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High Tea at The Empress Hotel

by Mary
(Victoria, BC)

High tea at the Empress is unsurpassed

High tea at the Empress is unsurpassed

Having High Tea at the Empress has always been a favorite thing to do in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for me.

I am a very big fan of having tea in general, but High Tea at the Empress surpassed all of my expectations. I had the most exclusive teas that tasted so delicious. Their signature tea is absolutely delicious, and I have just run out at home, so I need to go back and get some more.

They served us blueberries covered in Chantilly cream, which was delicious, though very different for me. I'd never had Chantilly cream, everything that was called Chantilly to me was just covered in very sugary whipped cream.

Then came our sandwiches. The mushroom pate was so delicious, my aunt traded it for my smoked salmon sandwich. The cucumber sandwiches were so different than any I had had before but they were a notch above the ones I had had. The one that was my favorite was the mango and curried chicken sandwich, it was so interesting and tasted so good.

Although the sandwiches were amazing, nothing can beat the scone. The scone was perfectly made and the lemon curd and strawberry jam were so delicious. I have never been a big fan of the pastries. The way I make my tea, sweet into a dessert tea, makes the pastries seem a little redundant. However, the pastries made there were very light yet very flavorful. They were very good and I would have to say my favorite was the Lemon curd tart.

The experience I had at the Empress was overall very good; if I was very rich, I would go there every day. The cons of going to the Empress are few but slightly important. The cost is quite high... ours was $60 CAD per person.

Another con is that you can't just walk in. You need to make reservations at least 2 weeks in advance. Also, street clothes won't let you in. I was told to dress smart casual, which could be a problem for some people, especially day tourists. I would definitely recommend going to High Tea at the Empress if you enjoy a good cup of tea and a delicious scone.

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Oct 02, 2011
High Tea at the Empress in Victoria
by: Melinda

Arrived at our reserved time excited to enjoy the fabulous experience of high tea at the Empress(I was informed while making the reservation that they are not held so one must be on time.)

We stood and waited at the entrance for about 10 minutes while two ladies with no reservation discussed staying for tea. Unfortunately there was no seating in this area so I felt a little stressed as I was entertaining an 85 year young companion. Not the most auspicious beginning.

My comments may seem unappreciative but please bear in mind the Empress reputation for high standards and excellence. Certainly the price is a statement to confirm one can safely expect a superb experience. Though a fan of afternoon tea I was disappointed with the experience.

Imported Strawberries for starters. Not a success - no flavour, tart and dry, a couple of withered slices included. BC blueberries are in season and lovely at this time - regret the uninspired and dull strawberries when brilliant local blueberries are in season.

Selection of 5 types of tea sandwiches, all flavourful but looked limp and some crushed, some soggy, one dried out. Not recently enough assembled.

Surprised to be served pork pate - had not been mentioned prior and so an expected choice, unappealing for those who do not eat pig.

Best scone and cream ever. Served with individual jars of strawberry jam imported from Switzerland.

A tasty and pretty variety of cakes,shortbread, tarts and filled chocolate cup. (my opinion - the Empress makes amazing chocolates - my favourite chocolates at the Victoria Chocolate Show)

A selection of teas to choose from. The Empress special blend, described by our waiter as the most expensive blend of ingredients - okay, certainly the flavour did not compete in any fashion with the high tea selection. Assam tea, while slightly more defined, very mild too, suited the menu.

Our waiter topped our tea up several times - my preference is to start with an empty cup, add a dab of milk and one sugar, then add steeped tea to the cup. Disappointed that this was not the Empress way.

A nice little gift box of Empress Special blend tea for each of us to take home.

Loved the live piano musak and the window seat with causeway and harbour view.

Regretted the washroom was up two flights of stairs - my companion could not readily use the facilities. If there was an elevator it was not mentioned when I asked for direction.

Such is an afternoon tea in the lobby of the Empress.

Jan 19, 2009
A Taste of Elegance
by: Craig

High tea at the Empress is one of those perfect Victoria experiences that you just can't get at many other places. It's truly a taste of a different life than most of us live. Well worth doing.

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