The city of Toronto has many more afternoon teas to choose from than Montreal, both because of its superior size and British roots. I only had time to review one venue while in Ontario so I decided to go with The Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto. Looks like luck was on my side, it’s delicious:
The Omni King Edward Hotel Setting ★★★★☆
The King Edward is located in downtown Toronto, right within the entertainment district. It may be the oldest luxury hotel in Toronto but the recent large-scale renovations make it feel newer and more polished than ever.
Chess players will feel at home: there are four giant chess pieces in the lobby, all under the watchful eye of his Royal Majesty King Edward VII.
Victoria Café & Lobby Lounge
Afternoon tea is served from Friday to Sunday, starting at 1:30 pm. Guests may sit in the Victoria Café or in the Lobby Lounge. Allow me to recommend the lobby: it is much quieter and offers more privacy than the café.
If possible, choose one of the tables right in the middle of the lobby, the purple seats are very comfortable and ideally located at the centre of the atrium.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆
The hotel sources its teas from two Canadians suppliers: the “Sloane tea company” and “Tealeaves”. There is a total of 24 teas & infusions to choose from, with several types of tea blends. The choice is very varied, with several black, green, white and oolong teas to choose from, as well as many infusions (including caffeine free options).
The “King Edward blend” is exclusive to the hotel but I’m not that fond of it, as Jasmine and Black tea do not go well together. I much prefer the “Taj Spiced Chai tea” or the “Chocolate Truffle black tea”, both are very pleasant and richly flavoured.
It’s unfortunate but the hotel staff is guilty of the most common tea sin: the green and white teas are brewed too hot, which will inevitably result in an excessively bitter taste. Still, the “Jasmine Snow Dragon” is an excellent green tea and it will be even better if you ask for a brew at 80 degrees ~.
The Savouries ★★★★★
If your afternoon tea starts with amuse-bouches, it is usually a good sign as it tends to indicate that the kitchen team means business (e.g. The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam).
The King Edward afternoon tea starts with a “Sweet-Pea shooter”, a brilliant savoury drink which is served zd an amuse-bouche. It is followed by 5 savouries: “Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon toast”, “5 Spice Citrus Chicken with Toasted Sesame & Spring Scallions”, “Lemon Dill Egg Mimosa sandwich with Asparagus”, “Spring Lamb Confit & Mint Jelly sandwich” and “Green Goddess” (avocado, courgette/zucchini & coriander).
The Green Goddess is my favourite of the lot and it’s probably the best vegetarian sandwich I ever had, all countries considered.
It may be obvious from my rather enthusiastic introduction but I’ll say it straight away: the savouries are the best part of this afternoon tea, both in terms of flavour and originality, with the notable exception of the (slightly) inferior salmon toast.
The Scones ★★★★☆
Conversely, the scones are the most disappointing aspect of this afternoon tea. Each guest is served with a plain scone and a candied ginger scone, along with homemade Ontario strawberry jam, maple butter and clotted cream.
The scones weren’t sweet enough and too small to be broken in half by hand, as afternoon tea etiquette dictates. Fortunately, the strawberry jam is so good that you’ll forgive the scones’ lack of sweetness, especially so if you add maple butter and clotted cream to the equation.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★☆
Last but not least, the spring afternoon tea comes with a selection of 5 sweets; “Cherry Blossom Macaron”, “Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Tart”, “Chocolate Battenberg”, “Pavlova Nest meringue with Lemon Curd” and “Maple Shortbread Sandwich”.
The strawberry & rhubarb tart was the best of the lot as it’s gorgeous, creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The Brit in me also loved the chocolate Battenberg which was very nice and just sweet enough, unlike actual Battenberg.
The Pavlova meringue filled with lemon curd was a bit odd though, lemon curd and meringue are not that good together and it’s quite difficult to eat too.
The Service ★★★★★
David and the rest of his team are very good at their jobs, and I could tell that they did very well with both groups and individuals. My assigned waiter Kenny took great care of me and was a lot of fun to speak with, especially so as I had this afternoon tea on my lonesome.
Another bonus point is the booking process: while many hotels in Toronto require you to fill tedious forms and give credit card details, booking the Omni King Edward hotel afternoon tea is hassle-free, whether it’s by phone or by email.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
The Omni King Edward Hotel afternoon tea is worthy of kings and queens (pun intended). The lobby atmosphere is great, the tea selection is vast and the service is impeccable, and all for a very reasonable price (49$/person).
The executive sous-chef Elaine Wong showcases her many years of experience, with a most brilliant result on the food aspect. As of now, This is the best afternoon tea I have had in a Canadian hotel, whether it’s in Quebec or in Ontario.
+: The lobby lounge atmosphere
+: Variety of teas & infusions
+: Delicious savouries
+: Great service
+: Good value for money
-: Afternoon tea is served from Friday to Sunday only
-: The green/white tea temperature
-: Scones are too small
Phone number: +001 (416) 863-4125