Visiting The Tea Room at the NGV on a Sunday, before the crowds of tourists arrive, is an experience I need at least once a month. This is the original National Gallery of Victoria I knew growing up, now known as the International one, with it’s little sister and brother up the road. The ‘mousehole’ entrance and the Water Wall are as grand and enchanting to me now as they were when I was little.
Up the miniture escalator is The Tea Room – a welcomed addition to the new version of the NGV monolith. It is quaint and a little posh, perfectly placed within the gallery to rest your feet and discuss art or just gossip.
The cherry on top is that The Tea Room offers very, very good Chai. It isn’t actually on the menu amongst the long list of exquisitely complex teas, you need to ask for it. Served on a on a tea tray with fine crockery is a large pot of delectably milky Chai. For Chai accompaniments, you are spoilt for choice. My favourites are the wonderfully diverse and interesting macaroons or the incredibly comforting scones with jam and cream. High tea, finger sandwiches and pasties are also high on the list.
A Chai at The Tea Room is rarely the only stop at NGV, its mostly a sweet treat between gallery cruising and lying on the floor to look at the Leonard French stained glass ceiling. Sometimes followed by a wonder through the Arts Centre Market and people watching along the Yarra at Southbank. When I do manage to arrive mid morning there is always a free all day parking spot so there is no excuse to rush.