The InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto is Melbourne’s newest 5-star hotel, and I stayed there at least once a month when travelling for business back in 2009. It’s actually two buildings joined together by a huge glass atrium – you can read about its history here if you’re interested. The Market Lane Bar is located near the hotel lobby, and serves food & drink seven days a week from 2pm.
We stumbled across the InterContinental’s “High Coffee” while looking for some special things to do while on our honeymoon in Melbourne – it really appealed to both of us and were expecting this to be one of the highlights of our trip. You can see the full details of what we signed up for here.
The InterContinental is a beautiful building and a very nice place to stay – it is 5-star, after all – although it can feel a little prison-like when coming out of your room after you’ve stayed there for a few days.
The Market Lane Bar is a comfortable place to sit, although the view isn’t particularly exciting.
So down to business, and the “High Coffee” started with a lovely espresso martini.
Next course was a Cafe Freddo (an iced coffee) made with Espresso di Manfredi, apparently. This wasn’t much more than a mouthful but very refreshing after the martini.
After what seemed like a rather long time, some food appeared on a traditional looking tray. The menu implied that a sorbet was being served between the savoury and sweet items, however all of the food arrived (minus scones) at once. We decided to work on the assumption that our waitress knew what she was doing.
Hot items were a savoury muffin, parma ham & asparagus quiche and wagyu pie. These were all nice and as described, but nothing particularly exceptional.
The sandwiches were a cream cheese bagel, chicken & cranberry baguette and Millawa ashed goats cheese with honey made from beehives on the rooftop of the hotel. It’s a good thing the honey was there as the goats cheese was really strong, and as you can see there was quite a slab of it. We requested no seafood, hence the bagel was cream cheese instead of salmon.
For dessert we had a pistachio macaron, blackberry crumble, passionfruit teacake and mini chocolate eclair. As before, everything was very nice but nothing exceptional – I had high hopes for the blackberry crumble but there wasn’t much berry to speak of.
Of course the (nice, but hard as a rock) raspberry sorbet appeared as we were half way through our desserts. Hmm. And where were the scones..?
Oh, there they are. The chocolate one wasn’t very nice at all, even when smothered in jam and cream – we both thought it tasted more like a stale muffin than a scone. Disappointing. And there it ended.
I’m sorry to say that we were both rather underwhelmed by the InterContinental “High Coffee” experience. This wasn’t cheap, either – $60 each, or $70 on weekends – and even taking the price of an espresso martini into account, the food just wasn’t good enough. We were promised a “sensory journey from Brazil to Uganda”, but this was nothing of the sort.
A similar High Coffee is on offer at the excellent Waiting Room in Crown Towers from $40 a head, and I wish we’d gone there instead.
Shiny foyer art.
To complete your food experience, check out HotelsCombined that lists a variety of options for hotels with high quality restaurants.