Writing last week’s post on afternoon tea at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s 900 West Lounge triggered another “food adventure with V” memory.
Early last year, V and I went on a weekend getaway (aka food trip) to Victoria. There were a couple of “must go to” places on our list. First and foremost was Pagliacci’s which I rave about every time I mention pasta and Victoria in the same sentence. V and I had also talked about going for afternoon tea in Victoria. While I know most people will probably think of The Empress first, I was keen on trying another place.
My friend, L, had once told me about the wonderful experience he had at a place called White Heather Tea Room. He highly recommended the place to me and so that bit of information was stored away in my mind for years. Luckily V was cool with the idea of trying out this place and we added that to our list. As I was organizing the “must go to” food places on our list, I was delighted to find online afternoon tea menus for White Heather. I read that reservations are strongly recommended so I made sure to call a week before our trip to book our table.
White Heather is on Oak Bay Avenue in Victoria and located outside of the downtown core. V and I spent our morning/afternoon walking around downtown and then going to Miniature World. By the time we headed over for afternoon tea, the clouds that were lingering over the city had finally enough decided to open up and release the rains. Luckily V and I had no plans of walking the 3.5 kilometres to get there (Google maps suggests it’s a 45 minute walk). We took a taxi to arrive at our destination and were greeted with nicely pressed white linens on orderly set tables decorated with a variety of floral tea cups and saucers.
We were surprised that there were no other guests in the tea room. Not a bad thing at all. In fact to me, that was a pleasant surprise. V and I were able to have our own private and relaxing tea party without having to book out the entire tea room. We were able to get a nice spacious table by the window and we had the pick of the room for floral tea cups and saucers. V has a good eye for art and other such pretty things so when she requested to swap her tea cup and saucer for a pretty floral one at the next table, I quickly piped up and asked to do the same. The cup and saucer originally before me ended up being swapped with another set somewhere across the room. I think it was worth the swap… what do you think of the pretty tea cup below?
I must admit that I cannot remember what tea was ordered. I remember there was a great selection to choose from and the decision had been difficult. In fact, I cannot even remember if we went for “The Not So Wee Tea” or “The Big Muckle Giant Tea for Two.” My guess would be the latter since our little sandwiches, scones and desserts were served on a three-tier tray.
Perhaps it was because we were the only table in the tea room that afternoon, but the service was fabulous. The servers were really attentive and our tea and food came out really quickly. The friendly server went over what was on each level of the three-tiered stand and then disappeared leaving V and myself to enjoy our leisurely tea without feeling self-conscious of being watched.
There was so much food on that three-tier tray. The assortment of sandwiches, desserts and scones were tasty and fresh. I don’t recall having a favourite item because everything tasted amazing. I wish I had been able to eat more as we ended up packing some of it to go. Eating it later just doesn’t do the packed items justice.
Unlike The Empress, White Heather doesn’t offer the royal experience with the cushy chairs and grand ritual of high tea in a posh downtown hotel. Instead, it offered us a casual yet comfortable atmosphere for enjoying a leisurely afternoon of company, conversation and fresh treats.