High Tea at the Shangri-La Hotel
Two years ago, my friend Susan and I have started going to places for High Tea together. The first place we ever went for High Tea was in London, England (You can read about that experience here). Our second outing was in Toronto at the Windsor Arms Hotel.
This time we went to the Shangri-La Hotel for High Tea. It is located in the Lobby Lounge of the hotel. Normally we wouldn’t consider going to the Shangri-La, as it is a more high end place, but there was a deal on Travelzoo. High Tea is usually $59 but the deal reduced the price to $39! What a steal! There was a slight catch: The deal only applied for reservations from Mondays through Thursdays. Luckily, Susan and I had a free Thursday so it worked out for us 🙂
Upon arriving, the hostess asked us if we wanted coat check. I didn’t know if it was free, so I asked to verify if it was complimentary and it was!
When we were seated, our table was prepared with two champagne glasses filled
with berries, individual teacup sets, two plates, cutlery, and the menu. It was quite a small table meant for 4 people but fortunately, it was just Susan and I. Our deal consisted of two glasses of prosecco, hence the champagne glasses filled with mixed berries. Susan and I don’t drink alcohol that often, so we’re not qualified enough to judge the prosecco. The prosecco included was called La Gioiosa Prosecco.
The tea menu consisted of 20 kinds. I ended up getting the English Breakfast tea, described as “Strong and full-bodied tea with sweet and fruity undertones.”
It also came with a saucer of steamed milk. The tea didn’t taste anything like as described but it was exactly what I wanted. The day was kind of chilly so I was looking for a creamy, warm drink and this was it! Once the steamed milk was added and stirred, the tea was creamy and silky. I didn’t taste any kind of fruity undertone but it did have a slight hint of sweetness.
After our tea came the food. It was brought out in the usual tiered display and our server described each kind of item to us. It was a mouthful but very helpful. But I will be honest- when the food first came out, the
first thing I noticed was how small the portions were. The Windsor Arms Hotel had what I call “normal-sized” portions for a similar price of the deal.
We decided to start off with the scones. One was a Classic English Scone and the other was an Autumn Pumpkin Spice. They were served with a Berry Preserves Jam and a Cornish Clotted Cream.
Classic English Scone
This sweet but not too sweet. I split the scone in half- one side for the jam, the other for the clotted cream. I’m not a fan of jam but this one tasted fresh and not artificially sweet.
Unfortunately, the clotted cream had no taste to it. It was bland and had a consistency similar to butter (At least butter has some taste to it.).
Autumn Pumpkin Spice
This definitely had pumpkin spice to it. Before the scone enters your mouth, you get this punch of pumpkin spice. It kind of overpowered the taste of the jam and it didn’t end up tasting like a scone.
Winner: Classic English Scone
There were four kinds of finger sandwiches:
- Yogurt & Cilantro Chicken in a Spinach Tortilla wrap
- Pacific Smoked Salmon with Cucumber, Dill Caper Cream on Dark Rye Bread
- Tomato Ricotta on Sourdough Bread
- Poached Shrimp in Gribiche on White Bread
We decided to start with what we wouldn’t like as much and end with hopefully the best tasting one.
Tomato Ricotta on Sourdough Bread
This was disappointing. The tomatoes overpowered the ricotta – all you could taste was tomatoes! The sandwich was not worth the price at all. You could literally make this at home and it would have tasted the same.
It would have been better if a light pesto was added to balance the tomato taste. Or, if they had made it into some bruschetta like sandwich, it would have been significantly better. Susan and I were pleased we chose to start off with this.
Poached Shrimp in Gribiche on White Bread
We started off with the shrimp sandwich, mainly because I’m not a big seafood person. The sandwich piece I initially grabbed had a decent amount of shrimp, but Susan’s did not. We eventually switched so that Susan could get a taste of it. When there was a piece of shrimp in a bite of the sandwich, the shrimp didn’t have a strong seafood smell but I could taste that it was shrimp. Since gribiche is made with egg, I could taste a hint of that.
