Afternoon Tea Time

I’m going to start blogging about food…because I found it really difficult to figure out where to eat in Vancouver via Google.  So…I’ll happily be the guinea pig 🙂  Except it might end up being a small challenge because I’m a creature of habit, so I tend to just go to the same places, and eat the same things. But let’s give this a try!

When it comes to afternoon tea, I’m always in!  So far, I’ve tried Secret Garden on W. Boulevard, T-Room near UBC, and at the lounge inside Shangri-La downtown.

[a.] Secret Garden 5559 W.Boulevard, Vancouver

It’s my current favourite place for afternoon tea.  I’ve gone there quite a few times, and the food and service has been consistently wonderful.  The atmosphere is what I’d imagine English countryside bed and breakfast to be like.  I believer that for their high tea and regular tea sets, you are given a scone, a finger sandwich, another side, and a choice of desserts.  I highly recommend the lemon tart.  It’s their specialty, and it’s absolutely fantastic.  Ditto with their scones with devon cream and raspberry jam. Mmm.  Of course you get your pick of teas – my favourites are the Irish breakfast and vanilla Earl Grey.  It comes with a tea-cozy!

They also have a section where you can buy teas and pastries to take home.  As well as a corner of cute gift ideas.  I love this place.  I think it’ll remain my go-to afternoon tea fix choice for a long time.

[b.]  T-Room Bakery, somewhere in Vancouver

I’m not even going to bother putting the address up, because this was a pure disappointment.  T-Room was my first let’s-try-something-new place.  I ran back to the safety of Secret Garden right after.  It’s a cute little bakery/restaurant/messy store all in one; a very different sort of atmosphere from Secret Garden.  The food was decent.  But the service we got was HORRENDOUS.

I had made a reservation for my old classmates and I to go there to catch up.  We would be 5 minutes late, so I called in advance to let them know that we were stuck in traffic and would be 5 to 10 minutes late, and we apologized.  The girl who picked up was very nice and told us not to worry, they will hold our table for us and that 10 minutes would not be a problem.  We walked in, apologizing already for being late for our reservation, and the OWNER comes out and starts lecturing us on punctuality.  That immediately put my back up.  So I explained that I had called in advance to let her employee know that we would be a couple minutes late and she assured us it’s no problem.  It wasn’t a busy day, and there was only one other table filled, so it wasn’t as it we were wasting a table or something.  She said that they are very busy and they don’t cater to people who don’t care about their reservations.  Again, I told her we had called in the car to say we are coming. Which I thought is me doing my part to let all parties know that I DO care about the reservation, and I’m going to be there soon!  The entire time we were there, the owner gave us dirty looks.  When my friend asked if there was nuts in one of the dishes, she flipped out at her, saying that she is not responsible for any allergies.  My friend just wanted to know if there were nuts in it, because she didn’t want to eat certain nuts.

They didn’t have honey for my tea either.

Needless to say, I will not be returning to this place.

[c.] Lobby Lounge at Shangri-La 1128 W. Georgia St, Vancouver

Typical hotel style afternoon tea.  There was a guy playing piano in the corner, quiet atmosphere, and giant chairs.  It’s difficult to eat when you are sunk in a giant chair.  For drinks maybe.  It was also sort of difficult to converse.  But the food was great!  Different from what I normally get at afternoon teas.  When we were there we got samples of ahi tuna tataki, tofu with a coconut curry, sticky rice, matcha cake, black sesame cake…and of course a scone.  Maybe I’m biased, but it’s not as great of a scone as Secret Garden. 😛  Tea was excellent, they had honey 🙂

It’s a great place to go to if you want to impress a client, but definately not if you want to catch up with friends.

The verdict?  Secret Garden.

Up next: Urban Tea Merchant


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