1128 Georgia Street West, Vancouver (Map)
Price: Expensive ($34)
Afternoon tea is really the perfect activity for girlfriends to meet up and catch up, and that was exactly what we did. Because of certainly event, J had decided to treat us girls to some nice afternoon tea. After a short discussion, we decided to try the afternoon tea at Shangri-la because of the good reviews.
The Shangri-la's lobby lounge was nicer and more intimate than the one at Fairmont Pacific Rim. It actually felt like a proper upscale restaurant. To make the place even better, they had live music. The pianist of the day was great, and he certainly upgraded the overall ambiance.
Here at the Shangri-la, they did not have the actual tea for us to see and smell, so we had to choose base on the description. The tea I chose was called Heaven and Earth: mildly tart Sencha with strawberry and kiwi. I got to say, this tea was great. The flavor was smooth without that usual tartness from the fruit. It was tasted even better with a bit of rock sugar to add a touch of sweetness. The one thing I really liked was the strainer they provided with each cup to prevent tea bits from falling in.
When they brought out the food, they informed us that their afternoon tea menu changes often. In celebration of Chinese New Years (I went in Feb.), their Feb. Afternoon tea is Chinese cuisine inspired. One look at the 1st and 2nd tier, it is indeed very much Chinese inspired.
As always, the scone was was buttery and soft. It was only slightly warm. I think if it was served warmer, it would have help the devonshire cream and jam to really sink into the scone. There were definitely good, but certainly not the best I've tried.
Although it looks like there were only 2 sandwich, but the one in front is actually 3 small sandwiches stuck together: pickled Cucumber with cream cheese, pacific candied salmon and roast beef. The consensus was that they were pretty blend, and did not stand out. However, the egg salad croissant certainly did. The croissant was buttery and flaky, and the moisture from the egg salad help to held it all together. The combined flavor was just perfect. This was by far my favorite of the day.
The next layer was definitely the Chinese inspired canapes. We had:
Chive crepe with Japanese Eggplant: this was really mushy/cold and tasted like left overs.
Char Sui Profiterole: basically a small puff with small bits of Char Sui.
Chicken and Wonton Salad: this was mostly soy sauce flavor.
To be honest, none of us really liked this layer, it was just average or even below average.
Last but not least the dessert layer:
Osmanthus flower and goji berry jelly: I was really excited to try this, as I love the smell/flavor of the Osmanthus flower, but unfortunately the flavor was too light. So basically it just a slightly sweet jelly, and nothing special.
Opera cake: This would be a dark ganache cake. I like the slight bitterness to balance out the sweet layer.
Sesame ball: this was not good at all. The ball was really hard, and it had no fillings. I think I had better ones at Chinese Buffet restaurants.
Service here was great. The waitress was super attentive and patient. She explained each and every item. Ambiance was the best out of all the ones I've tried (Fish House, Fleuri, Adonia, Fairmont, Provence). Unfortunately it was just the food that was disappointing. Personally I think it's because all of us are Asian, and thus had much better Chinese food else where. So in the end, I still do recommend checking out the Afternoon Tea at the Shangri-La, just don't go in February if you are Chinese. :P