Tea Experience: Indigo Age Cafe

Indigo Age Cafe
Vancouver, BC
Raw Vegan High Tea – $34 each

I went to Indigo Age Cafe for the first, and last, time back in late January. I had received a Groupon for the high tea for two for my birthday. Unfortunately, Indigo Age Cafe had closed the first of February this year, which is disappointing since it certainly looked like there were a lot of fans of this cafe both in person and online.

Indigo Age Cafe was located in Vancouver, BC and offered a very unique take on high tea by having a mostly raw vegan menu. The entire restaurant featured raw vegan and vegetarian foods, so it was really quite something to experience as it was literally like nothing I had experienced before – and nor do I think I’ll be able to experience again. The entrance was at street level, with some short steps to reach the entrance. The tables were wood slabs that featured the natural shape of the trees, which I thought was fascinating. The high tea was offered by reservation only.

The tea selection featured a few each of black tea, green tea, rooibos, herbal tisanes and yerba mate. I opted for a flavoured black tea, Wild Strawberry Cream (ingredients: India Ceylon, strawberry oil, cream aroma, rose petals – described as organic fair trade). My friend and I each received a tea-for-one set with our respective teas in it. I really enjoyed mine – it had a lovely strawberry flavour that wasn’t too coyingly sweet or artificial tasting.

The food arrived on a three-tier stand. No scones for this high tea set!

On the bottom, there was a waffle, a samosa, a cucumber wrap with a veggie slider patty, a spring roll in rice paper, and a mushroom cap with shredded carrots. A lot of avocado on this level, which was great because I love avocado as much as the next girl. My favourites were the cucumber wrap, although a bit messy to eat, and the samosa for having such brilliantly bright flavours.

On the second tier were stuffed cucumber and tomato. The ‘cheese’ used was cashew base and honestly if nobody told me that it wasn’t real cheese, I might not have believed them. The cucumber had some great dill notes, but wasn’t my favourite overall.

For desserts there was this lovely blueberry ‘cheese’ cake and a coconut cream panna cotta that was basically to die for. So light and airy, but so rich at the same time. I liked both desserts and thought that they were both really well done.

I found that Indigo Age Cafe definitely had a lighter feeling high tea menu set – I didn’t feel stuffed at the end of it, but I wasn’t hungry either. I think the lightness of the dessert certainly helped. The service was lovely and there was a lot of smart and creative culinary choices made with the menu. As someone who’s not vegan or vegetarian, it was all very pleasant and tasty.

I really did enjoy my visit to Indigo Age Cafe – and I’m really sad that I won’t be able to have a second visit. There were some really great decisions made with the menu that I enjoyed – from the avocado, to the little slider patty and that delicious panna cotta on top. As much more people strive towards a more plant-based diet, I do hope that more Vancouver-based tea salons opt to have a more vegetarian or vegan friendly menu set, even if it doesn’t involve all the avocado (which I wouldn’t say no to…).

Tea Experience: Cakes n Sweets Bakery

Cakes n Sweets Bakery
Coquitlam, BC
High Tea – $24.95 each

I went to Cakes n Sweets Bakery last month as part of my birthday celebrations – after all, how else would I celebrate turning yet another year older than with tea? Cake n Sweets Bakery is located in a small strip mall in Coquitlam, BC. Cakes n Sweets Bakery is primarily a bakery, afternoon tea is served almost every day, but reservations are required and they offer a discount if you order an afternoon tea to-go.

Cakes n Sweets offers their regular high tea menu, along with a gluten-free ($28.95 each) and children’s menu ($14.95 each). Due to the nature of their recipes, they’re unable to accomodate dairy-free or vegan options. Just something to consider if you fall into either of those categories!

When you walk into Cakes n Sweets, you’re first greeted by a gorgeous display case with all the desserts you can purchase à la carte (which is really pretty, by the way). We were seated at a cute table that had the menus, teacups and saucer sets, and cutlery.

The tea menu isn’t pages long, but it has a good selection with options from black, green, rooibos, and even a kiddo friendly option called Bubblegum. I opted for my standard Earl Grey with added sugar cubes and cream for extra decadence. The tea itself didn’t overwhelm me, but it did pair really well with the savouries and sweets.

