Vancouver has a wealth of places to choose from when it comes to afternoon tea service, from fancy teahouses to casual vegan options. The tradition of tiered trays of finger sandwiches, pots of steamy tea, scones, and petite treats is very British, and while some stick to tradition, some restaurants take tea to a whole new level.
For their recently-launched tea service, H Tasting Lounge at the Westin Bayshore in Coal Harbour is looking to both the West and the East. They have two full tea services, an Eastern and a Western, each full of whimsy, colour, and artistry that really take tea to the next level.
H Tasting Lounge is located near the main entrance of the Westin Bayshore; the highly-anticipated space debuted after a period of renovations last fall, and is fashioned as an elegant tribute to aviation, and pioneering pilot Howard Hughes. The wealthy icon actually–famously–spent a period of time near the end of his life sequestered inside the Bayshore, so Hughes is already tied to the hotel’s history.
Though H Tasting Lounge came second, it makes for a great counterpart to the full service sit-down restaurant in the hotel, H2 Rotisserie & Bar. H Tasting Lounge is the perfect spot for a cocktail, coffee, snack, lunch, or dinner, and now they are offering afternoon tea service from noon to 5 pm daily.
Western Tea includes a tiered tray holding contemporary takes on classic tea sandwiches, from smoked salmon and cucumber to a duck a l’orange in a rice paper wrapper. A bacon tartlet rounds out the savoury bites, while a set of patisseries (for the time being sourced from Faubourg until they secure a full-time in house pastry chef) covers the sweet spectrum.
Adding pops of fun for the eyes and the tastebuds, the Western tea also includes a macaron “lollipop” and house parsnip chips. A raisin scone is served with jam and cream, as well as the Westin Bayshore’s own honey–this “homegrown” sweet is thanks to the onsite bees kept by the hotel. And for one more big visual kick: A mass of green cotton candy.
The Eastern Tea is similarly a treasure hunt for the senses; the sweet and savoury bites take their cue from both traditional Asian foods and classic tea service, and come served in a beautiful Tiffany blue clear-lidded box.
With this tea set, guests nibble on savouries like a “Pekin Style” Duck Wrap, a “Kung Pao” Lobster Roll, and a Braised Abalone Tart. Sweet bites include a hearty purple Taro “bomb,” a “Wife Cake,” Pineapple Shortbread, and Almond Cookie. For an extra sweet note there’s an ice cream-filled mochi and citrus sago.
Both tea services come with your choice from their selection of Tealeaves tea, which you can preview–at least with your nose–from the sample box showcasing all the varieties. Choose from more health-focused blends, to classic blacks and greens, to custom blends that represent Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
To take your tea to yet another level, add on one of H Tasting Lounge’s bubbles-based cocktails. Joining an already-impressive roster of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks from their custom bar menu, these bubbly bevs also reflect a global mindset with a timeless feel.
Afternoon tea service is $48 per person for either the Western or Eastern option. H Tasting Lounge is located at the Westin Bayshore, at 1601 Bayshore Drive in Vancouver.