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Christmas Afternoon Tea @ Little Collins St Kitchen

Home > Melbourne > High Tea | Girls' Day Out | Food and Wine | Christmas | 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
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Pre-Christmas catch ups in style @ Little Collins St Kitchen
Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Source Facebook Little Collins St Kitchen.

Remember that thing we say each year? 'We really must catch up before Christmas?'

Well, here is the perfect opportunity. The festive spirit is raised to a whole new level when you take the stairs (or the lift) up to Little Collins St Kitchen on the first floor of Melbourne's Sheraton.

The Sheraton is a 5-star hotel in the French quarter of Little Collins Street just around the corner from the grand Windsor. The restaurant is already famous for its Parisian afternoon teas but for the pre-Christmas season, Little Collins St Kitchen has replaced the divine providing a tier even closer to heaven.

The Christmas afternoon teas offer a selection of treats that ooze festive warmth with each tantalising mouthful. And the festivity is not just in fulfilling your taste buds' desires but also in the spectacle and splendour of the rich colours and the artful creation behind each delicious titbit.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
A closer look at that layer of cakes

I love visiting Little Collin's Kitchen, as while the hotel is 5 star with a spectacular glitzy staircase, Little Collins St Kitchen at the top of those stairs feels comfortable and homely. The decor reminds me of a provincial French kitchen, as there are wide comfortable chairs, lots of cushions and long padded window seats. As you are sitting above the city, it is a peaceful sanctuary away from the traffic and crowds.

It provides many perfect nooks for a pre-Christmas catch up with old friends, your relatives who may be away for Christmas Day or with some of your colleagues whose friendship you hope to take with you into the new year. For isn't the end of the year the perfect time to strengthen the ties with all those who are important to us? And what better way to do so than over the leisurely joys of a two-hour afternoon tea.

I will not enter into the debate here about whether this should be called afternoon or high tea. Let us just say that it is served in the afternoon and there is certainly enough food to replace lunch. And while traditionally high tea was served in the evenings, these days we tend to associate the high tea concept with tiered stands of decorous and divine food. So if this is your vision of high tea, then it is certainly what you are served at Little Collins St Kitchen.

We were cordially shown to our table by the maître d' who poured us a glass of De Bortoli Rococo. This is a pale pink bubbly with the perfectly ripe flavours of raspberries, cherries, and strawberries. A bit like popping Christmas from a bottle.

He promised it would go perfectly with the sweetness of our afternoon tea and it did.

But first to clink glasses over friendship and welcome in the Christmas season. Then came our tower of food, tiered like a Christmas tree.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Let's drink to friendship and the festive season

For some moments we simply stared at it. Could we possibly climb it? Could we sink our teeth into and destroy such perfect creations? We did, of course, as in the end, who could resist?

We started at the bottom.

Firstly, we had a wafer-thin sandwich of egg and celery. We did wonder why spinach was mentioned in the description. We could taste it but not find it. All was soon revealed. Head pastry chef Karoonen Permall, dropped by our table to tell us that the spinach was in the bread. And when we looked closely, it was a pretty light green.

And gosh, they even bake their own bread.

The beetroot item was shaped like a baby plum pudding. My companion was not looking forward to eating it as she is not a fan of beetroot.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Beetroot and goat's cheese profiterole

But there was a look of pleasure on her face as she tried it. The round shape is because the insides are cased in a profiterole. When you bite into it, you get the creaminess of goats cheese taming the pungent taste of the beetroot. It is like a creamy, but savoury éclair.

You can't have Christmas without turkey and our next choice was a little sandbox-shaped creation filled with pulled turkey and a caramelised onion and roast pumpkin quiche.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Pulled turkey, caramelised onions and roast pumpkin quiche

And how Australian to serve prawns as they are now pretty much always part of our Christmas banquet landscape. Standing upright, the wrap was stuffed with Crystal Bay prawns, avocado, lettuce and then topped with a cocktail sauce and rich jewels of caviar.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Crystal Bay Prawns in a wrap

Boldly, we climbed to the sweetest level. Something I will remember forever was the deconstructed pavlova. It came in its own little container and was filled with creamy mandarin curd, ever so light and frothy, raspberry gel and it was then topped with a freeze-dried segment of rhubarb. Have you ever tried rhubarb this way? It was a novelty for us. In consistency, it was like a banana lolly but with only a hint of sweetness.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Deconstructed pavlova topped with freeze dried rhubarb

There was a rich and chocolaty Buche de Noel, which is a trio of chocolate mousse, topped with a fresh cherry, sprinkled with cherry dust and decorated with a holly leaf. I was so glad at this stage I was onto a long black coffee that matched perfectly with the sweet and creamy textures.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Buche de Noel and peeping behind the hero were little pecan tartlets topped with baby hazelnut macaroons.

The ode to Christmas continued with a dome of cheesecake, glazed in mango and decorated with chocolate curls. So pretty! Then a Christmas red velvet, vanilla cream decorated with plump fresh redcurrants. Nuts are always so Christmassy. And there was a pecan tartlet, with a salted caramel ganache and decorated with a miniature hazelnut macaroon.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Red velvet, vanilla cream and red currant

We were more than slowing down by this stage but I could not help but at least taste one of the novel scones. I normally hate chocolate scones but these were incredible. You broke them open and when you did it erupted a molten flow of chocolate. I put a little cream on mine and I had definitely reached the plateau of heaven and could go no further.

There were other items we could not get to. The repast was leisurely and we were there till 3 pm, enjoying the outstanding food and our catch up.

Certainly, in terms of stunning looking and beautifully presented French cakes, it was like being a kid in a French patisserie and getting to taste not just one but a whole tray of different varieties. It was as if all our Christmases had come at once.

Preparing to leave we stopped at the open kitchen to thank Chef Permall for the incredible feast and I asked him about his source of inspiration.

Little Collins St Kitchen Christmas Afternoon Tea
Head pastry chef Karoonen Permall

'My mother' he said "And my grandmother.'

It was wonderful to think of all these family traditions being passed down in this beautifully presented and highly crafted Christmas afternoon tea.

This outstanding tea is served Monday to Saturday from 1 pm to 3 pm. It costs $49 from Monday to Friday including a glass of sparkling rosé. On Saturdays, the cost is $59. This event only runs until Dec 21, so make sure to book in for your pre-Christmas catch-up and this way you can really stay true to your promise to catch up with old friends this year.

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Why? To catch up with friends before Christmas
When: Monday to Saturday: 1pm to 3pm
Phone: (03) 9290 1000
Where: 27 Little Collins Street Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Cost: Monday to Friday : $49 including a glass of sparkling rosé Saturday: $59 including a glass of sparkling rosé
Your Comment
Wow what a beautiful looking (and sounding) place. And a great article! Makes my breakfast look depressing. Haha. Congrats on the award!
by Samantha Jeffree (score: 2|248) 17 days ago
Congrats on the gold! Those cakes look delicious.
by Amanda I (score: 2|520) 17 days ago
An excellent article and well deserved gold!
by Michael Genrich (score: 2|184) 17 days ago
Nadine - I am definitely trying this next time i'm in Melbourne.
by May Cross (score: 3|3548) 11 days ago
Foodi Photoh Classie
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