Think high tea and dainty chicken sandwiches, pretty petit fours and exquisite tea served in fancy china come to mind. At Runya’s Room in St Collins Lane, high tea has all those things – but with an exotic twist. Inspired by the Middle Eastern heritage of founder Sam Shagagi and his late wife, Runya, to whom the elegant pale pink and gold high tea salon is dedicated, head chef Andy Ledson has created a menu that will appeal to those with traditional tastes as well as diners seeking something a little different.
Along with superbly flavourful teas from Harney & Sons, high tea at Runya’s Room serves up three tiers of treats, both savoury and sweet, most of which incorporate Middle Eastern ingredients. Tiny triangles of spinach and cheese in flaky pastry are served warm, as are the chermoula chicken tarts. A crostini holds creamy smashed broad beans lightly flavoured with lemon and garlic tahini, while hummus features in two of the bite-size savouries and high tea stalwart, the chicken sandwich, appears in the form of a pita bread roll containing sumac poached chicken, coriander, lemon mayonnaise and onion.
The dessert offering includes gold-dusted macarons and a wonderfully light vanilla and strawberry choux – but the more adventurous (or simply those with a bigger appetite!) will also enjoy Runya’s take on that most English of experiences: scones, jam and cream. Here, rose water and prune scones sit side by side with those flavoured with orange blossom. Yes, there’s cream served with them – no need to break from tradition completely! – but the accompanying homemade quince preserve and carrot and pistachio jam are a delightful surprise, and the perfect end to a deliciously different high tea.
Shop RG03, St Collins Lane
260 Collins Street, Melbourne