What is it about tea that makes it so versatile?
A simple cup of tea can lift spirits or ease tensions. We can share an iced pitcher with friends in the backyard, or cuddle up with a steaming mug alone by the fireside. Tea can rise to any occasion, and our favourite blends will never disappoint.
I’ve shared many, many, cups of tea with my mother over the years. I started drinking “milky tea” when I was quite little. My mom would fill my mug with milk and just barely let the tea kiss the surface. We enjoyed our beverages every night before bed – this was our way of winding down.
Over time I worked my way up to a proper cup, but our ritual never changed. Every night after dinner someone puts the water on to boil, and sets out the mugs. We’ve always used mugs… it’s only in the past few years that we’ve inherited some proper teacups from friends and rummage sales, and they are reserved for special occasions.
We celebrated my mom’s birthday earlier this month, and I thought it would be nice to take her out for tea. We’ve done the Nutcracker High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel, but I wanted to go somewhere more relaxed this time. I had heard of the Tea Room at the historic Robinson-Bray house in Streetsville, Ontario, but had never gotten around to actually eating there. One look at their menu convinced me that they would be worth a try, although I was nervous that we wouldn’t be able to get a reservation. The Tea Room is quite small and very popular!
Luckily, I was able to reserve a table on the date that I wanted. So my mom and I got all dolled-up, and headed over to the house to try their high tea. It was a surprisingly mild day, and we both managed to get away with wearing dresses (so that’s what my legs look like!).
Someone must have been looking down on her that day and gave her some nice weather, because the next day and every day since has been stupidly cold!
We really made the best of the day though, and for a while it felt like spring had finally arrived. We sat in the tiny tea room, next to a sunny window, admiring the tea-themed knickknacks (or tchotchkes) sitting on the sill.
Our server handed us an impressive, yet concise, tea menu to browse while we waited on our first course. The high tea a the Robinson-Bray House comes with a pot of tea per person, which makes about 2 cups. My mom selected a fruity rooibos blend called Bora Bora Mango, while I chose to sip on the Buckingham Palace Tea (a blend of black, Earl Grey, and jasmine teas). Both of the teas were lovely, and luckily for us they had both available for purchase in the tea room gift store.
By now you’re probably thinking, “goodness woman, get on to the food!” Well, alright then 🙂
The first course of The Tea Room’s high tea menu was a garden salad. I know it’s not terribly fancy, but that salad was such a nice break from all of the heavy stews and soups that we’ve been eating all winter. I don’t care that those strawberries were grown in another country, they won’t be in season here in Canada for ages yet, and I’ve been craving them.
After we polished off our greens, our server came out with a pretty silver tray filled with sandwiches, a couple scones and several sweets. It might not look like a ton of food from the photos, but we both had to take a couple of pieces of dessert home with us. You do get good value for the price here – these aren’t grocery store quality treats!
I wish I could remember what those fancy things in the cupcake liners are… the name was French and fairly complicated. It was a kind of mousse, topped with a cookie, topped with chocolate and more mousse. Whatever it was, it was delicious! The cookies were also nice, a butterscotch something… but I wasn’t crazy about the raisin tart pieces. But then, I’m not a big fan of raisins in general (they’re just humiliated grapes).
The scones from the Robinson-Bray House are the best I’ve had, hands down. These even beat the scones from the Shangri-La. They are soft, flaky, and quite frankly the polar opposite of the beige hockey pucks I baked at home one year… I kind of wish I had shared that failure on the blog, if only to give you a visual comparison.
Actually, now that I think of it, the Robinson-Bray scones have made an appearance here before. I had ordered them for my mom’s birthday tea party (we really love tea!) at the recommendation of my friend Tori. At least I think it was Tori who told me about them… anyhow, she went with me to pick them up and that was the first time she witnessed my
superior miserable parking skills. On that note, if you can take transit into Streetsville, do it. The parking situation is a mess there.
The scones are delicious plain, but of course you must eat them with Devonshire cream and strawberry jam. I don’t care about the calories – I will never deprive myself of that treat if I can help it!
I didn’t really get a good shot of the sandwiches – I was too engrossed in my meal to care by this point. I was very happy to see that the tea sandwiches were traditional though, with filling spread evenly from end to end, and crusts cut off.
We enjoyed cool cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, creamy egg salad sandwiches, and a quirky chicken sandwich with apricots and dried cranberries. All of the sandwiches were good, and not a single one was soggy or stale. The warm quiche tartlets were also a nice treat, since everything else on the plate is served cold.
I think we were only in the Tea Room for about an hour, but it was enough time to relax and enjoy our meal. I know that I could have easily whipped up sandwiches like these at home, and put up a pot of tea, but it wouldn’t have felt as special. It’s nice to have someone else present these little bites to you, and having your own personal pot of tea is downright luxurious! And yes, they do refill the pot so you’re not limited to just two cups.
All in all we had a nice time, and it was a very appropriate way for my mom and I to celebrate her special day. If you get the chance to visit the Tea Room, I highly recommend it! Reservations are definitely a good idea though, so be sure to call ahead.
This is not a sponsored post.