HOPETOUN TEA ROOMS, MELBOURNE CBD: A cute little cafe towards the entrance of the Block Arcade on Collins Street. I’ve walked past this a few times simply gawking at the array of cakes displayed through the windows and was finally seduced by them one afternoon to try it with family.
As we were there after a big lunch, we ordered 2 cakes: the chocolate strawberry swirl with cream inside and the white chocolate cheesecake. (Usually $9.50 flat price for the cakes) Cheesecake, chocolate and cream are probably triple threat dessert elements for me! Overall, I’m not a big fan of fruit cakes but as the strawberries were just mixed within the cream and not baked inside the cake itself, it was nice to try.
Presentation was beautiful with with elegant syrup swirls on the plate dotted with colours and the cheesecake was served with a small portion of fruit on the side that added variety to the colour palette. The cheesecake was delicious, not too dense such that it was sickening with the cheese, but instead had quite a soft, yet rich texture. The white chocolate added a simple, sweet chocolatey touch that complemented the cheese really well. The fruits on the side adding a slight moist freshness balanced the sweetness out quite well.
For the strawberry chocolate swirl (that’s what I’m calling it now) there was not as much cream as we expected within the chocolate cake, but instead too many strawberries (I’m more of a cream fan so it depends on your preference). However, by appearance, I was expecting more cream as the cake seemed to be merely a hollow chocolate cylinder with cream inside and small amounts of strawberry to add a natural fruity sweetness. The chocolate cake itself was quite springy and not too dry especially when mellowed with the texture of the contents inside.
Their menu also offers a high tea experience (with small sampling portions of sandwiches, biscuits etc.) but it doesn’t appear to be very worth the value. They also have additional cafe style dishes such as sandwiches, omelettes, salads etc. for breakfast and lunch but in my opinion, the cake is the essential! They also rotate on a seasonal basis.
There is usually a line so try to avoid peak time i.e. weekends/afternoons for afternoon tea. TIP there is also a extra 10% surcharge on weekends. We waited for around 15 minutes on a Monday afternoon. The waiter didn’t seem very kind and she neglected our table for a bit, maybe cos we didn’t order any tea. The music inside is very peaceful and there is a lovely ambiance with fancy mirrors everywhere, giving it a classy feel. Couple of people opting to sit down for a cup of tea and cake, reading a book to pass their afternoons. However probably slightly more run down than I expected when I looked from the outside, especially as it’s in the Block Arcade.
SHOULD YOU GET FAT HERE?
Yes – A beautiful interior even though I’ve had better cakes elsewhere (namely Brunetti: Cake for Breakfast? YES PLEASE!) for a cheaper price, it is quite an elegant experience.