Prince of Wales Afternoon Tea - review and pics
I've always found something about Afternoon Tea to be fascinating. Is it the idea of enjoying too many sweets guilt free? Or idea of lazily spending an hour or two and loosing track of time, not worrying about outside world? Is it the thought of a meal between meals? Maybe it's a feeling of belonging to the past, being part of our history... I don't know what it is, but Full Afternoon Tea was something that I never tried and always wanted to experience. The closest I came to it was a Sweet Tea at Windsor in England a few years ago.
Last weekend I found myself in Niagara-on-the-Lake at 4 o'clock and very hungry because not only I missed lunch, but I also didn't have any breakfast. So, Afternoon Tea at Prince of Wales hotel seemed like a logical place to be.
The experience was amazing. Yes, the service could be better. Yes, some of the sandwiches were a little on a simple side. But overall everything was great! The decor of the room was particularly inspiring and added so much to that little meal. The room was luxurious: many tables in every corner with different set of chairs for each, soft plushy sits, white table cloths, red royal carpet - it felt like I am in an Agatha Christie book.
Another interesting touch was fresh roses in the middle of a very cold winter. They were everywhere - huge bouquets in vases, delicate arrangements, lonely stems on every table.
Regular Afternoon Tea has a lot to offer and I am glad that I didn't have lunch that day.
Let's start with the bottom tier. There were four different types of sandwiches (from left to right): a nice ham and cheese sandwich, egg salad sandwich, it was a little bit underseasoned, but not too bad, classic cucumber sandwich with a twist in the form of cumin, and a pinwheel salmon sandwich with a really nice flavour added by dill, nice and light.
The middle layer had scones and chocolate cheesecake. The cake was really good. I like my cheesecakes to be on the dense side, and this one was exactly that way. Not too creamy, dense with very intense chocolate and cheese flavours - very nicely executed.
The scones were served with butter, real clotted cream and jam.
The scones deserve a separate praise! They were soft, fluffy, airy and very much like yeast pastries and not like standard scones. They were absolutely amazing with a little bit of butter, some clotted cream and jam... Artery clogging heaven!
The top level had two pastries and a cookies. There was a raspberry mousse, which was a little too dense for a mousse, but still quite light and flavourful. A little eclair with coffee cream was really nice, the filling was soft with a strong but not overwhelming coffee taste and the pastry was light and dry, not soggy from the filling. The cookie was a shortbread cookie with chocolate shavings, it was very crumbly like a shortbread is supposed to be, but it was too plain and nothing special (or maybe I was just too full at that point).
We also made a mistake of ordering cheese plates with our teas. Cheeses were ok, not spectacular, but not a regular cheese cube variety. They were good cheeses, but two plates of them was just way too much. The grapes that were served with the cheeses weren't too fresh and I should have removed them from the plate for the picture. There was also a basket of different crackers served with the cheeses. On the plate there was an old, strong, crumbly Chedder, very buttery and super creamy triple cream Brie, pungent Oka and spicy Roquefort.
This whole Afternoon Tea took over an hour. We talked, discussed the food, savoured the clotted cream and soaked in the rays of sun coming through the windows. I wouldn't mind if somehow this mound of sweets and sandwiches miraculously appeared every weekend on my table. I think it's a wonderful tradition - Afternoon Tea, when you can sit back, relax and just for a moment forget about every worry in your life.
Well, it was my first meal after I had a dinner at Splendido, so this might have tainted my expectency in terms of service... We were there at around 4 pm which is an odd time and we had to wait a few minutes before someone actually approached us. Once they noticed us everything was fine. The lady was very friendly and nice, she smiled a lot, she came over a few times to ask us if everything's fine. Another sour note was that she didn't explain the food right away, I had to ask her for the explanation of everything. Once asked she was very knowledgeable. She took our coats in the beginning and brought them back at the end. So, the service was ok except for waiting in the beginning and not explaining everything right away.