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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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