Afternoon Tea at the Secret Garden Tea Company

To celebrate my best friend’s birthday, me and a few other friends went out for afternoon tea at the Secret Garden Tea Company located in Kerrisdale, on West Boulevard and West 40th ave.

We went for the High Tea option which was $26.95 pp but then came out to be about $35
pp after tax and tip. Not very cheap, but it was pretty good. Each of us had a different set of cup and saucer. It was kind of neat to see the different designs, and some of them were quite elegant. The one I had is pictured on the right. We started off by ordering our tea. There was many choices of black, green and herbal teas, and if you wanted to try a sample, there were some available near their merchandise section. Also, if you wanted to bring home the tea you tried and loved, it is also possible to buy it by the bag. I chose the Buckingham Palace which was marked in their menu as a best-seller. It is a black tea that had both Earl Grey & Jasmine flavours. I loved this tea because it was very fragrant, and even though you can taste the bergamot from the Earl Grey portion, the jasmine definitely was there and the taste and fragrance wasn’t jumbled. Some of my other favourites that my friends picked included the Secret Garden’s Secret (the fruity flavour has been bugging me because it tastes so familiar!) and the Wild Strawberry Green. There was a choice of cream or milk to accompany the tea, and to sweeten the teas there was a pretty little bowl of sugar cubes at the centre of the table.

Since all of us had picked our own individual teas, we each had a pot and the table got quite crowded! We had to shift around our tea pots when the tiers of nibbles arrived. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of food. It was enough to be considered as a light dinner if only there was not so many sweet items.

Let’s start at the bottom tier with the savoury sandwiches. The egg salad rolls in the centre were my least favourite because they didn’t taste like egg. The bread itself was nice and soft, however, that was all I tasted. Adding pepper helped but I would have preferred it if there was a little bit more egg. Around the outside was the croissants with a turkey and cranberry relish. This was very good when I had my second one. My first had too much cranberry relish and not enough turkey resulting in it being too tart. When there was equal amounts, it turned out to be a favourite. Separating the croissants were another sandwich, I forgot to take down the name of the bread but it was filled with ham and brie. This combination was absolutely divine! I loved the brie and the ham together, and they were in perfect harmony from the first bite to the last unlike my first try with the croissant sandwiches.

The next tier up had cranberry scones and a sweet tasting bread. I forgot what the flavour was. I ate these with the jam and Devonshire cream. The Devonshire cream was very
good, it tasted something between whipping cream and unsalted butter. Unfortunately, according to my nutritionist friend, it is also has a very high fat content (above 50%!). Shocking…. but that still didn’t deter us from loading it on. The scones according to another friend is one of the best in the city. They are perfectly moist inside and delightful to eat on their own. They were slightly sweet because of the sugar granules on the top of the scones. I keep on thinking the other bread is like banana bread, but I’m sure it wasn’t banana. This was good too, the bread was soft and when I added the Devonshire cream on top, I thought I died and went to heaven.

Finally, the top tier! This tier contained all the desserts. The cakes with the icing snowflake
had mango mousse and gingerbread. The yellow icing underneath the snowflake was also mango flavoured, and I think it was buttercream. I enjoyed having the gingerbread flavour mixed with the mango because it was a new combination that I never heard of… and it works!  Beside the cakes were the milk chocolate panna cotta which I found to be too rich and sweet. There was cream on top of it with a pistachio chocolate and mint leaf. I took a bite of this and passed it over to my friend (actually traded her for another one of those yummy ham and brie mini sandwiches). The middle dessert was a lemon tart. This was my favourite dessert. I love lemon because after you feel full, it really gives a clean and refreshing feeling. I felt much better after eating this and was really glad that I had it last.

The service was wonderful with the waitress being very attentive. We had a small issue when my friend may have gotten the wrong tea (the waitress said the wrong tea name) but it was cleared up quickly. There was a lot of people when we went (on a Saturday) but the atmosphere was not too noisy even though it was quite lively. After our tea, we browsed around their merchandise area and bought some small tea related items to bring home such as a cute rubber ducky tea infuser. The price for high tea was a bit steep, but we did end up very full and I didn’t need to eat dinner afterwards. They do have other options which are cheaper but come with less items.

Lastly, if anyone knows the what the fruity flavour of the Secret Garden’s Secret is, please tell me because it’s been bugging me since I tasted it. Thanks :D

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