Originally posted on The AU Review (August 16, 2016)
As you take a peek into the new luxury retail mall, St Collins Lane, you’ll find an elegant new addition to lure you in with its charming dark wood exterior, casing some of the most deliciously enticing sweets to pop up in the area. As a guest to the launch of Runya’s Room, it was both an honour and a delight to finally step into this extravagant 70s inspired champagne and high tea salon.
Enriched with elegance and class, the experience and design of the place is nothing less than magical. The crystal chandelier hangs on the ceiling, illuminating the retro wall-print with the rounded wicker accents, all tied together with flecks of gold that present in all aspects of the room. Paired with the white and pale pinks to match the tea set that sits atop the tables and rests as decor, it all exudes quaint femininity.
Each day, Runya’s Room hosts three sessions of traditional high tea ($55-75) alongside an all-day breakfast and lunch a la carte menu, both featuring a wide variety of high-end European and Middle-Eastern inspired dishes.
The morning, of course, started with tea, and with a solid selection from the likes of Hot Cinnamon Sunset, Earl Grey Supreme and Japanese Sencha, I went with Herbal Raspberry tea, made with a subtly-sweet blend of rosehips, hibiscus and raspberry leaf.
They offered everything you would expect with a traditional high tea experience, from white linen napkins to detailed gold silverware and tiered plates of equally stylish and delectable tea sandwiches and macarons, with unique savoury additions.
Each piece shared a great balance in flavour and texture. Highlights included the fried mushrooms and spiced hummus on toasted pita cup, the pastirma, aged goats cheese, heirloom tomato and Toum on wholemeal, and my personal favourite, the Chocolate Mille Feuille. The bitterness of the dark chocolate ganache in the mille feuille, paired with the pastry’s saltiness was a perfect match of flavours.
Treated to a plate of freshly baked scones, both the rose water and the prune and orange scones were soft and full of subtle flavours that brought a refreshing balance with the clotted cream and jams that accompanied it.
In addition to the picturesque décor and its well matched menu, the room’s music brought together that European-Middle Eastern vibe. With their mix of French treasures like La Vie En Rose, and world classics like Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nut Cracker, the room was filled with sophistication and culture.
If indulging oneself for an afternoon of high tea may seem a bit farfetched, Runya’s Room is certainly the place to convert to the specific joy of tradition. It’s a strong contender to the high tea scene in Melbourne, holding onto the magic of old world charm in the face of modern twists and turns.