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High Coffee At Market Lane Bar

high coffee at market lane bar

When it is late afternoon and your last appointment involves a favourite client or business partner, it is a given that the line between work and play will be blurred. If you are already eyeing that route, you may as well raise the bar by taking them to High Coffee at Market Lane Bar.

Discreetly located in an alcove inside InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, Market Lane Bar is a palette of darkly plush hues interspersed with a smattering of starkly white chairs and swatches of colour from the wall paintings and portraits.

The muted and masculine vibe makes this the last place one would expect to see tiered cake stands of dainty pastries and finger sandwiches. And yet that is precisely what sits on the low tables for High Coffee every Wednesday to Sunday with an espresso martini as the starter and a coffee as the side.

market lane bar

“Market Lane Bar is not your traditional high tea setting so we started thinking about what we could do that was a little unusual,” said Craig Wood, the Food & Beverage Director. “We found a gap in the market and infused it with Melbourne’s love for coffee to offer something different.”

High Coffee launched at Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay before arriving at its sister hotels in Melbourne, Adelaide and Wellington where it has been adapted to the local taste and trend.

In Melbourne, the experience is a hit among women who make a beeline for the high-backed chairs, long couch or balcony nooks. No matter where you sit, the clever play of lighting and thoughtful distance between tables makes each guest inconspicuous and every conversation private.

“The most popular seats are those on the balcony,” Craig said. “Each portion is cordoned off by light boxes which creates a very intimate space. If you are sitting there, you hardly notice the people around you.”

Start off your business meeting by settling in a private corner with coffees. Once the serious matters are wrapped up, adjourn to the balcony for a well-deserved round of espresso martinis and small bites – the real High Coffee stars.

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The Espresso Martini

espresso martini

Fluffy. That is how Jaegan Brozak, F&B Team Leader, describes the head of a perfect espresso martini. The not-so-secret ingredient to this luscious finish is fresh coffee, which Jaegan sometimes replaces with decaf at a guest’s request, but never with instant.

“The beauty of an espresso martini is that the flavours can be tailored to your preference,” she said. “It can be sweetened with sugar syrup or vanilla Galliano, or made more bitter by omitting the liqueur. You could even swap the vodka with spiced rum. It is that versatile!”

Market Lane Bar’s version features Frangelico for its balance between sweet and bitter. The hazelnut-flavoured liqueur is also the reason most High Coffee guests rarely stop at one glass.

“Espresso martinis have aesthetic appeal and an amazing flavour,” Jaegan enthused. “I’m from Brisbane where espresso martinis are only just becoming a big thing. I had my first taste here and I love it! I recommend it to all our guests and Americans, in particular, love it. They write down the recipe so they can make it at home.”


The Spread

high coffee sweet treats

Market Lane Bar’s High Coffee spread is similar to that of its high tea and draws inspiration from Mrs. D’Ebro, the wife of Melbourne architect, Charles D’Ebro, who designed the Winfield Wing that houses Market Lane Bar.

“Mrs. D’Ebro used to host glamorous high tea parties in the late 1980s in her Toorak mansion,” Craig said. “Our menu is a modern interpretation of the food and style of service for which she was renowned.”

An asparagus and ricotta quiche tartlet and a petite short-crusted beef and red wine pie sit on the bottom tier with three finger sandwiches made of spinach bread, tomato bread and country bread sit on the middle tier.

The top tier holds blackberry sponge cake, chocolate praline, raspberry mini-doughnut and red fruit macaron. A sultana fruit scone with double clotted cream and jellies is served as an accompaniment with aromatic Vittoria Oro coffee.

Market Lane Bar calls its High Coffee a “uniquely Melbourne twist on a classic” but anyone who treats herself to the experience knows it is more than that. It is a concept that has turned an occasional treat into a local lifestyle.


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