Hope(toun) is the Only Thing Greater Than Fear!
I’ve never liked sweets or confectionery (except for rich breads) even when I was a child, yet I’ve always had weight problems and have yo-yo-ed for 30 years. Since my teens, I have been obsessed with weight loss and the weight watchers’ diet. I was always diligent in exercising and kept my meals healthy, until now. In the last 7 years, I’ve developed a taste for desserts and allowed myself to indulged a bit, to be a little more kind to myself :)
Valerie is to be blamed, I’m afraid. She’s the one with the mantra “There’s always room for desserts” after every meal. I do not like to say no to my children and so one day, I pinched my nose and took the first dive. I ate and finished a whole slice of cake. I was in love, completely fell for it hook, line and sinker – 7 layers of decadence! I felt so guilty afterwards I was afraid I was going to wake up and be fat and sick and depressed again. I still have that nagging fear, especially on days when I have an appetite and crave for a slice of warm apple pie with ice cream, a jam filled doughnut or a gooey double chocolate cake.
Raymond, Vanessa and I lunched at RMB Cafe on Degraves Street this afternoon. We decided not to take the tram and walked a bit when Vany told Ray, “I have to take my mom to Hopetoun!”. I wasn’t really paying much attention and did not question her what’s Hopetoun. Actually, I’ve not been myself lately, a weird feeling, perhaps the anti-climax after new year, and it’s difficult to focus. We crossed the road and headed towards Australia On Collins (AOC). As we strolled into the mall, er… the arcade next to AOC, Vanessa said to me, “Turn your head to the left, mom”. I obeyed dutifully while still walking forward. Then she stopped and turned me around. Oh boy, was I impressed! They were so beautiful. I was right across the display window about ten feet away and I could feel a stirring in me already. If there wasn’t a long queue, I would have been lured into the realm of fantasy! I recomposed and said to myself, “look but don’t touch, touch (the display window) but don’t eat”. So I had to compensate by having a few Kodak moments with these seductive cakes and feast with my eyes only.
I will definitely visit Hopetoun Tea Rooms before February 2013, and with some luck the queue would not be as long as what I’d witnessed today. I’ve also read some bad reviews on the wait staff but… Hopefully, the experience will be exquisite or I would really have to ask myself if the wait is worth it.
Lovely Mosaic Design On The Floor In Block Arcade
History of The Hopetoun Tea Rooms
Nowhere else in Melbourne’s City Business District can you find a more charming setting and atmosphere than the Hopetoun Tea Rooms. Whilst sipping on your tea, the Victorian splendour of the Block Arcade will take your mind back to the late 19th Century when the tea rooms’ history began.
The Block Arcade site has what can only be described as a history of miraculous survival.
Originally a bulk grain store, it was sold in 1837 for a princely sum of 18 pounds and, from 1883 was occupied by Briscoe’s bulk grain store. It was taken over by George and George, Silk Mercers and General Drapers, which was one of Melbourne’s most prestigious stores, known as George’s. In 1889, a spectacular fire burned the building to the ground.
The new owners, The City Property Company, stepped in to erect the building which now stands on the site.In 1893, The Block Arcade’s official opening of the Mayor was celebrated with champagne and turkey.
From 1893 until 1907, The Victorian ladies’ Work Association ran a small tea room, previously located at the shop number 6. Though the Association then disbanded, the tea rooms continued to operate under a new name “The Hopetoun Tea Rooms”, after Lady Hopetoun.
It was at this time that the tea rooms moved to its present location at the front of the Block. Today, the tradition of quality at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms continues, combining delight of fine foods and beverages, with the tranquil beauty of refined elegance of The Block Arcade, now fully restored to its former glory.
P.S. All words in History of The Hopetoun Tea Rooms are from their website.