High Tea Bakery, located out on Portage Avenue by Deer Lodge Centre, is one of those places whose product I have tasted on a few occasions, but I’ve never visited the location itself. The most surprising part of that, is that High Tea was for it’s first few years located in the building that now houses Jonnie’s Sticky Buns. No more than about 10 block from where I lived.
In the past High Tea was supplying cookies to Make Coffee + Stuff. I’ve also tried their products at a couple of food events. Having said that, one item that won’t be featuring in this review is their Imperial Cookie.
The Imperial Cookie is their signature cookie, and I’ve tried it more than once in the past. It has a good bite, that is followed by a moist chew, with a tasty jam filling. The icing is not overly sweet, and there’s a nice little bit of cherry on top. If you are a fan of Imperial cookies, the High Tea Bakery one is definitely where to start.
Late afternoon High Tea Visit
High Tea is located in a small, square storefront. The outside has been painted a dark grey, and there are a couple of table outside if you wish to sit and enjoy the weather. My first visit was on a very hot Saturday, and so I ventured inside. As you enter the store is split into the left section, where the dessert and teas to make your beverage are displayed, along with the service counter. On the right side are a couple of tables and a counter with stools. along the walls are a wide range of teas for taking to make at home, along with some other odds and ends such as pure vanilla extract and orange blossom water.
the split between the two sections is made by a staircase that takes you to the upper section of the shop(more of that on my second visit).
High Tea is a family run business, and you really get a sense of family warmth and welcome when you come to the shop. I got a feeling of being welcomed into a family’s home as much as being a customer in their business. The staff is all very genuine and kind along with being well-informed and providing great service.
As I approached the counter and started to look around at the treats on offer, I noticed that most of them were in the $1.00-$2.00 range. As I mentioned in my post on Pastry Castle, I like the fact that I can get a cup of coffee or tea and a little treat for around $5.00. However, on this visit, that certainly wasn’t the case.
Given the low price of each individual treat, I figured I would try three of them. I chose a butter tart, a scone, and a chewy raisin oatmeal cookie.
The butter tart was fantastic. Definitely the best butter tart I’ve tried. The filling was nice and sweet, but what set this tart apart was the pastry. It was both crispy and crunchy with a light texture. The scone was also very light, and really moist. Much like the butter tart, I would also classify the oatmeal raisin cookie as the best that I can remember eating. It was again moist and really chewy as well.
On my second visit to High Tea, the weather was even hotter. So, I decided to try one of their cold beverages to go along with a sweet treat. My cookie choices were the lavender shortbread and the snickerdoodle. Again, both of the cookies were very moist, but still managed to maintain a good firmness to them when I sunk my teeth in for the first bite.
My beverage was a summer special that was listed on a small board on the counter. I forgot to write down the name, but this was a very refreshing summer special. Much more pleasant than any of the iced teas I’ve had, and less sugary than most, so it was also very thirst quenching.
This time around I decided that I would take the stairs and see what it was like at the top of the shop. Upstairs there is a mix of tables, including one with two large, wingback chairs that give you the feeling of being in an old English style club. As well, if you sit upstairs you get a view over Portage avenue, giving you a different way to appreciate the street. The upstairs also contains a couple of display models of wedding cakes, another aspect of High Tea’s business.
Tea for Three and Three for Tea
Having paid my usual two visits, I was going to write the bakery up, when it suddenly hit me. The place is named High Tea bakery, I should at leas give the tea one try. Since the first two visits had been so enjoyable I figured the third would be as well, and I was right.
As I was standing at the counter wondering what I should order with my tea, and I noticed something called a Lamington. I’ve never tried one, but I had noticed the dessert popping up in my WordPress reader feed. Lamingtons are from Australia, and consist of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate, and covered with dessicated coconut.
The initial bite gave a feeling similar to biting into a coconut covered marshmallow, but ends with moistness of the sponge cake rather than the gooey marshmallow feeling. The cake is exceptionally light in texture. This is definitely something I want to try again.
For my tea, I went with a white tea. This is a very light tea. Even after steeping the flavour doesn’t overwhelm. It made a great complement to the Lamington. High Tea Bakery is definitely a place you should visit. If you live in the area, I would even say you should visit it regularly. The space is charming, the staff is warm and caring, and finally the food and drink is outstanding.