, brownie to dip
Afternoon tea at Epicurean is probably not the place for you if you have allergies or dietary issues. To that end, I did overhear one staff member taking around a guest and carefully pointing out exactly which dishes were gluten-free and that she could safely eat.
You will overeat, it's impossible not to. As well as the tea and coffee which the staff regularly bring around to tables, there is also a water station (with lime/mint or orange/strawberry) as well as rather thick and syrupy peach iced tea that is easy to walk past in your rush to the food.
Epicurean is located on the ground floor of Crown Towers (as opposed to the Atrium which is located in Crown Metropol).
It is open for afternoon tea on Sundays between 3.15pm and 5pm. Bookings are essential.