In a perfect world, high tea would be something I would do on a weekly basis. Chatting with my friends with my pinky up, enjoying carefully crafted desserts, spending two to three hours super carefree and being super unproductive.
Last week I went to the newest high tea place that just opened up in Richmond. It’s called Avery Cakes & Tea House and it is located at the end of Alexandra Road. You would never guess the Victorian-esque vibe just by looking at the exterior of the building as the outside looks just as dingy and normal as the car wash that’s right next to it. However, when you step in, you feel like you’re instantly transported to one of London or Paris’s finest high tea restaurants.
White and marble cover the walls from bottom to top throughout the restaurant and the music is played by a self playing white grand piano in the middle of the space. It’s truly a wonderful atmosphere that everyone (who likes girly things) should try once in their life. It’ll make you feel like the Queen of England. 🙂
There are many intricate details to the restaurant, from the gold trim on the walls, to the plate art that is probably vintage and procured from the other side of the world.
I came here with B for my birthday and we decided to get two of the High Tea sets. Each High Tea Set is $49 each and it includes organic red potato salad cup, smoked salmon rose in savoury sesame cone, signature sandwich, beef wellington, chicken Caesar wrap, creamy squash soup for the savoury items. The sweet items include blue earl grey cream cake, fresh mango cheese cake, french vanilla cream brulee, summer beach stylish cake, hobby house cake, blueberry tart, strawberry puff with mixed fruit, old school fruit slice, and a magic key macaron.
The one thing I found strange with Avery is that the pots of tea are not included in the High Tea set. To me, a pot of tea is a fundamental aspect of the high tea experience, so I was a little disappointed knowing we had to pay an extra $7.50-$8.95 for each tea. The one thing that was great however was that our tea was constantly refilled throughout the two hours we stayed.
When the tier first arrived, we were in shock. It was absolutely stunning and it almost looked like food out of a dollhouse. From the handcrafted fondant horses on top of the cupcakes to the fondant key and lock on the macaron plate, it looked magical.
After taking a billion photos including selfies and Instastories with our pinky up, we dug right into the food. Upon first glance the food all looked fantastic. But as we started working our way through one by one, we noticed a few discrepancies. For example, the creamy squash soup turned into a creamy corn chowder instead. We didn’t mind as the corn chowder was actually quite delicious. But I guess it would’ve been good to get a run down by the waiter of all the item we received if they weren’t going to be the exact items on the menu. I don’t know about you but at a restaurant, I like to know what I’m getting and being served items I wasn’t expecting felt a bit off to me.
Out of the entire set, I think my least favourite items came from the savoury tier. The chicken wrap, beef wellington, and signature sandwich were all items I felt could be easily replicated at home or bought at a grocery store. The crust on the sandwich was hard and the beef wellington (picture below) was cold and very hard to bite into. On the other hand, the smoked salmon cone and salted cheese cake (which I think replaced the blue earl grey cake on the menu) was very enjoyable.
I thought the play on ‘beef wellington’ would have been something really cool. However, the whole puff pastry was cold and the beef tasted like beef jerky inside.
The sweet tier was definitely eye candy and this consisted of the mango cheesecake, fruit tart, and an old school fruit cake slice. I appreciated the lightness of the custard filling as it wasn’t overly sweet and overbearing like some other custards. Overall, I thought the desserts were quite well executed.
Seeing the horse fondant I actually thought it was a piece of plastic. I soon realized the horse as well as the key and lock in the later photo is actually fondant, spray painted with gold and colour. That you can tell, is a work of art. The cupcakes are nothing to write home about but the creme brulee was smooth and velvety. The bruleed top is super thin though so it’s not one of those thick sugar crusts that you can ‘crack’ into.
The strawberry puff with mixed fruit was filled with the same custard as the old school fruit cake and fruit tart.
Last but not least is the Magic Key Macaron. The macarons were made very well with a clean small feet (that’s what it’s called) and a very smooth top. The fondant key and lock as I mentioned above looked impressively realistic and I would’ve never guessed it was edible.
All in all, Avery Cakes & Tea House is a good place to go if you’re looking for a magical Victorian-esque atmosphere to chat with your girlfriends and dine on some Instagram worthy desserts. However, I personally found the high tea set too expensive (our bill at the end came up to $130) as it came up to ~$60 per person. For roughly the same price, I felt like I could’ve gotten something more elevated at another high tea place like Notch 8 at Hotel Vancouver or L’Opera Patisserie.
[On a controversial side note]
If you consistently read my blog, you probably know that I am a big supporter of local businesses. I know how much effort it takes to get an idea off the ground and how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into each product. But it saddens me that sometimes business owners think bloggers like myself are a joke and that we are not allowed an opinion on their business. When in fact all I am is a regular paying customer (and in this case, we paid a full bill of $130 for two people) that wants to help spread the word, and maybe provide a few words of constructive feedback that hopefully can help improve the business.
Anyways, I posted a photo of the Avery high tea set and mentioned briefly that I was disappointed with the value I got for the price I paid. In a couple of hours time, the owner of Avery commented numerous times on my photo undermining my experience and saying it was my ‘pickyness’ that caused my disappointment. It even went as far as them posting a comment in simplified Chinese saying “Who do you think you are, with just 10k followers?”. Unfortunately they deleted it shortly after posting it.
At the end of the day, I am just blogging about my experience on a restaurant, which is exactly what I have been doing for the past 6 years since 2011. I am entitled to my own opinions, and I really am disappointed that Avery Cakes & Tea House chose to take the negative route and not only bash but discredit a customer online. Regardless of whether I have a food blog or not, no one should be criticized for their honest opinion on an experience.
Just as an FYI, their comments on my Instagram post does not affect my rating.
Service Rating: 2/5
Food Rating 3/5
Overall Rating: 2.5/5