I love tea. I particularly love having tea with friends. I’ve mentioned the Blog Pod that I belong to a few times; these ladies have become a lovely group to get together with, and some of us recently had the opportunity to spend a hygge afternoon enjoying Secret Garden Tea Company‘s High Tea together. One day, all ten of us will be in the same room, but for this day we had me, Karlie, Emily, Po On, Melissa, and Orla.
(*Photo Note: All photos are taken by me unless otherwise credited. Hover for captions. Click to enlarge.)
Located in the beautiful Kerrisdale heritage area of Vancouver, Secret Garden is a local gem that has gone from the small tea room that I remember visiting frequently with my best friend (when she was still living in Canada) when we were in college, to a significantly larger version around the corner. Increasing in square footage hasn’t diminished the charm in any way and has allowed for their well-known fine china collection to grow a fair amount – none of our teacups were the same, which we loved because it made it feel like that much more of a personal experience.
So let’s talk about High Tea. If you’re reading this post, I would hope that you know it’s NOT drinking tea while high. (Though I suppose the accompanying scones and such would come in handy?) I was doing some research, and if we are to be completely and historically accurate, Secret Garden’s offering isn’t High Tea, but Afternoon Tea. It’s really semantics in my mind, but I’ll call it a fancy tea for the rest of this post because you feel fancy when enjoying it!
Did You Know? – When Brits refer to having tea, they usually mean dinner, eaten between 5-7pm. (This is where High Tea would come in, but I feel like this additional tidbit’s details will confuse things – so we won’t get into that…) And when referring to the lovely hot beverage that you and I enjoy, it’s worded in the way of having a cup of or a ‘cuppa’. It’s something I’ve always found a tad confusing. My Brit calls dinner supper or dinner, so thank goodness for that.
What is important is that you know that an Afternoon or fancy tea involves a pot of hot tea beverage of your choice, and a three-tiered serving tray of scrumptious and savoury mini sandwiches, and sweet treats like fruit scones, tarte au sucre and chocolate zucchini tea cake – all handcrafted by their pastry chefs. Oh, and there’s the mandatory components of raspberry jam and Devonshire cream. Dairy sensitivity be damned, I LOVE Devonshire cream. (Also sometimes known as the less romantically named clotted cream.)
Beverage-wise, we all seem to be Earl Grey fans (of which Secret Garden has many an option), but Karlie broke our pattern and got something different off the tea menu – phew!:
- Yasmine – Buckingham Palace (A best selling Earl Grey variant with Jasmine)
- Karlie – Vanilla Almond
- Orla – Creamy Earl Grey (A best seller!)
- Emily – Lavender Earl Grey
- Po On – Lavender Earl Grey
- Melissa – Creamy Earl Grey
A fancy tea tends to be priced quite high and is definitely something you are treating yourself to. For example, Victoria Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Empress Hotel goes for $75 CAD (plus tax) per person, and their Champagne Tea is a very specific $108 CAD (plus tax) to have it accompanied with some Veuve Cliquot. From experience, I can tell you that Secret Garden’s version is equally as good, if not better (a bold, but true, statement), and comes in at a #GetThrifty friendly $33 CAD (plus tax) per person.
In addition to being wallet-friendly, Secret Garden also has a Lunch Menu that came in handy for the gorgeous Po On, who has some very strict dietary restrictions due to training for a figure competition. So while we stuffed ourselves with scones, she ate salad and chicken breast and soaked up our tea cake joy. This girl is so dedicated and positive. Just seeing or smelling the chocolate zucchini loaf would have completely undone me. Po On also took some of the photos in this post. She is a very talented food photographer!
Speaking of talented, our Blog Pod ‘artist-in-residence’, Karlie, created a very pretty art installation of blue flowers for Secret Garden’s anniversary party last year. When you arrive at Secret Garden, you will see them in the window and then in along the shelves in the cafe shop.
Secret Garden’s High Tea seatings are three times every day at 12 noon, 2:15pm, and 4:30pm. Vegetarian and Gluten-Free versions are also available, as are the adorable Children’s High Teas. Their beautiful tea room is perfect for brunch, bridal or baby showers, and birthday parties. They also sell their tea online and have a High Tea To-Go option, which is lovely for a picnic or again for a bridal or baby shower.
Reservations are definitely recommended – particularly for this upcoming Easter and Mother’s Day. (You’re welcome for those who have been wondering what to do for your mum!)
Thank you to the Secret Garden Tea Company for hosting us – we had a lovely time! As always, opinions are my own.
“Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.” ~ Chaim Potok