Aside from brunch, afternoon tea is my favourite meal of the day. This summer, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a group of friends who fell in love with high tea!
My friend E planned a girls-only high tea date for her birthday at T-Buds in North Toronto. I’d previously tried this place with Whitney when we bought a Groupon for afternoon tea here a year ago. The greatest advantage that T-Buds has over other high tea places is their huge selection of high quality teas. The finger sandwiches were yummy and the scones were decent. However, the location is quite small and the desserts are nothing special. On the upside, given the small location, they’re able to provide excellent customer service and their afternoon tea is more wallet-friendly compared to other locations in Toronto.
Next, we ventured out to The Old Mill Inn in Etobicoke for high tea and an hour-long photo taking session. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and the sun brought out the stunning ambiance of Old Mill. The desserts in our tea set were wonderful, but the scones and sandwiches were mediocre at best. Unfortunately, there isn’t much selection in terms of tea either. The greatest downfall was the service at Old Mill. I understand it might have been a hectic day, but our waiters seemed annoyed when we asked them to help us take a group photo and additionally, didn’t exactly strive to help us take a good photo when he finally obliged. He had taken 2 photos while we were still getting in position and when we asked him to take it again, he exclaimed, “I already took 2!!” Nevertheless, driving home with a bunch of my girlfriends singing along to Bruno Mars with the windows down, sunroof open, and sun shining through will be remembered as one of the happiest moments of my summer.
Our afternoon tea dates had always been a ladies-only activity, but I finally invited the boys along for tea at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto for my birthday! I’ll be away in Seoul on the actual date of my birthday, so I decided to celebrate a little early with my friends. Our party was quite large, and the hotel had overbooked their afternoon tea already that day, so we were placed on the patio instead of inside the lounge. Luckily, it was another beautiful (although a bit chilly) day. My friends are perpetual late-comers, so although we started choosing our teas before everyone had arrived, the food took quite a while to appear. Most of us had skipped lunch, so we were starving!
We were able to smell their selection of tea before making our choice, which was a nice adventure especially for the boys, who for the most part had not ever experienced afternoon tea before. I thought their scones were the best out of all the other afternoon teas I’d had in Toronto (but this may be because I was so hungry). I loved the presentation of all the finger foods; the expert skill of the chefs was very apparent. The savoury tower was amazing – my favourite being the smoked salmon croissant. The sweet tower looked like it would be delicious, but I found that most of the desserts were too sweet for my taste, except for the fruit tart.
Despite almost doubling the size of my party from the initial reservation and the slow start to our tea, the staff at the Ritz-Carlton were very accommodating and kind. Mary, the Food and Beverage Manager, came by to ask how our experience was and apologize for the delay of the food. I guess we were the last afternoon tea party to leave, because she also gave us extras to bring home!
I don’t usually do big birthday celebrations, but after this year, I’m not so close-minded about it anymore! I felt really lucky to have so many friends celebrating with me, but more than that, I loved watching them enjoy themselves and each others’ company. : )