If you want to enjoy a traditional English high tea, Secret Garden in Kerrisdale is a good place to go for a relaxing afternoon to hang out with the girls while nibbling on sandwiches and sipping hot tea. That was precisely what I did at the end of my summer break.
Upon arrival at Secret Garden, I noticed the crowd of people waiting at the front counter. It was a good thing that JT made reservations for all of us a few days before, otherwise we would probably not get a table!
Secret Garden was very pretty inside; I felt like I had stepped from grey and drab Vancouver straight into a cozy and quaint English tea house.
From how it appeared, Secret Garden has set times for reservations. When it’s time, they seat everybody at the same time rather than seating people when a table frees up like most restaurants. This guarantees that you will have a seat for the time that you reserve for and it also allows the servers to serve freshly prepared food more efficiently.
The table was set with real bone china with pretty floral designs; each one of us got a different design on our teacups. There is only one option of high tea in the afternoon, served on a three-tiered tray. High Tea at Secret Garden Tea Company costs $26.95+tax for adults and $17.95+tax for children 8 and under. First, we can pick a tea from the tea menu to pair with the food. I like to have milk in my tea, so I selected the creamy Earl Grey (one of their bestsellers). Two other people also got that, so it came in a large tea pot. The other people got individual tea pots. All of the pots came with cute tea cozies to keep the tea warm and so we won’t burn our hands.
The server who helped us spoke with a British accent. We were all speculating whether she was really British or was it just a fake accent to make the experience more realistic!
We didn’t have to wait for long after the tea arrived for the food to be served. The three-tiered tray was intricately plated with different delicious morsels. At the bottom tray, there was the savoury food; in the middle tray, scones and loaves; and on the top, desserts.
We started at the bottom and worked our way up:
What I really enjoyed about this layer was the croissant sandwiches and the crackers. The egg salad pinwheel was a little bit bland in my opinion but I’m sure OmNom would enjoy it!
The raspberry jam and Devon cream tasted heavenly with the cakes. This layer was much better than the top layer because it wasn’t too heavy nor too sweet.
Last but not least, the dessert layer on the top. By this time I was already stuffed. Out of all the desserts on this tier, I liked the chocolate brownie the best. I do not really like lemon tart to begin with (too sour)
I liked the bottom tier the best, and the top the least, maybe because I was really full by the time I got to the top tier. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable and tasty experience. The service was impeccable and the server came back often to check up on us and refilled water for the empty tea pots. I would definitely go back again as a special treat. However, It’s much too filling and a bit too pricey to go all the time.
OmNom and FanGirl both informed me that what I was having wasn’t actually “high tea”. The meaning of “high tea” has kind of changed over the years.. Maybe because high tea sounds better and more exclusive than what it actually should be, which is “afternoon tea”.
See the full article here: High Tea vs. Afternoon Tea.