The food arrived on a two-tier cake stand – with the savouries and scones on the bottom with all the sweets on top. The sweets included a macaron each, which we got to pick the flavours.

On the bottom tier, there were buttermilk scones with Devonshire cream & raspberry jam, three cheese quiche, egg salad on croissant, and a cucumber with lemon aioli sandwich. We each got two scones, and then one of each of everything else on the savouries tier. I really enjoyed the buttermilk scone (especially with the Devonshire cream and raspberry preserves!), as well as the quiche as it was served warm, and the cucumber with lemon aioli sandwich.

For the desserts, I picked the cookies and cream macaron. The “assorted delectable desserts” included: apple pie cupcake, chocolate ganache in a chocolate shell, and a raspberry thumbprint cookie. Hands down, my favourite was the apple pie cupcake – so flavourful! And I really enjoyed my macaron flavour selection as well – it had a great cookie cream flavour to it and the bright blue reminded me of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster.

I really enjoyed Cakes n Sweets. I found that the serving staff was attentive, and the tea and food was served at a decent time after placing our orders. I would definitely consider going back with some friends for a casual afternoon tea date – especially if those apple pie cupcakes on are the menu!

Tea Experience: Enchanted Cake Studio & Tea Salon

Enchanted Cake Studio & Tea Salon
Surrey, BC
High Tea – $26.99 each

Enchanted Cake Studio & Tea Salon is in a hidden area, near a car dealership, a hotel, and the perpetually busy Langley Bypass. The store front is almost unassuming, not giving anything away of what magic lies within, but venture in I did! The inside features all white tables, white chairs, walls, and high ceilings. Giant paper flowers adorned the walls and made the place look fun. I went on a Saturday and it was busy! There were reservations for every single table the day that I went, so I would highly recommend making a reservation so you’re not disappointed.

The place settings were beautiful. We each had a cup and saucer, as well as a plate for food. There wasn’t a physical menu for the afternoon tea food items, but there was one for the tea choices. I opted for the Organic White Peony & Jasmine blend. The nice thing about Enchanted Cake Studio & Tea Salon is that each guest receives their own teapot – both of the ones that arrived at our table were white with gold polka dots.

Organic White Peony & Jasmine had a very pleasant flavour. There was the sweetness and floral notes from the jasmine, that went really well with the white tea base, which had its own floral notes to it as well.

The food arrived on a three-tier stand – sandwiches at the bottom, followed by scones and phyllo cups, and ending off with desserts at the very top.

The sandwiches we received were: curried egg salad on croissant, cucumber on herb cream sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, smoke salmon with cream cheese on pumpernickel, and a caramelized onion pinwheel. My favourites from the sandwich tier included the curried egg salad on croissant (such a great amount of flavour!) and the smoked salmon with cream cheese on pumpernickel (for the great flavour combination).

The second tier consisted of cream scones, paired with jam and what Enchanted Cake Studio & Tea Salon calls their Enchanted Devonshire cream, along with Spanakopita phyllo cups. I loved the sugary crust to the scones – I like ’em sweet when I’m slathering on the jam and cream. I found the scones to be delicious – nice and flakey and worked well with the jam and cream! I really liked the presentation of the jam and cream as well, the use of small clear glasses worked well.

Last, but certainly not least, was my favourite tier (always!): desserts. Enchanted Cake Studio & Tea Salon explains that they often rotate through desserts. When I went, it was the brownie, lemon tart with blackberry, and custard tart with blueberry. The brownie was rich and fudgey, just the way I like it. The lemon tart had a nice balance between the sweet and tart, and the shell was buttery. The blueberry custard tart was so good, I just wish it was bigger! My favourite was definitely the lemon tart with blackberry – they did a great job balancing the flavours.

Enchanted Cake Studio & Tea Salon does a lovely job on their afternoon tea service. The best way I would describe it is as a modern take on afternoon tea – with the white minimalism, the blend of modern and classic food items, while pairing with beautiful tea cups and saucers. I really enjoyed the food and tea – I quite liked the tea that I had picked (Organic White Peony & Jasmine). I think if I go back, I’ll try the Organic Cream of Earl Grey (which is my usual afternoon tea choice, but I wanted to try something new) just for a more classic tea choice.