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When it comes to the art of afternoon tea, the Tea Room at the NGV prides itself on providing a little bit of history with a modern twist. The menu notes the seventh Duchess of Bedford as the instigator of tea and cakes between meals, before Queen Victoria took up the cause. Today, set on level one of the cool, serene NGV space – and just to one side of the famous water wall – the Tea Room shines the spotlight on the art of afternoon tea once more.

Gilt-edged mirrors, deep bucket seats and intimate tables provide a dramatic setting for elegant, tiered cake plates. The sweets and savouries – from jam scones to white bread with egg and watercress – are made in-house and the extensive list of teas offers more than the standard fare. Keep an eye out for Silver Needles or Spring Snow. The brews are served in pots with a corresponding theme: classic shapes for classic teas, or more modern patterns for green tea and chai.

But the Tea Room is not just for ladies-who-lunch. Rather, it proves a perfect setting for any sort of rendezvous, from an art student catch-up to a business meeting or romantic tryst.

It’s afternoon tea made accessible by the welcoming floor staff and the inclusive nature of the gallery. We love the teapot motifs on the waitress’s skirts, not to mention the fact that you don’t have to be viewing an exhibition to enjoy the tea.