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The Austen Tea Room

Home > Melbourne > High Tea | Cafes | Afternoon Tea
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published January 17th 2013
How very Jane Austen
jane Austen tea room essendon
Shall we partake of high tea?

I love Jane Austen's tenacity, her staying power. Here we are on the other side of the world, two hundred years since she penned Pride and Prejudice and she still has the power to sway us.

Okay, so we don't always read her novels (although some of us had to for school) but we have watched modern remakes such as Bridget Jones' Diaries and Clueless and we all know who Mr Darcy is and why he is infuriating but a good catch.

His prototype still dominates chick lit everywhere.

But whether we have read Jane or not she still makes us want to be clever, witty and charming and partake of afternoon tea.

austen tea room jane austen
All very dainty

The Austen Tea Room is in a lovely old house in a swank part of Essendon, where there are wide tree-line streets and lots of lovely old dwellings. A bit like the Gables in Malvern, which is another brilliant place for afternoon tea, although far more sartorial than these quaint, plain Jane tearooms.

In a lovely old home

The old house has lovely polished floorboards and each of the rooms off the long hall has been turned into little private rooms where you can get together with family or a group of friends and indulge in tea and a tete a tete.

Lovely old home

Tables are set with pretty china and gorgeous embroidered table cloths. White and pink seem to be the colours of choice.

Detail of table cloth

The afternoon tea is abundant, a veritable waterfall of goodies on three tiered stands.

We had the Sweet and Savoury High Tea which was $40 a person.

jane austen tea room
Bemused heroines look down at us from the walls

The ribbon sandwiches were delightful. Sometimes high tea places, in a bid to have everything ready on time, make the sandwiches too early and they are dry on the edges. But these were moist with fabulous fillings such as herbs, egg and smoked salmon. Then there were dainty quiches, and various little sausage rolls and a sundry of other savouries.

Scones, which are always the test of a good high tea, were startling. They were colossal and round and some had dried fruit, including baubles of bright red cherries, poking out.

The beautiful three tiered stand of cakes was greatly admired but I am afraid we could not do it justice. We were simply "stuffed" - or should I say "fully satiated". Jane doesn't like it when you don't speak properly.

We packed up the remainders for the menfolk we had left at home.

jane austen tea room essendon
Leftovers for the menfolk at home

Oh, and we were served by a Mr Darcy in the making who had a flop of black hair coming down over his forehead. Or should I say a Master Darcy as he was about the age of my teenage son, so definitely needed more time in the water.

As well as high teas you can visit the Austen Tea Room for breakfasts and light lunches. They make dishes such as creamy porridge and pancakes or serve coffee with various cakes and slices.

But somehow having High Tea in a Jane Austen themed house just seems a little more decorous.

However modern we become we still love Jane Austen

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Why? Because Jane would
When: Saturday and Sunday Afternoons 2.30 to 4.30pm WEEKDAYS 12PM TO 2PM
Where: 40 Nicholson St Essendon
Cost: A savoury high tea $30 pp, Sweet and Savoury $40, Sparkling High Tea with champagne $49
Your Comment
Do you think Lady Catherine de Burgh would approve Nadine?
by Sandra Lawson (score: 3|1280) 3608 days ago
Wonderful article Nadine, I'm definitely going to try it.
by Kezia Lubanszky (score: 1|89) 3605 days ago
Fantastic service yesterday morning, beautiful place, and coffee to die for. Glad they have professional staff. Will be coming back as a routine. A++++++
by billy (score: 0|6) 3445 days ago
Rosewood Cottage in Kinglake is absolutely gorgeous. Old fashioned, home made delightful devonshire tea.
by catst (score: 1|40) 3608 days ago
oh it sounds glorious! Will definitely try. Thanks for the tip.
by caz13 (score: 2|159) 3604 days ago
I can just imagine Mr Darcy sitting awkwardly in that tea room with Elizabeth as he's served tea with one of those flowery tea pots.

It is very Jane Austin like that tea room. All that's missing (fortunately) is Mary playing on the piano and singing.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 3591 days ago
Wow and darn. I use to live in Essendon and never new this place existed. Now I will have to try to get back there sometime.
by Leanne Sampson-Bowden (score: 2|164) 3605 days ago
Terrific article Nadine, I'm definitely going to try it if I can.
by Joy (score: 3|1945) 3598 days ago
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