I'm a freelance writer and primary school teacher living in SE Melbourne. I love finding adventures for myself, my husband and our four kids to enjoy. Come along! Heart my articles, subscribe to the fun, follow along on www.facebook.com/WNMelbourne
Published September 12th 2014
You don't have to mention that the queen doesn't dine here
If you really want to impress the company you're keeping, casually mention that you've recently been for high tea at the Buckingham. The queen may not be available, but you will not have been lying if you have recently been curious enough to trek in to the unassuming, understated Buckingham International Best Western Hotel, Nepean Highway in Highett.
Sparkling wine was served on arrival, as we opted for the "Royal High Tea", which includes bubbly for five dollars more than the regular high tea. Warm scones, tiered platters, hot tea selections and espresso based coffee drinks: the makings of an impressive high tea by anybody's standards.
Two of us are restricted to gluten free dining; we had cream and jam at our settings, but we were disappointed to learn that they did not serve a gluten free scone. A couple of our desserts were lovely: macarons, and a chocolate mousse topped with a fresh raspberry. The remaining desserts on the gluten free service were glutinous rice based desserts that were certainly not as enjoyable, but did provide variety. There was, on offer, a toothsome gluten free bread for the beautiful ribbon sandwiches, including smoked salmon herb cream, chicken avocado red capsicum, and egg salad with mayonnaise.
The guests that were not restricted to gluten free boasted of their delicious warm scones in two varieties, with generous servings of jam and cream. Other sweets included assorted macaroons, lamington mousse cups, caramel profiteroles, pear vanilla frangipane tart, and soft and fresh macadamia dark chocolate brownies. Mini quiches and ribbon sandwiches rounded out the savoury servings.
Fresh flowers and live singing topped off the experience. The singer even came by our table to ask if we were celebrating a birthday or any special occasions, and could she dedicate a song? I let her know that we were, in fact, celebrating my friend's "birthing day," as it was a gathering of girlfriends congratulating her on expecting her third child. We had a little giggle when the song, chosen by the performer herself, began: "Mamma Mia, here I go again, my my..."
If you're looking for an impressive high tea at an affordable price, with plenty of free parking, you will be pleasantly surprised by what the Buckingham has to offer. Maybe next time Royal Family members come to Australia, they will stop in Melbourne and raise a pinky at "the other" Buckingham.