Windsor Arms Tea Room

Since having high tea in London, I’ve been enamoured with the concept. Sipping tea while munching on scones and clotted cream is a pretty awesome way to spend an afternoon. While most hotels in Toronto only serve tea from 2pm-5pm, the Tea Room at Windsor Arms offers Twilight Tea with seatings at 5:30pm and 6pm; perfect for 9-5’ers.

Atmosphere: While the decor in the Tea Room is refined, elegant and traditional with a fireplace and heavy armchairs, I was comfortable and relaxed. Dark walls and white linens created a stark, modern contrast in the room that housed an impressive chandelier. Conversations were contained at each table and was little distraction. My friend and I visited on a Tuesday night and only 4 tables were occupied. Each corner of the room was set up to accommodate larger groups.

Service: There was one server taking care of all the room, who was quiet and unobtrusive. Once we settled at our table, he took our tea orders and provided steeping instructions on the pots arrival. He also described each sandwich and petite four when our tower of treats arrived. While we were quickly offered our first refill of hot water, while we lingered, the server was busy clearing tables and we weren’t comfortable asking for a second.

Food: When I’m at tea, I’m really there for the clotted cream and scones, then the tea and then the sandwiches and petite fours. Based on these priorities, Twilight Tea at Windsor Arms scores well. On scones alone, they’d be top notch.

Separated by types, the selection of tea in their menu was impressive in its breadth. I ended up choosing a Japanese green tea while my friend went with Snow White, a white tea with apple. Each place setting had a personal strainer and rest. Our meal started with a slice of quiche that was savoury and cheesy but seemed like it was made much earlier in the day.

For a table of two, we were served two bites each of every sandwich type. The portion size was plenty for us but I have seen larger squares. Each bite of the rolled up creations were fine, the bread a little soggy. I liked the salmon the best and would have loved an airier bread. The goat cheese tart was soft, strong in flavour and more satisfying.

I did love the perfectly flakey scones. A generous portion of clotted cream was served along with fresh currant and strawberry preserves. This was my favourite part of the meal. The scones were dusted with powdered sugar, the cream was rich and the preserves tart. After these, we were pretty full and only nibbled on each of the remaining sweets. There was no real memorable bite of the petite four and we were so satisfied by the scones that this wasn’t disappointing.

For my visit to The Windsor Arms Tea Room, I was able to grab a Groupon, making the total cost for two ~$85 vs $120 normally. I would come back based on the discounted price (for the scones!), but the full price is more daunting.

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