Showing posts with label tea sandwich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tea sandwich. Show all posts

The Old Mill House for afternoon tea (Toronto)


There aren’t many ventures that have been around for over a century. The Old Mill is part of this cohort and since it’s opening in 1914 has been a staple institution in Etobicoke. Located right on the subway line, it’s convenient to get to but far enough from Toronto’s downtown core to feel like you’ve stepped away for a moment.

Since its beginnings, they’ve also offered afternoon tea. Truthfully, having visited about eight years ago when scouting it as a potential bridal shower location, their tea service was underwhelming. In 2019, they finally revamped the menu and now offer a daily tea service for $39 a person, an increase from the past but still more affordable than some of other options in the city.


Their menu starts with a selection of Sloane teas where samples are presented at the table so guests can smell and see the leaves. The Darjeeling 2nd flush sounded mighty, the menu touting it as the “champagne of tea”. Yet, despite the darker hue, it tasted too mellow for me. I crave something that has more of a floral finish.


Their sandwiches aren’t necessarily dainty but leaves you really full. Without a doubt, the smoked chicken and apple salad was the tastiest of the bunch - a huge flavourful mound of the chunky salad sitting on a fresh mini brioche bun.


On the other hand, the bagel used on the cucumber sandwich and pumpernickel for the salmon gravlax were both cold and dry. While I appreciate restaurants trying something new and different, sometimes things should also follow tradition. Something like a cucumber sandwich, which is meant to be light and delicate, a hard crumbly bagel is the last thing we needed.

I’m still waiting for the day when restaurants will provide a sweet or savoury afternoon tea option. In a heartbeat, I’d trade in the sweet plates for more sandwiches or scones. The best part of the plate was probably the large sweet and juicy strawberry dipped in dark chocolate.


As for everything else: the chocolate cupcake with Belgian chocolate mousse looked moist but my teeth ached looking at it so I abstained; the lemon meringue tartlet was a favourite amongst the table; and the gold leaf garnished French macarons arrive with different flavours so you can swap amongst the table.

The most important part of afternoon tea – for me and most people – are the scones. These were scrumptious! Guests receive savoury (cheddar and chive) and sweet (cranberry) scones. Both were warm and breaks apart easily to reveal a fluffy soft centre while the crust was slightly crispy and baked until golden.


If only they weren’t so stingy with the Devonshire cream … really that tablespoon portion can barely cover one scone. Sure, they also offer a selection of Greaves preserves (strawberry, raspberry, and marmalade), but what makes the scones is the cream. More Devonshire for all!

Even The Old Mill’s service has improved. Our tea started with a complimentary glass of the Mill-mosa (oh the puns!). While this free version is made from 95% orange juice and 5% sparkling wine, it was still a nice gesture.



You’ve heard it before: businesses must change or fail. It’s nice to see The Old Mill update their menu to offer something better. It’s hopefully these improvements that will help the business succeed for another century.  


Overall mark - 7 out of 10



How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 9 Old Mill Road

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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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Old Mill Dining Room - Old Mill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Afternoon tea at the Ritz Cafe (Toronto)


Afternoon tea conjures up images of flowers, frilly hats, and plate tiers holding two-bite delights. Alas, it also reminds me of stuffy traditions, odd eating times, and long periods of sitting. Hence, I was intrigued about the casual weekday option at the Ritz Café ($28 per person) – noon reservations are allowed, there’s no dress code, and you’re given a decent amount of food that could work as a lunch without leaving you stuffed. 

The tea selection includes six Sloan Leaf options. While the Signature Black isn’t the most aromatic, it’s a strong full-bodied tea, which I find is required to hold up against all the sweets.

In lieu of the tiered plate tower, a decorative holder arrives instead. While pretty to look at, it’s difficult to use as you need to keep swiveling it to the side (on a small packed table) to extract food. For anyone who’s clumsy, I’d approach removing the middle items carefully.


I’m always partial to the tea sandwiches. Ritz Café offers four with the afternoon tea: a traditional cucumber and dill cream cheese that’s open faced and incorporates strong dill flavours; smoked salmon with pickled onion stuff in a croissant; a ham and cheddar in a bun that’s way too hard; and the best of the bunch, a mustardy egg salad enhanced with celery seeds.

Of course, it’s not tea without scones. While, I personally prefer one large one to two small scones (so there’s more of the fluffy innards), Ritz’s scones were warm and thankfully didn’t contain any fruit to allow the Devonshire cream and selection of Graves preserves to flavour the biscuit.


To end the meal off on a sweet note, a selection of desserts including a creamy lemon cheese cake; a really chocolatey and overly sweet macaron; and a tasty raspberry tart that had a light crispy shortbread crust.

For anyone who enjoys afternoon tea amongst a casual atmosphere at an affordable price point, the Ritz Café’s weekday menu is a great option to get your fix of all the traditional aspects of tea, without the pomp and fuss. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 181 Wellington Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



DEQ Terrace & Lounge - The Ritz-Carlton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato