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High [Coffee] in the sky

Warning: High tea with indulgent food was consumed in the making of this blog.

Intercontinental Melbourne The Rialto
Market Lane Bar
459 Collins St
Melbourne 3000

Opening Hours:
Sun – Sat: 2pm – 5pm

Coffee: Espresso di Manfredi’s

“It’s quickly coming that time of the year where we celebrate mums being mums. A significant person to all and in many ways instrumental to how we are shaped as people. Mums have certainly traveled the emotional roller coaster of their children, celebrating the good times and supporting us through the bad. Not only do they have to tackle managing children head on, but also maintain their career, be a cool mum, dodge the increasing amount of social pressures from the little thing call the internet (just Google “mum”), exercise and be a loving wife. We just get tired thinking about it. High Teas are a nice treat for mum, but have you ever considered a High Coffee? It’s a concept very similar to High Tea, offering three tiers of house made savouries and sweets but instead of indulging in different types of teas you substitute it with different ways to drink coffee, including infused cocktails, traditional espresso recipes and grappa-infused espresso. For any coffee loving person it’s an experience worth trying and is now offered at the InterContinental Melbourne on the Rialto [$55 per person]. More information about the InterContinental Melbourne An Afternoon of High Coffee can be found here.

We arrived on a Saturday at the InterContinental -Melbourne on Rialto. The Market Lane Bar (no association with Market Lane Coffee) was located to the left of the entrance and immediately oozed decadence in an a very masculine, cigar-bar kind of way. You could just imagine characters from Mad Men standing near the bar, whiskey in hand, discussing politics and women. The interesting contrast to the interior decor of chandeliers and wide, brown leather chairs were the simple yet elegant arrangement of high coffee arrangements on the tables designed for two, four or six.

It was time to start working our way through the menu though, which consisted of:

  • Espresso Martini
  • Cafe Freddo (Iced coffee)
  • Mini Scones
  • Finger sandwiches
  • Warm afternoon savouries
  • Palate cleanser (raspberry sorbet)
  • Selection of sweets

So the big question is.. what did we think?

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini
Mr LB:
“It was certainly cheeky starting off with an espresso martini, but I wasn’t one to complain. This espresso martini was simply fantastic. It was exceptionally crisp with the crushed ice and carried strong coffee flavours. The coffee and the vodka where both easily identifiable and pleasantly inviting. I was also impressed with the foam surface which retained its texture throughout. It was the perfect starter to get settled in as we chatted away preparing ourselves for the next components.”

Miss SL: “What a way to start the session! My espresso martini was perfectly chilled, crisp and powerful. Two in the afternoon? Why hold back?! There was an immediate hit of caffeine that wasn’t too sharp, followed by the sweet concoction of alcohol and ended with a bit of bite. It was a decadent way to start the session, allowing us to relax into our High Coffee session.”

Fruit and Plain Scones with double cream and home-made strawberry jam

Scones – Fruit and Plain Scones with double cream and our home-made strawberry jam
Mr LB: “There is no High Tea or High Coffee without scones. The scone size was surprisingly small to what I expected, but had the right density. I preferred the fruit scone as it was the lighter of the two, but it was the condiments that shone through. It’s always a balancing act to get the flavours right with cream and jam on a scone.  The double cream was perfect to smear over the scone, providing a lovely, creamy texture. The strawberry jam had the right level of natural sweetness that capped off a well baked scone. My only criticism would be that the scones were a little cold, which was probably our fault as we didn’t start eating them as soon as they came out.”

Miss SL: “When we opened up the cloth revealing the scones I was surprised to see that the scones were bite size. The problem with mini scones is the cooking time – it needs to be just right to avoid being overcooked. Unfortunately they were a little dry, however the good thing was that the rich, thick cream and sweet strawberry jam hid the dryness of the scone itself. I really enjoyed my fruit scone which was laced with subtle spices and it was more moist as a result of the added sultanas.”

From left: Wagyu beef, cucumber relish and watercress panini, Roasted Chicken and avocado with bush tomato relish roll and Smoked salmon on rye with mascarpone and lemon myrtle

Afternoon Sandwiches

  • Wagyu beef, cucumber relish and watercress panini
  • Roasted Chicken and avocado with bush tomato relish roll
  • Smoked salmon on rye with mascarpone and lemon myrtle

Mr LB: “The sandwiches tier certainly pushed the boundaries from the traditional norm, providing non-traditional ‘sandwiches’. My favourite of the three was the Wagyu beef. Carly and I noted that it instantly reminded us of flavours of our favourite Vietnamese rolls. The cucumber relish and watercress was outstandingly fresh and at the time tasted like coriander. The roasted chicken was the most subtle of the three. Whilst the chicken was cooked well and was moist in flavour, I felt it needed some herbs to really shine through. The smoked salmon was full of fresh flavours that married well with the mascarpone bringing out the flavours of the soft bread.”

Miss SL: “I started my tasting plate in the opposite direction to Mr LB, starting with the salmon mini bagels. The bagel was dense and the salmon was nice. The mascarpone was very gentle with the lemon myrtle very subtle. Next up I had the my mini chicken sandwich which was immediately refreshing to my palate. The avocado cleansed all flavours, allowing for the flavours  of the chicken to follow through. Delicious! Finally I had the Wagyu beef rolls. I didn’t get the sense of a Vietnamese roll, but I did enjoy the freshness of the cucumber combined with the beef.”

