“It’s a modern twist on high tea – a modern and uniquely Melbourne twist,” says Matt Coates, the new head chef at the InterContinental Melbourne Rialto, and formerly of Sydney’s Rockpool and Bistro Moncur.

From Wednesday to Sunday, 2pm–5pm, the hotel’s Market Lane Bar hosts three hours of sweets, savouries and a never-ending supply of coffee, as you like it. Come 6pm on weekends and live music fills the space too. “It’s a bit of a journey,” says Coates.

That’s an understatement. If there’s ever been a time to pace yourself, it’s now.

For $55, High Coffee goers are greeted with an espresso martini on arrival, followed by sandwiches (try the milawa ashed goat’s cheese with honey from the hotel’s resident rooftop bees) and chocolate scones, a savoury selection featuring wagyu pies, a sorbet palate cleanser and if you can fit it in, a three-tiered stand of sweets and cakes to finish.

Food aside, a highlight of High Coffee is the building in which you’ll be savouring that third or fourth cup.

“The hotel is a beautiful, 1890s Venetian-style building,” says Coates. “It’s a pretty romantic setting.”

Get our pick of the best news, features and events delivered twice a week

Originally it was two buildings, Melbourne’s wool stores and offices, built in 1891. InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto represents “Marvellous Melbourne” at its gold rush peak, back when the city was the richest in the world. Tucked away to the side of the building on the basement level, you can even find the original bluestone, cobbled laneway that originally joined the two buildings.

Coates says so far High Coffee has attracted a mix of couples and larger groups, and come 5pm when it’s all over, they often stay on at the bar.

“That’s when people normally switch to champagne,” says Coates.

Or whisky, considering Market Lane Bar boasts one of the largest collections in Melbourne, with more than 130 to choose from. This might call for an Irish coffee.

InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto’s High Coffee is served Wednesday to Sunday from 2pm–5pm. Bookings are encouraged and can be made on the hotel's website.


This piece is presented by InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto.