- The Entrée:
- The Side/Drinks:
- The Atmosphere:
Just over the summer, my buddy and I went on a grand ol’ adventure in the UK. It was a lot of fun travelling to London, Edinburgh (pronounced Ed-in-bra), and Glasgow. We went from castle to castle, admired the beautiful (and not so beautiful) men in kilts, and drank lots of tea (and by lots of tea I mean LOTS of tea). I must of have had at least 10 cups a day. We even took time out during our trip to go to Harrods in London for their world famous afternoon tea. It was quite delightful. Who knew the English cared so much about their tea that they kept the quality of the local water in mind when selecting their leaves?
|Windsor Arms Hotel
18 St. Thomas St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3E7
Long story short, I was very excited when I got the chance to relive my little adventure again in a small way at the local Windsor Arms Hotel with my travel buddy. I’m going to confess. I’m a big group-purchase coupon fiend. I love a good deal. So just before Christmas I purchased a good deal – Afternoon Tea for Two at the Windsor Arms Hotel for $48. The regular price is $30 person plus tax and tips.
The Hotel is tucked away on a cozy side street amidst the swank stores on Bloor, quite close to the ROM. The Hotel is small but elegant, with a regal feel and just the right amount of stuffiness. The lobby itself was quite small and the tea room was just left of the front door. The tea room was comfortably decorated. There were cushy purple couches and elegant chairs to sit on. In the corner was an adorable hat rack covered in an assortment of eclectic English hats. I heard from someone who had also had afternoon tea there that you can actually ask to borrow those to enhance your English experience… well, I’ll leave that up to you.
The Afternoon Tea menu includes one selection of tea per person, an assortment of tiny sandwiches, a couple scones and four little desserts called the “petits fours”. There were many teas to choose from – fruity ones, dark ones, light ones… I chose the house breakfast blend because I wanted to compare it to the tea I drank the most of in England. The meal started with the tea, then came the tower of goodies. The tea was a good decent blend, but I suppose it’s fair to say that it wasn’t quite as robust and full flavoured as the tea I had at Harrods. The hot starter was a goat cheese and caramelized shallot tart. This was yummy and the goat cheese wasn’t too overpowering. It was a good balance of flavours. The sandwiches were small and dainty, rolled like sushi. One of the sandwiches was smoked salmon and wasabi sour cream with salmon caviar. I liked them and appreciated that they included a little Eastern nod. I have to admit though the saltiness of the salmon caviar completely overpowered the other flavours within the tiny sandwich. I actually didn’t know that there was any wasabi in there until I looked at the menu again after! The other two sandwiches were cucumber with sundried tomato paste and dill cream cheese and grilled chicken and granny smith apples citrus mayonnaise, Greek yogurt & chives. Both were simple and good although all together not very memorable. The scones were light and fluffy. The petits fours were, in my opinion, the highlight of the tea. They served a brownie with little white globular cookie bits on it – rich and moist – perfect. There was also a raspberry cheesecake and a red velvet cake – both were delectable. I regretfully have to admit though that neither of us actually got to the tiny meringue tart with the perfectly shaped cool-whip-commercial-ready top. Gosh, I wish I could twirl food that well.
The tea ended with a cup of fresh strawberries and cream and well, what can I say? It was yummy, but strawberries and cream always is.
Overall, our server was very friendly, polite, and helpful. The management not so much. I was a little disappointed when one of the supervisors or managers was snarkily correcting the hostess in front of the guests as she was politely trying to serve us. Untasteful. Better form to train your staff behind closed doors, especially in a hotel whose reputation rests on elegance and class.
Would I recommend a visit? Yes, with a coupon, it was a pleasant experience and this is a nice and comfortable place for afternoon tea. It’s a great place to have a girl’s afternoon out and I would recommend this place as a great first time afternoon tea experience. It’s not too stuffy. Would I come back again without a coupon? Probably not, I love the chairs but I’d opt to try other options in Toronto first. To be fair, though, my only point of comparison was a trip to the best place for afternoon tea in the world.
The Damage: $48 plus 15% tips (for two) with Group Discount Deal