The Langham Aria Bar: Burch and Purchese afternoon tea

Disclosure: I attended courtesy of The Langham and Media Moguls.

The other week I was invited to attend the launch of the Burch and Purchese afternoon tea at The Langham. It’s a limited series of afternoon teas starting in April – replacing the chocolate bar at the Aria Bar (which I have also attended previously), cakes and treats will instead be created by Darren Purchese from Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio in South Yarra.

If you’ve visited the B&P Sweet Studio, you’ll know that it’s like a crazy science lab for sweet things, so I was eager to see whether some of those whimsical and interesting flavour combinations would be brought across to The Langham.


My eating partner in crime on the day was Shellie, and together we gamely tried a bit of everything. Let’s have a closer look…

Aren’t these little cakes cute? These contained milk chocolate and mango cream, coconut meringue, Jamaican ginger cake, mango cream, milk chocolate sponge, mango custard and topped with a chocolate gingerbread man. It was like a dainty little ginger layer cake.

The explosive raspberry marshmallows were one of my favourite items. They contained raspberry marshmallow with a soft set raspberry centre that sat on a base of milk chocolate and pop rocks. Yay, pop rocks!

I’m not really a white chocolate person, so I found these white chocolate and salted caramel lollipops on the sweet side. I think the salt in the caramel could’ve been dialled up a lot more.

The strawberry eclairs was the only item that wasn’t particularly great. The choux dough was filled with a strawberry pastry cream, and unfortunately the pastry was too dry – possibly due to the small size. Anyway, there was lots more treats to try, so Shellie and I moved on.

Darren Purchese described this as a salad in a glass – dessert style. It was probably the strangest item on the table. The main ingredients in this was avocado, mint, cucumber and white chocolate – see the salad reference? It contained yoghurt and lime crumb, avocado cream, mint tapicoa, ascorbic jelly, compressed cucumber with apple, white chocolate mousse and a mint chocolate wafer. Tart but creamy, with a refreshing cucumber flavour, I was really surprised to find that the combination was unexpectedly delicious.

Next up – a gorgeously glossy item of chocolate, mandarin and salted caramel. Normally I HATE jaffa and orange chocolate, but I found that I didn’t mind this – possibly because the mandarin wasn’t particularly prominent. This was made with Kendari 60% chocolate mousse, Murray River salted caramel, burnt mandarin cream, St Clements marmalade, aerated chocolate shortbread and coated with a chocolate mirror glaze.

Another really fun item were the mini meringue clouds. These chewy meringues were flavoured with freeze dried passionfruit, strawberry or blackberry. And when I say chewy, I mean chewy. At the bottom of the meringue there was a flavoured taffy like substance.

I loved this glass of coconut, passionfruit, ginger and mint. It was made up of layers of coconut mousse, passionfruit curd, coconut caviar, passionfruit jelly, salted oat and ginger crumble, white chocolate mint wafer, ginger macaroon and coated with brilliant white chocolate spray.

The dark chocolate and salted caramel lollipops with mandarin and cocoa nibs were better than their white chocolate counterparts though I did still find them on the too sweet side.

Another really gorgeous dainty cake – pistachio cake, strawberry and rose petal jam, yoghurt sponge, white peach cream, blood peach and peach schnapps cream and wild strawberry, vanilla and white choc mousse. The subtle flavours and soft layers of sponge really did it for me.

This cake was made with smoked white chocolate cream, crunchy almond meringue, coffee buttercream, coffee sponge, aniseed syrup, brownie sponge, lemon curd and dehydrated choc rock. The main flavours that came out in this was the aniseed and coffee. It was interesting – aniseed fans would probably like this more than I did. It’s not that I disliked it, but it didn’t really excite me.

Originally, these salted caramel gold bars were reportedly made for Nigella Lawson. They proved so popular that he keeps making them. It’s not surprising that they’re popular – they were pretty damn good. Like a posh, higher quality version of a caramello koala. :p

Still with me? Seriously, can you believe Shellie and I tried a bit of everything?! And I’m still not finished.

One for banana lovers – the glass contained caramelised white chocolate and vanilla mousse, macadamia spiced speculaas (shortbread biscuit), caramelised banana cream, passionfruit jelly, passionfruit curd and choc velvet spray. Awesome, and how cute are the little chocolate bars?

Finally, there were also chocolate flowers – all the colours were different flavours. There was strawberry, mint, mango, and blueberry from memory.

Overall, and you know that I don’t have a major sweet tooth, I was impressed by the different flavours and textures that had been worked into the desserts. It wasn’t all sugar on sugar on sugar. They were pretty, a bit fun, but most importantly delicious.

And in addition to the sweet treats, the afternoon tea still featured the usual ribbon sandwiches, scones and tea. Thank goodness for the sandwiches, because by the end of the afternoon we were both suffering from sugar overload and had to scoff down a few sandwiches to cope. Soft, really soft. :)

The B&P afternoon tea is currently available for three Fridays in April, May and June. At $69, the price is the same as the regular chocolate bar afternoon tea in the weekend. I know which afternoon tea I would rather attend – definitely this one. :)

The dates available are:

Friday 20 April
Friday 4 May
Friday 1 June
From 10:30am – 4pm

(More dates may possibly be announced soon)

Cost: $69 per person

See: ariabar.com.au.

And check out Shellie’s post on the launch.


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Aria Bar & Lounge
The Langham Melbourne
One Southgate Avenue
Southbank 3006
Ph: 1800 641 107
Web: ariabar.com.au

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