Afternoon Tea at The Roof (Fairmont Hotel Vancouver)

Dear readers!

I’m terribly sorry for the hiatus but it’s been a busy summer and I’m in the middle of packing for the gazillionth move of my life (not joking; have most likely moved more than my own age). Probably only a handful of my friends read my blog posts (thank you very much sweethearts!) anyway, but I thought I should write about my experience at The Roof, one month after my birthday.

Ever since The Roof Restaurant + Bar at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver reopened in March 2014, I had been planning to have afternoon tea there. When plans to go with friends fell through, I decided that no matter what, I would have to treat myself to a birthday afternoon tea there.

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The sign at the entrance on the 15th floor

Afternoon tea is served daily from 2:30-4 (1-4pm on weekends) for $49 per adult. I’d somehow thought it used to be around $40-42 when I first celebrated my birthday with afternoon tea at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in 2008. (At the time, afternoon tea was served in the lounge which is now being renovated to bring back the glamour of the olden days. I can’t wait to see it and I hope it’s everything – if not more – that I’m imagining it to be.) Nevertheless, this is expected from the Fairmont hotel chain so be prepared to splurge at the hotel.

The lounge is currently under renovation. It should be completed by winter 2014.

The lounge is currently under renovation. It should be completed by winter 2014.

Last year, I had a tour of The Roof before it had undergone renovations. The room screamed everything tasteless about the 1970’s (at least in my opinion; I’m clearly not a fan of that decade) save for one ornate wooden liquor cabinet resembling the Hotel Vancouver.

Top: Hotel Vancouver Replica Cabinet. Bottom: hideous 1970’s interiors

The latter was not present when I visited the renovated Roof in July 2014. I am not sure if it will be used in a different room or if it is collecting dust in storage but I think it should return to the bar where I last saw it. When I heard that the room would be renovated to bring back the glamourous days of old, I was really expecting something from the 1920’s-30’s with dazzling chandeliers. Well, what I saw was rather disappointing. It looked like a regular lounge, nice but not spectacular. Half of it was a restaurant, where the afternoon tea takes place, and the other half was a bar. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to having my afternoon tea with a view.

The view from the ladies' room was not too different from the table where I sat

The view of Burrard St from my table was not too different from the ladies’ room, where I took this photo.

I felt as if I had sat for an eternity, staring out the window whilst sipping my tea*, before I was finally served a Yogurt Panna Cotta. I forgot to take a photo of it but it was delicious. It was another while before I was served a savoury plate of creamed asparagus tartlet and a chicken & apple sausage roll. I was beginning to wonder if The Roof served afternoon tea without the three-tier tea tray when the very tray arrived with my savoury and sweets. Interestingly enough, the scones were on top, rather than in the middle, where I usually see it.

*I had a cup of the 1907 Centennial Blend from India, a limited edition commemorative brew: a blend of Kenmare, rich Imperial Keemun, malty Assam from Borengajuli estate, full-bodied Assam from Keyhung, a South Indian tea from Nonesuch estate, and Earl Grey. As it was quite strong, I gave in and added milk and sugar.

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Take a look in the Afternoon Tea

link for details

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Close up of the sweets & savoury plates

I’m not sure how I made it through the delectable treats but I did have to have three pastries packed to go. This is the problem when you first fill your tummy with tea. Too much tea. My favourite item was the Curried Free Range Chicken, Branston Pickle Caraway Roll. I thought it would be my least favourite since it looked like it would be messy to eat but I managed not to cover my face with curry. As for the dessert, I went for the cassis macaron first. Macarons, after all, are one of my favourite treats, after crème brûlées.

Overall, for the price I had to pay, I decided that I would have enjoyed my experience more if:

1) I were with friends

2) the music were consistent (jazz or classical)

3) the décor were more old-fashioned

I left with a full belly but wished that I had gone to my favourite afternoon tea place, The Urban Tea Merchant, instead for my birthday. Nevertheless, my tea for one experience was not completely awful and I concluded my visit to the Fairmont with a pleasant conversation on travel destinations with an employee.

My suggestion is that you go for drinks or dinner with company at The Roof before the pop-up restaurant closes or ‘disappears’ this autumn/winter. I generally always enjoy my time at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

Finally, not quite related to The Roof but it is on the same floor, I present to you my review of the ladies’ room. The ‘powder room’ (or where the mirrors and sinks were) was simple but elegant.

IMG_8660The lavatory, on the other hand, appeared to have remained in the 70’s or whichever decade it was last renovated in. Not to say that it was in such a poor state but I found it very peculiar. They were all in working order so do not let the doors put you off. Just pretend you stepped back in time. ;P

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