TBuds (Toronto)

Head up the stairs off uptown Yonge Street and you’re transported into Tbuds. While their décor is dated and there’s an obtrusive cluttered tea shelf at the back that leaves me wanting to call The Home Edit, it’s still a calming environment with dimmed lighting and spa music playing throughout the dining room.

The classic afternoon tea menu ($38) begins with a hot pot of tea selected from an extensive two-page listing. I stick with a traditional black tea that allows me to include a splash of oat milk into it without drowning out the tea flavours. If you’re waiting on a guest, look through their tea descriptions. Someone poetic crafted them; such the description of how black Ceylon spring valley tea leaves are created through “warm sunshine following tropical monsoons with cold nights”.

As the tea tower is prepared, a two-bite leek quiche and simple caprese salad tie us over. If you’re the type of person who skips breakfast and lunch before heading to afternoon tea, you’ll appreciate these pre-tea light bites.

However, if you’re like me and never skip a meal, I’d forgo the microwave re-heated quiche to save room for Tbuds amazing scones. They have a lovely crispy crust that breaks easily to reveal a soft fluffy centre and aren’t overly sweet so you can slather it with mascarpone cream and jam. Too bad they are so stingy with the condiments, providing enough for two scones at most. In fact, if anything we need more of the mascarpone cream as it’s lighter and less buttery than traditional clotted cream.

Their sandwiches each incorporates an herb and a creamy element. We loved them all: the egg salad is enhanced with a bit of chives, the cucumber sandwich is sliced paper thin and uses an herbed cream cheese, the curried chicken includes a refreshing chutney, and even the sun-dried tomato and cheddar combination surprisingly works. With six sandwiches to a person, it makes for a filling meal.

The tower is capped off with fresh soft macarons that have a vibrant fruity flavour and luscious cream. The other petit fours – a fruit tart and ultra-decadent salted chocolate square – are less impressive but nonetheless decent.

While Tbuds lacks the elegant atmosphere of other tea establishments, their delicious food (lack of clotted cream aside) and impressive tea selection holds up to their competitors. As a bonus, since they specialize in tea service, it’s offered daily with reservations until 4:45pm. If you love having breakfast for dinner, imagine having afternoon tea for the evening meal.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3343 Yonge Street, 2nd floor

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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