• pram access;
  • high chairs;
  • disabled toilets with pram access; and
  • child-friendly standard menu.

I love high tea and I think there’s no reason why I should have to quit my addition now, even with NKOTB in tow.

Thus, I recently made my first visit to have afternoon tea at Sofi’s, the lobby lounge of The Sofitel. When I called to book they were very accommodating about providing a high chair and a quiet table so we wouldn’t disturb other people too much.

Sadly, the weekday high tea at fell far short of the other places I’ve tried. I’m not sure I’d return even for the child-friendly facilities.

In terms of atmosphere it exudes the kind of refinement and elegance you’d expect from a five star hotel, with curved back chairs, cushy sofas, floral arrangements and even a grand piano in the corner. However, it’s not so rarified that a child couldn’t make a bit of noise now and then (though I don’t think other patrons would look too kindly on screaming games of chasey).

Sofi’s afternoon tea offering is a classic 3-tiered stand suspending china plates of finger sandwiches, cakes and scones, with a glass of sparkling wine to start and tea or coffee with your treats.

However, for $45 a head the quality of the food left much to be desired.

The bread from the crustless sandwiches was stale, was too heavy buttered and the fillings were uninspired – deli ham, flavourless smoked salmon, slithers of cucumber and a paper-thin smear of egg mayonnaise. The pita bread from the roast beef roll-up had been sitting around for so long it was almost crisp. Fortunately NKOTB is less discerning so I gave a lot of my sandwiches to her.

The scones were rock hard, though the home-made jam made them more palatable. Again, NKOTB didn’t seem to mind them.

The desserts were uniformly forgettable –  a bit of chocolate here, a bit of cream there – except for the hilariously retro carved swan profiterole! I didn’t really like any of the desserts as they lacked the sort of finesse I’d experienced at other high teas I’ve tried.

Even the tea wasn’t that great. The selection was exactly English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Peppermint, Green tea. Boring, boring, boring, boring. The only consolation was that you got to sip it out of very nice tea cups.

On the weekends Sofi’s offers a High Tea buffet for $69 per person which is the weekday offering plus a crepe station, hot and cold savoury morsels and possibly a greater choice of cakes and pastries. However, based on my experience I’d hesitate to paying even more money to try afternoon tea there again.

Sofi’sThe Sofitel Melbourne, 25 Collins St, Melbourne +61 3 9653 0000

Mon-Fri: 9am – 7pm
Sat: 10.30am – 8pm
Sun: 10.30am – 5.30pm
Mon – Fr Afternoon Tea: 2.30pm – 5pm
Sat & Sun High Tea: 2.30pm – 5pm
All day menu available from 11am daily


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