Over a week ago, I received a notification on my WordPress dashboard indicating that Foodie had replied to one of my comments on her recent blog post. Foodie blogged about her visit to The Urban Tea Merchant. After reading her reply, it reminded me that I’ve been there twice and still have yet to blog about my visits. And so.. here we are…
Sometime last April, I joined some friends for afternoon tea. Although the day started out a bit cloudy and cold, the afternoon was beautiful and sunny. I arrived at The Urban Tea Merchant around the same time as my friends. We looked around the tea shop for a few minutes until the server was ready to take us to the tea room.
After reading the pages and pages of available tea options, I randomly picked a green tea. It was the Paris-Singapore Tea: As described on the tea store’s website, the Paris-Singapore Tea is a “… distinguished TWG green tea enhanced with fragrant cherry blossoms and red fruits. A sensual and sweet tea of reminiscence.” While they prepared and served the tea, we had a look at the menu options. Some were not very hungry and they chose the $28 Petite Tea Service. I was starving after my morning run and opted for the $38 Westcoast Tea Service.
The Petite Tea Service was served on a three-tier curate stand. There were a few varieties of sandwiches (cucumber and watercress, curried egg salad and glazed ham) , a chicken cone and a few sweet items. It looks like they even included a scone in the mix
I was a little disappointed that my Westcoast Tea Service was served on a flat plate. It loses that afternoon tea feel to it without the three-tier curate stand. If I remember correctly, the server said it was a contemporary style of serving afternoon tea. *shrug* Oh well… although we’re paying towards the presentation style, it really is the food that matters.
Of all the savoury items, my favourite was the miso-maple glazed sable fish in butter lettuce. Not only was it the first item that I tried but it was the one that was most pleasing. The chicken salad on the spoon was pretty good too. I’m not a big fan of raw tuna so the tuna tataki was not high on my list. My favourite dessert item was the tea-infused macaron. I don’t remember what the flavour was but it was a good way to end off the tea service. (Yes, I saved it to the end.)
Fast forward half a year, I was visiting with L and J one September evening. I was chatting with J about my eating adventures. J mentioned that she had not been to afternoon tea yet and wanted to go. She was also due to go back to work after maternity leave in the next couple of weeks. Not wanting to run into scheduling difficulties, we arranged to go for afternoon tea that weekend.
I considered several afternoon tea locations in and around the Vancouver area. As we were taking L and J’s 1 year-old daughter with us, I suggested going to The Urban Tea Merchant. Most of the other tea rooms that I had dined at in Vancouver were nicely decorated with breakable teapots and cups. The seating was also quite tight — not ideal for a 1 year-old. The tea room at The Urban Tea Merchant is quite spacious and separate from the storefront.
J, J’s daughter and I went for a very early tea service (before noon). We decided to try a bit of everything and ordered the Signature Tea Service ($48).
Compared to the $38 menu, the $48 menu had many more savoury and dessert items. I was happy to see the tea service was served on the three-tier curate stand and was hoping the sable fish would be on the $48 menu. Unfortunately, it was not part of the line up. From this savoury plate, my favourite was the chicken cone.
J’s daughter was really good for a 1 year-old. She sat through over an hour of tea time before wanting her mommy to carry her around. J was able to enjoy most of the savouries and we packed the rest of the desserts to go. Although we weren’t able to finish the entire tea service there, we returned to L and J’s, boiled some more tea and unpacked the desserts for tea time part two.