because I can't bake
Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the Melbourne CBD.
Block Arcade, Shop 1 & 2, 282 Collins Street
|Visited||18 September 2010|
The first time I went to Hopetoun Tea Rooms I think I was lucky that the place was actually kind of empty, although at the end of my tea it became really crowded. The next few times, not so lucky anymore as my several attempts to get in there in the arvo on some Sundays with no reservation were not sucessful; the sight of the constant long line in front of the tea rooms drove me away from the tea rooms to some clothing shops along Collins Street.
I guess it was the tea rooms display that attracted people. The cakes on display were attractive in size, colours, and texture that they looked very fresh, very inviting.
I regained my luck that Saturday arvo, when I came into the cafe and a table just became free. Oh on that note, yes, booking is definitely necessary as the tea rooms is very small in size that it does not fit that many customers in.
As we sat down we were presented with their mini menu where it had non-cake meals for lunch, but it was disappointing that they did not have an actual cake menu so we had to go outside of the tea rooms again to pick some cakes from the display. It would not have been an issue if the tea rooms was roomy but you had to always squeeze in whenever you had to move as it was jam-packed, especially at the entrance which was pretty much where the cake display was located.
Judging and picking just by its looks, I went for their flourless orange cake which came on a plate together with very sour passionfruit sauce, strawberry jam, cream, and half a strawberry. It was very, very good the first few of bites then weirdly it went downhill from there. Perhaps it was not sweet enough for me? Not sure, but I did recall that my first cake at Hopetoun Tea Rooms was much more spectacular than the orange cake, which was I really wanted to come back. My friend's apple pie (also served with passionfruit sauce, strawberry jam, cream, and half a strawberry) was better though, but still nothing extraordinary.
We were served by their many different staff that were all very pleasant and chatty. Even though service was excellent, ambience was pretty poor given their stuffy condition. Also, I did not find their flowery green theme flattering (the cafe wallpaper, business card, and website all had the same, matching theme); it was good for their brand identity that they were consistent but not so good of a view.
Despite everything, Hopetoun Tea Rooms is still a cute little cafe for me that I'd visit every now and then because it is conveniently located just around the corner from where I live and also because I have been eyeing on their scrumptious chocolate eclairs. Hmmm......