Homemade beef and burgundy pie, Prosciutto and green asparagus quiches, feta and olice mini muffins

Warm Afternoon Savouries

  • Homemade beef and burgundy pie
  • Prosciutto and green asparagus quiches
  • Feta and olive mini muffins
  • Served with Cafe Freddo (ice coffee)

Mr LB: “With the completion of the sandwiches we were provided with the tier of warm bite-sized afternoon savouries. The pastry of the beef and burgundy pie was nice and fluffy with a warm beef filling that tasted like sweet paprika. Whatever this mystery flavour was it was good! The prosciutto and green asparagus quiche was equally as good with its shortcrust base, but it was the feta and olive mini-muffin that got my attention. It was perfect as it was light and fluffy with subtle flavours that would hit your palate at varying times, whether it was the saltiness of the olive, the soft feta cheese or the parsley.  With this tier we were also severed with a cafe freddo (ice coffee) in a double-walled glass. The small crushed ice combined had a good coffee hit. With the creamy foam it was the perfect way to finish the tier. In my opinion this was the best and most exciting tier.”

Cafe Freddo

Miss SL: “I started off with a mini pie and I was impressed. For such a small item it was packed with flavour that was sweat and meaty with vegetables and beef. The quiche was salty and I found the pastry quite savoury, balancing the flavours. Next I had the mini muffins. My god! This was amazing and by far my favourite item in the entire high coffee experience! The muffin itself appeared to be the colour of corn-bread with a similar texture. It could have been pumpkin though – I wasn’t too sure. I’m addicted to olives and so this little delight played right to my favourites. The combination of olives, parsley and feta were a heavenly combination. Overall, this was my favourite tier during the high coffee. Our cafe freddo came out at the same time as this tier and it was exquisite. The cup that it was served in was light as air, reflecting the nature of this drink. It was light and frothy, with a smooth, creamy texture. It was a really refreshing intermission during this heavy course.”

Seasonal Sorbet (Raspberry)

Palate Cleanser – Seasonal Sorbet

Mr LB: “The raspberry sorbet was nice with a hint of raspberry and did its job as the palate cleanser for the sweets.”

Miss SL: “The sorbet was really beautiful. The raspberry flavours were powerful and you could tell that it was made fresh as the seeds were still present in the mixture. I found that this did the perfect job to cleanse my palate in preparation for the final tier – sweets.”


  • Vanilla and raspberry panna-cotta – The Mocha
  • Couveture Chocolate and macadamia nut slice with Chantilly cream – The Espresso
  • Pistachio macaroon – The Macchiato
  • Mini pavlova with seasonal fruits – The Flat White

Mr LB: “I wasn’t that wowed by the sweet offerings but on a whole it presented well. The vanilla and raspberry panna-cotta wasn’t to my liking. It was a little runny and at times became flavourless. The pistachio macaron was baked well with the outer shell acting like an egg-shell crust, whilst the inner biscuit was soft.  The ganache had a slight pistachio flavour. The brownie was a rich and dense in flavour and by the end found it a little too much. The mini pavlova was well constructed and I thought it was the strongest out of plate. The combination of the soft meringue with the light flavored cream and passion fruit pulp was simple and delightful. This tier was well constructed but in terms of flavour it struggle to impress me.

Miss SL: “It was time for sweets and I was already full. However, for the benefits of you all, I pushed through. I started off with what I thought was a berry yoghurt but was in fact a panna cotta with a raspberry sauce. The panna cotta had hints of vanilla bean mixed through but it actually wasn’t what I had oped. The sauce was nice but actually tasted more like blackberries rather than raspberries. Next I had the mini pavlova. This was my favourite item on the plate. the meringue was light, fluffy and topped with the perfect dollop of cream and fresh fruit. The passion fruit pulp added additional flavours to the meringue. Next I had the chocolate brownie. It was rich but a little dry. Due to its density I couldn’t finish it all. I ended my sweets with a pistachio macaron, which I think was the right move. The biscuits were perfectly executed – a light crunch on the outside and chewy on the inside. I felt that the flavours of the pistachio were quite strong but not overpowering. It was really beautiful and the way a macaron should be.”

Final Thought: “A unique spin on a High Tea, this High Coffee delivers well-matched beverages throughout the experience”

The Intercontinental, Market Lane Lounge on Urbanspoon

We also had a sneak peek at one of the hotel suites at the InterContinental and we must say they sure look invitingly cosy and romantic. The basic suites have two option available, one with a balcony that allows you to take in the grand brick structure of the InterContinental [$325 p/night] or without [~$300 p/night]. Either way, the suite is spacious enough to be relaxing without feeling like you’re in a box. There is a well designed desk for those last-minute work touch-ups.

If the aim of the High Coffee is to woo and be romantic, so for staying guests, there is the option of indulging in this experience in your suite.

Food in pictures

1 Comment on High [Coffee] in the sky

  1. It looks amazing I’m going this Sunday yay! Can’t wait 🙂

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  1. An Afternoon of High Cofee @ Market Lane Bar, Intercontinental Hotel Rialto, Melbourne CBD | The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua & The Boy

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