I’m definitely a high tea person, especially if you have read my posts on Mandarin Oriental (Hong Kong) and Le Parloir (Montreal). When I first visited Toronto during the spring break, I decided to look up if there’s any good high tea/afternoon tea in Toronto, because I couldn’t find any in Montreal back then.
I came across Windsor Arms Hotel while doing the research. It is listed as one of the best afternoon tea in Toronto by blog TO, therefore, I looked it up, and decided it after seeking for agreement from my friend! From the classy, brick-walled exterior, I was pretty sure that we made the right decision. They have been starting to serve tea since 1927.
Most of the afternoon teas are served from 2 pm to 5 pm. However, the Team Room at Windsor Arms starts at 12:30 pm, therefore we took the advantage of the first service at 12:30 pm, which we enjoyed as lunch. However, for the traditional tea services, the maximum seating is only 2 hours. They also offer “Twilight Tea”, with 2 seatings at 5:30 pm and 5 pm, which is perfect for 9-5’ers.
The dark purple and white decor of the Tea Room makes it elegant, classy, and traditional with comfy armchairs and fireplace. The dark purple furnitures and wall create a modern, classic contrast with the white linens. Each table is well-prepared that all the edges are sharp, and the surfaces are flat.
Once we settled at our table, the waiter explained the tea menu, and took our tea orders. He also provided steeping instructions upon the arrival of the pots. They have an extensive tea menu, but as always, I opted for earl grey with blue flowers, which is earl grey with lavender. Two of my favorite teas together. I had quite a lot of high tea experiences already before visiting, but it was my first time seeing a tea strainer! Hence it was something new for me.
Not long after, the 3-tier tea set is served. When I have high tea, I’m there for the clotted cream (not butter!) and scones, then the sandwiches. I’m not a sweet tooth person, so petite fours aren’t that important to me, but it can’t be bad too. The traditional afternoon tea at Windsor Arms is definitely on the spot, precisely.
The meal started with the mini quiche. The waiter told us to eat that first upon serving, because it was fresh out of the oven. The mini quiche was cheesy, and savory. If I remembered correctly, I think it’s made with goat cheese and caramelized shallots. I loved the scones, and always saved it till the last. These scones are less buttery, which is what I prefer. It’s fluffy and crumbly, perfect with clotted cream and currant/or strawberry jams.
Never seen sandwiches served in this way too. These bite-sized sandwiches rolls are perfect for ladies to eat elegantly. Each bite into the sandwich puts smile on our face. The bread is light and moist. The balance between the cream cheese and filling is perfect. The cream cheese isn’t overpowering. I really liked the smoked salmon with wasabi sour cream and topped with salmon caviar.
As the petite four, there wasn’t any that really stood out, but it wasn’t disappointing too. I always eat the sweets while I made my half way through the sandwiches, so I can end the meal on savory note. I was glad the mini cupcake wasn’t dried though.
Since high tea is all about being elegant, and fancy, Windsor Arms brings it to another level. An assortment of fancy hats are available to touch up your tea experience, in exchange for a $5 donations. This is a collaboration with the Look Good Feel Better program. For more information, look here.
Our waiter was friendly and attentive, which made the experience enjoyable. Though it was almost full house during at noon, conversations were contained at each table, hence there was little distraction. I like to high tea at hotels, especially luxury hotels, because that’s where I can find traditional, and classic high tea. With 87 years of traditional high tea service at the Windsor Arms, you can’t go wrong. It might be pricey, but it’s okay to pamper yourself once in a while, right?
Windsor Arms Hotel
18 St. Thomas Street, Toronto
Tel: +1 (416) 971-9666 (Reservation recommended)