High Tea Series: The Fish House at Stanley Park

On July 11th, I was joined by 7 lovely ladies and 2 distinguished gentlemen for another tea party for my High Tea Series. The venue: the Fish House in Stanley Park, tucked away between the tennis courts and Second Beach inside Vancouver’s largest urban greenspace.

The Afternoon teapartiers (by julesjulesjules m)

Photo used with permission from Julesjulesjules

We started off slow due to guests being delayed by the changes to the Burrard Bridge, but that just gave us more time to admire each other’s creative choices of hat.

Afternoon tea at the Fish House in Stanley Park

What wasn’t acceptable was the slowness of pace that continued even after our full contingent arrived. Tea took 15 minutes from the time of order; the food didn’t show until nearly 20 minutes of tea drinking had passed. By then, some of us who had deliberately fasted for this 2pm meal were getting frustrated and somewhat dizzy from hunger.

Afternoon tea at the Fish House in Stanley Park

Our table tried 5 of the 7 teas on offer. Those who took cream and sugar favoured the Flowery Earl Grey. A couple were seduced by the concept of the Mountain Berry, a rose-hued tea that contained Saskatoon berries, red and black currants, hibiscus, and Seneca root.

Afternoon tea at the Fish House in Stanley Park

I wish I could say a few good things about the tea that the Fish House served, but the general feel was that our drink was poorly set up, flat in taste and occasionally in aroma, and at best, forgettable.

Afternoon tea at the Fish House in Stanley Park

Sad to report that the food verdict is similar. The overall selection was plainly presented. Overall tastings felt bland and lacking in contrast. A few piped up to defend the scones and the brownies, which were the best of the bunch, but I’ve personally had better at all of the other places I’ve been to for afternoon tea.

Scones (by julesjulesjules m)

Photo used with permission from Julesjulesjules

The one true highlight for me was the Devon cream, whipped energetically to airy deliciousness. It would have been more appropriate to say that I took my Devon cream with scones – in fact, I might have eaten it on its own if I hadn’t been concerned about what my companions might think.

Despite this small bit of praise, don’t you think it’s a shame that something akin to butter is the best offering in the Fish House’s afternoon tea array? I do.

The verdict: don’t bother.

You can probably sum it up like this: while the Fish House does have afternoon tea on the menu, they only pay lip service to it. No one else was there to have tea. Not many people were present in the dining room, period. I guess they’re not known as a lunch or tea destination, as we learned the hard way.

Ah, well. Our $24 a person fees weren’t entirely for naught. It did give our party an excuse to don fancy clothes and frou-frou hats, and we did have a great time just being in each other’s company. But if I were you, plan your next afternoon tea excursion elsewhere – I’d rather you to enjoy both your friends and your food.

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2 thoughts

  1. Just made the mistake of choosing Afternoon Tea at The Fish House in Stanley Park for a birthday celebration and sadly disappointed. Having been to Tea at The Secret Garden in Kerrisdale at $27.95 pp. and The Little White House in Fort Langley at $26.95 pp. both of which I highly recommend, we had high expectations at $38 pp for The Fish House.
    Firstly, wheelchair access is an old wooden dirty, jerky makeshift elevator (ramp badly needed for wheelchairs & strollers). Greeting friendly & accommodating, the Tea Tower was a fairly good assortment but definitely not worth the $38 compared to the two previous Tea Houses mentioned but our biggest disappointment was in the service.
    After choosing our tea I also requested a glass of white wine from the Server but not offered a wine list just the question, What sort of white wine do you want? I replied a Chardonnay, again no offering of any selection but in any case it never came nor did we see her again until after we’d eaten, I was finally able to attract her attention to request more milk for the tea, I mentioned the wine for which she casually apologized then went missing again, finally to reappear when we were all finished to ask if we needed more hot water for our tea by this time we felt neglected and disappointed, when she finally produced our bill I pointed out that I didn’t feel like leaving a tip because of our service I told her that a nice gesture would have been to offer me a glass of wine on the house but she just shrugged and apologized saying she’d been busy with another much larger table this convinced us further that we’d made a big mistake in putting our little celebration in the hands of The Fish House.
    When the Hostess offered to help us out asking how everything was I told her our experience, she agreed it was not satisfactory offering to let me speak to the Manager who also casually apologized mentioning he’d make sure it didn’t happen again, hopefully it won’t for someone else, we won’t be returning to take the chance or recommending, our Fish House Afternoon Tea left us a bitter taste.

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