For my friend, M’s birthday, we all went out for high tea. It was something that we’d always wanted to do, but never set a date to do it. So for her birthday (which so happens to be the same as my birthday too!), we ventured to the Windsor Arms Hotel for tea. Prices are as follows:
Mon-Fri – $38/person
Sat-Sun – $45/person
Holiday times (including the whole month of Dec) – $50/person
There’s also a gluten-free menu available as long as a reservation is made at least 24hr in advance.
We were seated in the beautiful Purple Room, which is literally purple. The walls are painted a dark purple, the drapes are a light lilac, and even the dark purple velvet chairs match the walls. There’s a beautiful fireplace against the back wall which I’m told is original and still working.
Christmas decor up already too
I thought it was pretty cute to see Christmas ornaments hanging from the chandelier. It gives it a merry touch, doesn’t it?
Individual tea pot and beautiful cup and saucer
Once we were seated, we were presented with menus. For my tea, I picked passion and envy, a passion fruit infused green tea. I liked how each person had their own individual pot of tea, and the pots are fairly large themselves. Each person also had their own cup and matching saucer, as well as a tea strainer and little metal holder for the strainer to go in. My tea needed to steep longer than everyone else’s tea, but once it was ready, I poured it through the strainer into the cup. Then I lifted the strainer and set it aside in the little metal holder. The strainer did a fairly good job catching the tea leaves, but some of the leaves managed to sneak through the little holes. My tea had a fruity aroma to it and was slightly bitter. Frequently during tea, our waiter would come by and ask if we wanted more hot water for our teas.
The 3-tiered tea tower
Everything was brought out on this 3-tiered rack, with each plate bearing something different. Each tower had enough for two people.
Mini quiche with goat cheese
The first thing we had was mini quiche with goat cheese. It’s not pictured above because our waiter had plated this for us as soon as he set the towers down. The quiche were warm with a flaky crust. The goat cheese gave it a good savoury taste. Too bad this was so small. Two bites and it was gone!
Freshly baked scones
The bottom tier contained two kinds of freshly baked scones: blackberry and lemon. They were served with homemade strawberry preserves, homemade mixed berry preserves, and Devonshire cream. Each person gets one of each scone, for a total of two large scones (they were bigger than the size of my fist!). They were a little dense as scones are, delicious on their own and even better when you added the preserves or Devonshire cream. I think my favourite was the Devonshire cream, but when layered with one of the preserves, just awesome.
Cute little rolled up sandwiches
There’s three types of rolled up sandwiches here, and each one you can tell used white bread with out the crust. The bottom left of the picture is a cucumber with sundried tomato paste with dill cream cheese. The sundried tomato was the prominent flavour and the cucumber had a nice crunch to it. The bottom right of the picture is grilled chicken with Granny Smith apple citrus mayonnaise, greek yogurt and chives. I definitely tasted the sweetness of the apple and a bit of the greek yogurt, but not much of the chicken. There’s a decent amount of chicken in the sandwich, but in terms of flavour, not much oomph. At the top of the picture is a row of my favourite, smoked salmon with wasabi sour cream and salmon caviar. You can definitely taste the smoked salmon here, although no wasabi that I could detect. Having salmon caviar to top it off was a nice touch as each one “explodes” in your mouth for an added flavour. If I could choose, more of the smoked salmon and sundried tomato please!
The top tier had petit fours, a set of four mini desserts. By this time, G and I were pretty full and we only managed to eat three of these. The top was a large raspberry macaroon. The right was a very light and fluffy strawberry cheesecake with gold flecks on top. The left was a mini chocolate cupcake with some cherry flavouring, whipped cream, and three small chocolate candies on top. The flavour is very reminiscent of black forest cake. The bottom we did not try, but one of our friends did said it was a rich, chocolate ganache centre, with the raspberry and gold flakes on top. I’m told it’s not too sweet either.
The other petit fours
This was the petit fours from our friend’s tower. The cheesecake and mini cupcake were the same. The front two were different. One looks like a multi-layer cake to which M could only “mmmmmm!!!” in response. The one on the right was another chocolate ganache centre that wasn’t too sweet.
What a beautiful place for tea! The team room is unfortunately a bit small as there are quite a lot of tables crammed into a small space. It is fairly easy to get into an animated conversation and then realize you may be speaking too loudly. The food was very good and the desserts were beautiful too. And with their extensive tea list, there’s bound to be a tea for everyone. I definitely want to come back for high tea with the Mr.
Windsor Arms Hotel
18 St Thomas St,