My Mom and I have an annual tradition of going out for steak and lobster on her birthday. The past three years this was very convenient because I would be couch surfing at her place this time of year during my visits back from Halifax. It was just easy to hit up The Keg Steakhouse since I was basically relying on her to chauffeur me around during my stays. :)
This year I phoned and asked her if we could do something different. I’m back in Victoria now, she’s only a short road trip away, and neither of us has ever been to The Fairmont Empress for high tea (which is utterly ridiculous considering we are Island girls!).
She agreed! Afternoon Tea is was!
The gorgeous tea room. Our beautiful Victoria harbour view.
The tea time menu is pre-set for the most part (they will accommodate allergies and substitutions if needed). We were surprised by the strawberries and cream that arrived as soon as we were seated.
Since it was a birthday celebration I thought some bubbly was in order. From the champagne cocktail menu I chose a Kir Royale (crème de cassis topped with sparkling wine). Mom stole a few sips of mine. :)
The only real menu choice you have to make during tea time is your actual tea. We kept it simple by opting for the famous Empress Blend.
From their website: “The Empress blend is a selection of seasonal, quality teas, created exclusively for The Fairmont Empress by the Metropolitan Tea Company. With components from Assam (thick malty and full bodied), Kenya (floral-like flavour and a golden coppery infusion), South India (superb fruity and sprightly flavour), Ceylon (airy, almost piquant flavour), and China (burgundy depth with light oaky notes), it is truly one of the finest blends in the world.”
And then our baked goods arrived! Oh.my.yum.
Our server Sam (who has worked at The Empress since 1976!) described each tier of delicious sandwiches, scones, and desserts…instructing us to start at the bottom and work our way up.
We were way too excited about the amazing raisin scones, clotted cream, and strawberry preserves though…and headed straight for tier two to start!
Had we had even a smidge of room left in our bellies at the end of our tea time we would have taken them up on the offer of more sandwiches…the egg salad croissants were deeeeelish!
Oddly enough, although we enjoyed most of the dessert items, we didn’t even finish the offerings. I was pretty enamoured with the Rose Petal Shortbread though…so light, and I loved the sugar coating.
As part of our meal we were each given a box of our tea to take home. Nice touch.
Side note: High tea is a bit pricey, but I recently signed up for the free Friends of the Empress card which gave us 20% off. Quite a deal! :)
After tea I wanted to walk around the grounds and show Mom some of the gardens and views but sadly it started raining just as we stepped outside. We took a few photo opportunities then headed back inside and navigated our way back to the car.
All in all it was a really fun and different way to spend an afternoon. Maybe we’ll make it our birthday tradition from now on!