Will being English, he wanted to experience the Empress Hotel's High
Tea and I can't blame him. We also thought Samuel might enjoy the
Well, returning after 20 years, it has changed a bit and while the
"meal" itself is tasty and quite filling, it is really way too pricey
at $60 per person plus tax and tip!
In the summertime Victoria is jammed and reservations are a must; tea
runs from like noon to 5pm, so there are plenty of spaces. Service
ain't what it used to be, and we were constantly pouring our own tea
(hot chocolate for Samuel, which was boring and wimpy).
There are many tea leaf options, and while Will chose Earl Grey, I
have to say the Empress blend of Assam & Kenyan is quite excellent;
they even give you a complimentary box of it to take away (well, for
$60, they should give you a whole shopping bag full).
As you sit down, a small bowl of fresh strawberries with whipped cream
is plopped in front of you; Will kept wondering where the clotted
cream of dear old England was!
The three tiered tea tray arrived with sandwiches of SMOKED SALMON
PINWHEEL, Mango & CURRIED CHICKEN, HAM & CUCUMBER with Tarragon Mayo,
Free Range EGG SALAD Croissant and a Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade on
Kids are allowed the same tea at 1/2 price, which is a deal, but
Samuel opted for the Prince/Princess Tea which had some more kid-
friendly sandwiches, which he really didn't care for anyway.
Our middle level of the tea tray had the always present SCONE with
"Empress Cream" and Strawberry Jam, not a touch on clotted cream, for
sure (the Canadians love the phrase "for sure"). The top tray had
pastries: LEMON Curd Tartlet, Chocolate & Pistachio BATTENBURG CAKE,
Sable BRETON & PEAR CHEESE CAKE, Chocolate Shortbread and a Parisian-
style Macaroon, a highlight of the sweets.
If you seek the "tea experience," I would recommend many other places
before spending the big bucks at the Empress, as I said, it ain't what
it used to be!