Miss Marple’s Tearoom
382 Mt Dandenong-Tourist Road
Sassafras, VIC 3787
When you have visitors here, you play the good host and take them on a day trip to somewhere nice. You might also want to feed them, cook something perhaps, to give them a taste of Australia. With the application such a motto, I found that I have visited the same gardens, had the same tea and scones in Mornington Peninsula like 6-7 times in this year alone… Lovely lovely.
Danni and Sylwyn are of a different breed though. I didn’t feed them, they fed me… with wine! They also seem to know exactly where they’d like to go. And whaddya know, Yarra Valley! We tackled that on a sunny weekend and came home with a boot-ful of wine. On my usual Wednesday off-day, the girls felt they had to do the “Devonshire Tea in the Mountains” thing. Lol, Asian much? I acquiesced with an inward smile. :D
Wednesday turned out to be the sky’s answer to Melbourne’s water shortage crisis. The clouds were prolific with wet expletives, it really poured. Perfect for a day driving up the slippery slopes of Mt Dandenongs. =) One good thing was my filthy car finally managed to have some semblance of a wash. With such weather, we expected Miss Marple’s to be pretty quiet. We were wrong. It was packed!
I have been here once before with my folks. We were disappointed with the scones but enjoyed the waffles. And boy were the servings huge. I’d suggest somewhere else, but when the girls saw the tearoom’s quaint cottage exterior and the cosy insides, complete with Englishy waitresses wearing aprons, they were snagged. The interior was all decked out with Christmas cheer, down to the music. I’d forgotten it’s Yuletide season. Business was brisk and touristy. We had a 20 minute wait before the no-nonsense tea ladies ushered us to our seats.
We were very hungry, but decided to go light on the savouries and heavy with the sweets. We shared the Welsh Rarebit, with mature English cheddar, egg, Guinness, mustard and spices $12.50. To be honest, pretty as the dish looked, it basically tasted like cheddar cheese on toast with a teensy bit of alcohol. I couldn’t detect any of the other ingredients. I’ve never had Welsh Rarebit before, so am not sure whether it’s supposed to taste that way. The girls didn’t comment much on this dish, but the three of us quietly ate it all (probably to stave off the tea ladies’ wrath should they find unfinished bits).
The sweets arrived. The Christmas pudding $12.50was set on a decorative plate in a pool of brandy custard. While quite small in size, it was typically rich, heavy and sweet. I didn’t like the gluggy, artificial taste of the brandy custard and would’ve preferred having this pudding served hot with vanilla bean ice cream. The pudding itself was okay, but I think it’d taste better with less sweetness, and more spices and rum. The texture could also have been less thick and a teensy bit more ‘cakey’.
The Devonshire Scones $8.50 remained disappointing. We are old school. When we think of scones, we want them round, fluffy and moist in the middle. Miss Marple’s ‘scones’ look more like cut squares of sponge cake from a large oven tray. I’d probably wouldn’t have nit-picked so much if the scones didn’t also taste dry. What saved this Devonshire tea was the raspberry jam and freshly whipped cream. I liked the cream’s freshness and the girls enjoyed the jam. They even bought a jar. We washed all the sweetness down with a shared house blend Teapot of Taylors $3.50pp.
I’ll now give you a Singlish version of what we had to say about Miss Marple.
We had a really good laugh imagining and typing this out:
“This place quite nice la. Very Christmassy one.
We choose to makan the Welsh Labbit Finger. Crazy name lor. When the char bor serve us, funny leh, simi fingers? Macham pizza leh! Somemore on top got ang moh tau-geh. Bryan say it’s “al-fal-fa”. That one what ah?
And then hor, we saw X’mas special leh… got pudding. Wah, that one see beh gao… sweet ka siao! Cannot finish. And then on top ah, got cherry and leaf leh. Bryan say “real or not?”. So he took a bite, “fake lah!”. But Sylwyn took the leaf and break break, she confirm “it’s real leh”.
Jiak ka halfway, Danni suddenly say “eh! got santas claus at the bottom of the plate!” Sylwyn say “where got?”. So we faster push all the cream to one side and take picture. See? Nice hor?
Somemore next table wu ang moh baby smile at us, see beh fat and cute lor. We faster take more picture to MMS home.
So finally when the scones come ah, we thought so funny. How come square square one? Scone not round meh? Lazy lor. Bluff people one, bake one big tray and cut, jiak money lor. But we think the jam and cream nice lah, very lemak. Later we got buy one jar bring home.”
I wouldn’t espouse the quality of the Ye Olde English fare served at Miss Marple’s. But I would say that the novel experience of being in a quaint English tearoom is still worth at least one visit. Even though it’s very touristy, the tearoom still manages to maintain a somewhat calm air of civility, thanks to the austere tea ladies. The servings are indulgently huge with very affordable prices. Share a serving of scones if you must, but do give the other handsome looking items on the menu a go as well, and tell me about it!