I had bought one of those online coupon last year for Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Since the coupon was going to expire, I dragged out some of my classmates after class for a relaxing late lunch. We had a hard time finding where we were supposed to go because when I phoned in for a reservation, it was the Griffins restaurant. The tea area is actually behind the lounge! It was a small area, but very classy.
The table setting was gorgeous. Everyone’s’ cups, saucers and plates all matched. There were sugar, honey and milk/cream for the teas. We had a small table for four people and so I wasn’t really expecting flowers on the table, but the orchid was a really nice touch.
We got a beaten down menu of teas, and chose the 1907 Centennial blend, Ice wine, Bengal tiger and Lapsang teas. I have to say that I liked mine the best (1907 Centennial blend), it was not too mild but not as intense as the Bengal tiger or the Lapsang, it tasted better with the honey than the sugar in my opinion. The Ice wine tea was quite sweet and fruity tasting, this one tasted better with the sugar because the honey added a different flavour to the tea and made it taste a bit weird. The Bengal tiger tea was very intense, my classmate mentioned that it smells like incense or a church. Well, it tasted like how it smelt, which was definitely not what my taste buds liked. I tried adding sugar and honey and milk but it didn’t improve the flavour. The final tea which was the Lapsang was very smoky as well, but much more better tasting than the Bengal tiger. This tea worked best as is, without the sugar or milk.
Since the table was quite small, we got two extra side tables to hold the tiers of goodies. There was at least one of each item for each of us, which was good because then we got to try everything!
So we started off at the top tier. This held the savoury and sweet items. For the savoury items, there were brie and ham croissant sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches on whole wheat, smoked salmon pin-wheels, and curried chicken on a spinach leaf on a slice of baguette. My favourite was the croissant sandwiches because I am very partial to brie cheese. It was still nice and warm when I bit into it, so the brie was a bit melt-y. The cucumber sandwiches had bitter bite from the arugula that was also present but the cream cheese rounded off the flavour so that it was very pleasant. One of my classmates really enjoyed the smoked salmon pin-wheel but I found them tasty but not very interesting because the bread and the smoked salmon had the same consistency. If I had more than one I might not have liked it as much. The curried chicken really tasted like curry, but it wasn’t spicy and was a bit sweet actually. It was good but not my favourite. For desserts, we had lemon meringue, chocolate cupcake with raspberry cream, and an éclair. The lemon meringue was a bit of a disappointment, I didn’t like it because the crust was too thick. The éclair was also nothing special. BUT, the chocolate cupcake was good! The cream was a bit sweet, but if you got a bite of the cake, cream and raspberry, oh, it was so yummy!
The bottom tier had the raisin scones, strawberries, Devonshire cream and strawberry jam. I liked the scones, but they weren’t as moist or as soft as I had hoped for. It was improved when I put on the cream and jam but it was just ok. The strawberries also didn’t have much flavour, in fact, I thought that they tasted a bit weird, perhaps because they may not have been ripe. We had two scones each and two or three slices of the strawberries.
Overall, the food was decent, and the service was ok. The servers did not come around very often, we only got our teas refilled once, and there was a wait to get the bill. The gratuity was automatically added on at 15% and after taxes, came up to be a little bit more than $30 after using the coupons. I probably won’t come back unless there is a special occasion, because I think for the original price ($36 per person), it is wayyyy too expensive for what you get.