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Porcelain Tea Parlour

Home > Melbourne > Afternoon Tea | Cafes | Craft | Escape the City | Food and Wine
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 August 25th 2015
Slow down, unwind & take time for tea

"There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life." (Lin Yutang, The Importance Of Living)

The fine bone china teacup, shown above, was the start of Scarlett Killaly's collection of gorgeous teacups.

But the idea for her business, Porcelain Tea Parlour, began a few years ago when she was travelling through Europe. In Italy she stumbled upon a tea parlour where people took the time to relax, sip tea and just be.

porcelain tea parlour
Freshest of ingredients for chai and other teas

Her thinking was monumental. If this could happen in Italy, where drinking coffee is a national pastime then it could work back home in Melbourne, Australia's coffee capital.

She let the idea brew for a few years. But in the meantime she asked friends and family to start collecting interesting teacups and teapots for her.

Gradually she amassed the beautiful things she needed. As the time grew closer she organised the funding for the interior of her dream through Pozible so that she could transform what was ostensibly a shop space into an appealing lounge setting with a deep Chesterfield couch, reading lamps, low tables and comfy chairs.

It seemed a lot of people wanted this thoughtful initiative to come to fruition. It wasn't simply about the tea it was also about the idea of having a place of respite, a reprieve from the world - a quiet place to sit and contemplate.

I visited with my grown up daughter, as it seemed a chance to catch up over a cuppa. Like most people we find life gets overbooked and overburdened.

We arrived at 2pm and by the next time I glanced at my watch it was 4pm. Where had the two hours gone? It was as if time stood still. We were completely immersed in this tranquil moment where we nattered and sipped.

We had sporadic chats with Scarlett Killaly who seemed to have the knack of knowing when a teacup needed refilling.

She came across as a gentle, highly intelligent and incredibly knowledgeable young woman. But her ruling passion would have to be tea.

We watched in awe as she made chai on a little hot plate on her counter simmering all the fresh ingredients and spices so that the aroma filled our senses.

A lot of her teas are infused with ingredients such as freshly picked lemon grass and rosemary from pots just outside.

Others tealeaves are scooped from a magical drawer behind the counter, which seemed to hold all kinds of potions.

The tea menu isn't overburdened. As it was winter, when we visited, there were warming cuppas such as chai. But with spring on the horizon you will be able to have tea served with special flowers, which will look spectacular in Scarlett's clear glass teapots. In summer iced teas will have a special place on the menu.

It is also possible to have a tea degustation where you can linger over three cups of exquisite tea and gently while away your afternoon.

Photo Credit: Porcelain Tea Parlour

One of the items on the menu is "tea and post." This is a pot of tea but it comes with a selection of quality writing materials including a stamped envelope. It is a chance to slow down and do that old-fashioned thing of writing a letter. It could be a love note, a chance to say sorry or simply that letter you know would put a huge smile on your Nana's face.

The food menu here is quite simple but also simply perfect and decidedly elegant. It is not about feeding your face so much as complementing your tea.

porcelain tea parlour
Photo by Harriet Dashnow

Sweet treats include macarons by Josephine.

These incredible treats are by Josephine Acker Tuil, who was once a Parisian florist and now lives in Melbourne where she merges her passion for flowers with baking. Scarlett explained how they are not oversweet. They are certainly luscious and memorable. The selection sold at Scarlett's tea-parlour include black sesame, gingerbread, salted butter caramel, rosewater, pistachio, chestnut, cognac violet and earl grey of course.

Porcelain tea parlour
Photo credit : Porcelain Tea Parlour Facebook

Or you could indulge in an organic velvety pana chocolate including selections such as cinnamon as well as fig and wild orange.

There is also raw vegan chocolates in an array of flavours such as hazelnut, rosemary, orange and pistachio and coconut blossom sugar.

Simply ask Scarlett what would be the best selection to go with your tea.

We had the amazing cheese board selection with three wonderful cheeses including pecorino, buffalo caciotta and a ball of fresh mozzarella with a drop drop of seasoned cream in the centre.

You may not have heard of tea and cheese pairings but it does exist. Again, just ask Scarlett.

Porcelain Tea Parlour is keen to attract book groups. And what better way too mull over a good book and a strong brew.

This is the place for both the solitary and the social. It is definitely a comfortable-setting to come and read a book with a pot of tea.

As C.S Lewis once said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

Or use one of the packs of cards supplied to play solitaire. This would also be a conducive place for writing – a letter or otherwise. There are also pencils and a sketchpad supplied for those who wish to draw.

But it is also a place to be social if you so choose. There are board games on hand to enjoy with friends.

When we visited there was a knitting group making pouches for joeys. This is an easy way to get back into knitting and they seemed very welcoming of people who wished to join them.

There is also a communal knitting tub available in the tea parlour where you can simply pick up some knitting and continue on with plain and pearl and in my case leave your mistakes for the next person to unravel.

Couldn't resist taking a photo of this bracelet worn by one of the women enjoying Porcelain Tea Parlour as a place to get some crocheting done

This would also be a great place for yoga and meditation groups. And Scarlett has a sign on the window welcoming book groups.

As the tea parlour is an easy walk from Cinema Nova, patrons also come here afterwards to discuss the movie they have just seen over a pot of tea. The environment is so conducive to discussions.

Porcelain Tea Parlour is open from 2pm until late so it isn't like the coffee shops that open early and start closing from 3pm on.

While we were there in the daytime I imagine this would be a special place to go in the evening and sit on the comfortable chairs under the gentle light from reading lamps Here you could engage in some of the lost arts, a game of rummy perhaps, a gentle read or some sparkling conversation.

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*Nadine Cresswell-Myatt was invited as a guest
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Why? We all need to put our feet up with a good cuppa
When: 2:00pm - 10:00pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday)
Where: 149 Elgin St, Carlton
Cost: Tea from $5.
Your Comment
How absolutely perfect.
by e_law (score: 2|438) 1881 days ago
I love the idea of 'tea and post'. Written letters are a bit of a dying art but they are so much more personal.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8042) 1886 days ago
I loved the concept of 'tea and post' as well! What a wonderful place - I will keep an eye out for it when I'm next in Carlton.
by Sue Williams (score: 2|847) 1886 days ago
I was going to ask you where you got your bracelet from. It's amazing..and of course the tea and relax with supplied desires also sounds great :) x
by Jen (score: 3|2723) 1886 days ago
Yes, absolutely.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|5927) 1881 days ago
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