Afternoon tea at the Chateau Laurier will make you feel like royalty. Reserve your spot ahead of time because this outing is popular among local Ottawans and tourists alike. The room is bright from the light coming from the floor to ceiling wall of windows reflecting off the white table cloths and the marble floor. The table settings and pieces of furniture are straight from an early 1900’s hotel tea room (think Downton Abbey-era). The decorators at the Chateau Laurier really know how to bring you back to a nostalgic age.
The table was elegantly set with tea essentials: butter, jam, milk and sugar cubes.
A cart carrying a selection of teas makes the rounds of the dinning room. Atop the cart is a large, gold-coloured copper urn filled with water that is continuously heated from a fire underneath. It’s actually quite neat!
Once tea is served, a two course mini-meal is served. First up was a fruit cup. The fruit was fresh and juicy. The fruit in my fruit cup was marinated in a gentle and not-so-sweet ice wine and topped with real whipped cream. Next, we received our individual three-tiered serving platter with mini sandwiches, scones, pound cake, and a fruit tart. I know this sounds like a lot, but it’s all single-serving size.
The food was good, but Mark and I both agreed that there was something lacking. The sandwiches were a little dry and could have used the help of some herbs. The scones were undoubtedly the best part (especially topped with the strawberry jam). They were fresh, not too crumbly and melted in your mouth; I would return just for the scones.
The restaurant kindly accommodated our vegetarian requests by providing us with some off the menu options. They served an olive tapenade and bruschetta in lieu of chicken and salmon sandwiches.
After tea, take some time to explore the 100-year-old hotel. The detailed carvings on the ceilings and columns are beautiful. There are also a number of pieces of art around the main lobby to admire. Be sure to climb the marble staircase to the mezzanine for a spectacular vantage point to snap some photos.
If a trip to England for tea just isn’t possible, the best alternative for the exquisite experience is afternoon tea at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.