First of all, Happy New Year everyone! I will be posting more frequently in the coming year, I hope. I have yet to post about afternoon tea at the Windsor Arms which happened in June! December just flew by, there was always something to do. I look at my January calendar and it’s quite empty – not that I’m complaining.
On January 1st, a friend and I went to the Shangri-La Toronto. It was my other friend’s birthday the other day and I had intended to take her out to get our hair done. She was feeling under the weather so I went to Blo blow dry bar alone (will post about it later). Anyway, upon entering the lobby, I had witnessed people having afternoon tea so I decided that I needed to try it!
Before I proceed, I just wanted to clarify the difference between afternoon tea & high tea. The two terms are used interchangeably but they really shouldn’t be!! Afternoon tea or low tea is more of a snack from 3-5PM (I do go earlier than that as more of a late lunch type of thing) but high tea is more of a light dinner between 5-7PM. There’s always a hot dish that is served with it as opposed to just finger sandwiches, scones and petit fours. Anyway, a lot of places that offer tea are usually offering afternoon tea not high tea. From the looks of it, the only place in Toronto that offers high tea is MoRoCo Chocolat. Many places offer different types of afternoon tea – of course – that range from basically just tea, or tea with scones, or a full afternoon tea. Even then, there’s afternoon tea that comes with champagne or other extras but at the end of the day, it’s not to be referred to as high tea. Thank you.
The lobby lounge at the Shangri-La was quite beautiful. Probably one of the better lobbies I’ve seen. There was a fish pond and a bird cage by the door with real fish & a bird. (I can’t personally vouch for this as I did not see the bird nor the fishes but my friend said he did see a bird in the cage)
For afternoon tea, you have a menu of tea to choose from which is a separate cost to the tier of finger sandwiches, scones & petit fours. The tea ranges from $15 – $80 a pot. $80 for tea alone. I opted for the Snow Maple (white tea), while my friend got the Dark Assam black tea for the discerning palate. (If you ask me, that just about describes him)
I was a bit surprised at the order of the tier. Usually it’s dessert, scones, then finger sandwiches at the bottom. This one came as scones, sandwiches then dessert. We quickly switched it around to sandwiches, scones, then dessert which actually makes the most sense, if you ask me.
For the sandwiches, we had egg, cucumber and ham. I did not try the ham sandwich so I can’t really say but the other two were good. Nothing particularly spectacular about them.
The scones were good as well. After going to afternoon tea several times, one learns not to a) eat more than one scone (which wasn’t a problem here since there was the only one scone), or not to eat the whole thing.
Which was a good idea since there was a bunch of desserts to choose from! This is the first time I’ve eaten them all, minus the chocolate mousse. I cannot give you the actual names of the dessert but they were pretty much mini banana bread, carrot cake, blueberry muffin, and pumpkin pie! We were waiting for quite sometime for the server to come around to tell us what they were – so while waiting, we just guessed. The pumpkin pie was actually really good, and I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie! The carrot cake was missing nuts and there was something different about the icing. My friend would say, it was missing that “Christmas-y” feel. It was ok. The blueberry “muffin” was also quite good, crunchy but soft. And finally the banana bread was also good.
The reason why I like afternoon tea is the whole experience. Food can be great, and the atmosphere/venue could also be great but if the servers are inattentive or if they’re not knowledgeable in what they’re serving then it detracts from the whole afternoon tea package.
I need to revisit the Park Hyatt, Four Seasons, and Fairmont Royal York to get better pictures!
Hotel information below:
188 University Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario, M5H 0A3, Canada