Vancouver: The Urban Tea Merchant : My First Afternoon Tea
During my recent trip to Vancouver a couple of months ago, I made it a goal to find a place for high tea; now [x] 'Afternoon Tea' , is off my bucket list! However, the [x] really means the beginning of my love with this beautiful tea tradition. And lucky me, my first experience was at this wonderful spot in Downtown Vancouver - The Urban Tea Merchant! For those who know me, they'll know my love for tea. I would pick tea over coffee any day! Reason is, I don't get a crash from tea the way I do with coffee and I find tea the perfect compliment to moments where I pick up a good book or stressfully working away at my papers, I think of it as sipping a cup of 'everything will be okay'.
When I stepped into The Urban Tea Merchant, I was in awe of the cozy, elegant ambiance. It reminded me of a place I'd find in Europe! The hostesses were very prompt, friendly and helped my friend and I pick out what to try for our first visit immediately! Our server Kyra was knowledgable and helpful. Upon our decision on the West Coast Tea Service ($38), she introduced us to our tea pairing for the meal. I tried the Milk Oolong from Taiwan and my friend had the Russian Earl Grey. And wow were we in for a treat for our palates and viewing pleasure.
Each item was delicate, bold and flavourful! I loved the tea infusion play in the petite bites, especially the miso-maple glazed sable fish and Dignitary's tea chicken cone! The sable fish was melt in my mouth orgasmic goodness, cooked to perfection! (I would come back just to eat this as a main course!) This alone made me incredibly grateful in choosing the West Coast tea service! Next I tried the Wasabi + Smoked Salmon with ponzu jelly, this combination made this a yummy exotic little piece. The "Tokyo Singapore tea" seared tuna tataki was eaten like a mini tuna wrap, it was a pleasantly refreshing bite between the fresh tuna, onion and seaweed! And now last but not least, my second favourite from the main petite bites was this Dignitary tea infused chicken cone. The Dignitary's tea earthy, smoky taste mixed with the creamy chicken = heavenly! (it reminded me of a classier version of chicken and waffles, except it tasted 10x healthier!)
Now besides the delicious savoury petite bites, I believe no tea service is complete without sweets! (Ahem* especially macarons!) In this case, they have included two tea macarons and a couple chevron strawberries along with my favourite Chocolate Dipped "Matcha" madeleines!
Below show's a very small portion of the tea's available at The Urban Tea Merchant listing. They had a very impressive array, including tea's from all around the world on their large shelf of colourful cans of tea. (It reminded me of beauty and the beast's book shelf and ladder! Except instead of books, it's teas!) And in the other photos below, you may see the array of retail items they have up for purchase in their shop. Beautiful teapot sets, tea gift sets and even tea scented candles! Loose leaves may also be purchased by grams or in tin cans.
Overall I am happy with my first experience of afternoon tea. The Urban Tea Merchant had incredibly friendly service, a wonderful atmosphere and delicious food. Next time I'm flying over to Vancouver, I'd love to visit this place again!