When I think of high tea, I think of the small triangular sandwiches, scones and squares my grandmother would serve my mother and I when I was a child and we would go over to her house for afternoon tea.
My grandmother passed away many years ago and with her went the tradition of afternoon tea in fancy tea cups served with bite-sized delicacies. I longed to recreate those memories with my own daughter, and although I had heard of high tea at the Chateau Laurier, I found myself waiting for the perfect excuse to indulge in the experience.
Every afternoon, High Tea (also known as Afternoon Tea) is served at Zoe’s Lounge, located in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Zoe’s recently underwent a beautiful renovation maintaining its unique architectural element, including the gorgeous chandeliers, antique crown moldings and impressive marble bar. The lounge is bright, cheerful and the staff are very welcoming.
My daughter was not only impressed by the lounge’s big windows overlooking the street (prime seating if you’re lucky enough to get a seat there), but also by the tall ceilings.
My daughter didn’t know what to expect at High Tea, but was in awe of the three-tiered serving tray filled with scones, desserts and dainty sandwiches. Not a tea lover, she was very impressed with their hot chocolate as well.
Although the menu changes seasonally, the menu generally features unique gourmet pastries, open and closed-faced sandwiches and delicious English scones served with homemade Fairmont Chateau Laurier jam. And of course, there is also a wide variety of tea to choose from. You can view the current menu here.
What I loved about our day was the attention to detail our server gave us. He asked if we were celebrating anything special, which we were - my mom’s birthday. He wished her a happy birthday, which I thought that was very nice, but he then surprised her at the end of our tea by singing “Happy Birthday” and brought her a special birthday plate with extra treats. Needless to say, my mom loved it!
Zoe’s Lounge at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier makes afternoon tea everything I remember it to be and more. Classy, delicious and all about spending time sipping tea (or sparkling wine or champagne - or hot chocolate!) surrounded by those you love. I look forward to recreating the same afternoon again this year for my own birthday.
Hours: Monday to Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
Cost: $52 per person * 62 on holidays and 1:00 pm weekend seatings. Children’s (or little Prince & Princess) tea, $28. Reserve at least 24 hours ahead (sooner during the summer and holidays). 613-241-1414.
Kid Friendly? Absolutely! Their menu even has a kid’s section, but they can easily just pick off your tray depending how hungry you are.
Location: 1 Rideau Street, inside the Château Laurier