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Windsor Arms Hotel – Afternoon Tea

The Urban Craze
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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
(416) 971-9666

windsorarmshotel.com

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

 

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About the author

Denice

Best possible description of Denice? I am your neighbour with a healthy dose of curiousity and a (questionably) unhealthy dose of persistence. An old soul - driven by passion, sustained by love. The way to my heart is through my stomach.

8 Comments

  1. Shirley
    May 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I went today and the scones were the best that I’ve ever had…so far.

    Good service, great selection of tea. I went with 3 other people and we couldn’t finish quite a bit of food and ended up taking home a good amount of food for another afternoon tea session for one.


  2. denice
    May 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Yes, when we went we had to pack our scones home too!
    What kinds of tea did you choose? What would you recommend?


    • Shirley
      June 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      I can’t recall what I chose but the one that really stood out was “Black & Blue.” A black tea infused with blueberries and other ingredients that brought out the flavour and scent of the berries. It was incredibly aromatic and my dad who traditionally drinks traditional Chinese teas really fell in love with it. And we all enjoyed it as well.


      • denice
        June 7, 2012 at 7:26 pm

        Mmmmm! That sounds yummy!

        Have you tried any other places that have afternoon tea here in Toronto? Is there a place you’d suggest I try?


  3. Vivian
    June 2, 2012 at 1:20 am

    I love windsor armssss ~~ I even wrote a review on it too ~ I am a dessert lover and hightea lover ~


  4. denice
    June 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Vivian! Is Windsor Arms your favourite afternoon tea place? Is there any other place you’d recommend? I’d love to drop by more places around the city!


  5. Christine Korda
    January 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Denice,

    Thank you for joining us for afternoon tea and writing this wonderful review.

    We look forward to welcoming you back in the very near future – maybe for our Twilight tea…you can view the menu here:http://www.windsorarmshotel.com/tearoom/twlight_tea_menu

    Regards,

    Christine Korda
    Director Communications & Special Events
    Windsor Arms Hotel
    18 St. Thomas Street
    Toronto, On M5S 3E7


    • Denice
      January 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Hi Christine – I’m glad that you enjoyed our write up. I most certainly love afternoon tea. Our team would love to come visit you all again sometime. If you would like to arrange something, please feel free to send me an email at denice@theurbancraze.com

      Cheers,
      Denice


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