Pacific Smoked Salmon with Cucumber, Dill Caper Cream on Dark Rye Bread
While not being a seafood person, I also don’t like fish. But I figured smoked salmon would taste a bit better than cold shrimp. I was right! Since I don’t eat fish, I can’t judge the smoked salmon as well. It didn’t have much of a fishy smell and it was kind of warm. If there was cucumber, as it states, I could not taste it. The smoked salmon took over most of the taste but it paired nicely with the dark rye bread. The touch of dill caper cream was the best part. It had a similar consistency of cream cheese and tasted exactly like cream cheese. It’s best to say, this was my favourite (surprisingly!) finger sandwich.
Yogurt & Cilantro Chicken in a Spinach Tortilla wrap
We ended with the chicken as the safe bet. But we really shouldn’t have. The yogurt gave a creamy texture but the chicken dominated everything in the wrap. The wrap was overloaded with chicken! I couldn’t even taste the wrap itself or the cilantro. It was too much chicken for my liking and nothing special.
Winner: Pacific Smoked Salmon with Cucumber, Dill Caper Cream on Dark Rye Bread
To end our High Tea experience, we sweetened it with the pastries. There was a vareity of four pastries for us to nibble on:
- Caramel Apple Verrine: Mascarpone mousse, lady finger biscuit
- Mini Duo Profiterole
- Chocolate & Orange Bombe: Manjari mousse, orange crème brulee, chocolate biscuit, cocoa streusel
- Almond & Chestnut Cake: Almond financier, chestnut mousse, vanilla Chantilly
We started off with the Mini Duo Profiterole. One was Grapefruit flavoured and the other was Lychee.
The Grapefruit Profiterole didn’t have a single grapefruit taste (So disappointing!). The outside shell was soft with a sweet, citrus filling.
Compared to the Grapefruit Profiterole, the Lychee Profiterole had a lychee taste. It’s not heavy but you can taste it. The filling was light and tarte, much more pleasant than the citrus filling in the other. Both Susan and I preferred the Lychee Profiterole.
Almond and Chestnut Cake
This particular cake was sweet and soft. The chestnut mousse with vanilla chantilly didn’t have much of a chestnut taste, but the vanilla added sweetness to it. The mousse balanced the rest of the cake nicely with its lightness. The almond financier is the bottom portion- it was crispy and light and gave a nice crunch. The cake was topped with a tiny gold leaf. If you’re wondering, the gold was tasteless.
Chocolate & Orange Bombe
This tasted exactly Terry’s Chocolate Oranges you’d get during Christmas time. I can’t remember how soft or hard the outside shell was, but the inside had some crunch from the chocolate biscuit. If you’re not a fan of those Chocolate Oranges, I’d avoid this.
Caramel Apple Verrine
Out of all the desserts, this was my least favourite. I thought it’d have a texture similar to tiramisu but I was wrong. This was full on mousse- my least favourite. It may have been because the Prosecco was getting to me (I didn’t eat anything prior to High Tea and had to drink both mine and Susan’s), but I did not like this. It was too soft and too rich in its creaminess. For the one bite I had, I couldn’t taste any apple or much of the ladyfinger, but it was sweet from the caramel.
Winner: Almond & Chestnut Cake
High Tea at the Shangri-La was a pleasant experience. While it may be at a high end location, the setting was casual from being in the Lobby Lounge of the hotel. It’s slightly an odd set-up when arriving, but once seated, it works.
I loved the tea I chose. Like I said, it was exactly what I wanted for that day. Plus, the teacup set was beautiful. The food overall was mediocre. For its original price of $59, I would not be impressed by the food at all. You’re pretty much paying for the service and the fact that it’s in the Shangri-La Hotel. I suggest waiting until there’s a deal, like the Travelzoo one, to try it out, if you really want to know for yourself. (The deal is still on at Travelzoo – last day to use it is March 30th!)
Overall, it was nice and pleasant but not really my cup of tea (pun intended).