By: Alison Silveira
My friend and now sister-in-law, Charlene, recently married my brother and it was a very special occasion, as the couple planned their whole wedding themselves. Charlene did not want a bridal shower, nor did she want a bachelorette party. As a bridesmaid, my duties were very minimal, but her sister, Charlotte and I decided that we needed to do something special for Charlene before her big day.
Indulging in afternoon tea with the ladies at the regal Omni King Edward Hotel sounded like the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Just last September, the hotel had its grand re-opening after undergoing a $40 million renovation. Contemporary decor meets old-world charm at the luxurious hotel. The crystal ballroom is also set to be restored to the tune of six and a half million dollars. The re-opening of the ballroom is slated for early 2017 and will undoubtedly be one of the most ornate and elegant venues in Toronto.
Afternoon tea takes place at Victoria's Restaurant, which has been completely revitalized. Our hostess gives us a warm welcome and as we settle in our over-sized, comfortable purple chairs, we cannot help but feel like royalty. There is no trace of stuffiness in the restaurant. It is bright, spacious and inviting and I especially like that the table is large with fine linens and silverware laid out on it. We admire the delicate teal blue and white floral porcelain cups and saucers that adorn the table.
Our friendly server brings amuse-bouches of Chinese soup spoons laden with tangy pickled cucumbers. He also explains the tea menus and brings out a collection of Sloane teas for us to choose from. Charlene and Charlotte choose the heavenly oolong creme tea, which comes from the Wuyi Mountains of China. It is a creamy, silky and sweet treat. As a chocolate lover, I just have to opt for the chocolate truffle tea, which is a blended black smooth bodied Assam tea. It is infused with truffle notes and Brazilian cocoa, which creates a rich, dark chocolate finish.
Next up, our server presents a three-tiered serving platter with delightful finger sandwiches for us to sample. These unique, delightful bites are bursting with flavour and we savour each and every bite. Stand-out sandwiches include the zesty chickpea hummus with lightly curried carrots, raisins and sliced almonds and prosciuttini with refreshing compressed melon. Charlene and Charlotte enjoy the picnic egg salad with chives, radish and sweet pickles and the heirloom tomato caprese with torn basil.
Scones are a staple of any afternoon tea experience and we happily enjoy the classic cream and blueberry scones with delicious accompaniments of Devonshire cream, house-made strawberry jam and lemon lime curd.
Our indulgent experience comes to a sweet ending when we are offered an array of the most decadent and colourful pastries. Tart and sweet lemon mousse, superior carrot cake and coffee cream tarts satisfy our palates.
We pour ourselves some more tea and clink glasses, with our pinkies out, of course! We enjoy girl talk, loads of laughs and the pleasurable experience of escaping the everyday and partaking in luxurious afternoon tea at the Omni King Edward Hotel. Afternoon tea is certainly the perfect way for any bride-to-be to relax, unwind and dine a beautiful setting!
Afternoon tea takes place at Victoria's Restaurant in the Omni King Edward Hotel from Friday – Saturday at 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. The hotel is located at 37 King Street East. For more information, visit: https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/toronto-king-edward/dining/afternoon-tea.