Each high tea service is so different from one to another. The setting and what is served, contributes to this uniqueness of experience. So on a mission to try it all, and deem on best, I found myself here for afternoon tea with a girlfriend.
An all charcoal black paint job with matching black patio tables and black chairs out front. It wasn’t very telling from looks alone. Lace dollies and pastel tones were well hidden.
The restautant’s whimsical name delivered on its promise for fantasy and fun. There was just so much to see. Most of it what you’d imagine a faerie or sprite would approve of. It made it all the more accurate to its name. Antique furniture refurbished became showcases for things they sold: bags of teas, diffusers, pots of honey, and delicate cups to hold your pinkies up with. Everything you needed to host your own regal tea party at home.
Their namesake was referenced literally in a quote, as well, it made an appearance as a decal on the ceiling’s trim. A shadow of Peter leading Wendy on her adventure of a life time. And the thought “Would you like an adventure now, it would you like to have your tea first?”
Several crystal chandeliers adorned the ceiling, they dangled and shone while reflecting tiny rainbow against the hard wood floor under foot. Amongst them were charms hanging from repurposed branches. Painted tea cups trimmed in gold, strung up amongst angels and doves hung with literal bells on. Very whimsical.
Their work counter was towards the back, behind it was an impressive display of their own branded teas, sealed in tins. Row on row, all evenly spaced, all within the same colour palate. Framing it were various pots and cups also display. Each with delicate handles and tipped spouts. On the actual counter were covered cake trays offering loafs and biscuits ready to travel.
The seating was very cleverly set up, with the little space left maximized. A new mother enjoyed herself on their recliner by the window. Her ability to lean, allowed her baby to rest on her belly. Larger groups shared family style tables sat with various mismatching chairs. Their charm was in the fact that it mimicked the seating of any large family gathering at someone’s home. You pull all the chairs and any of the plates out of storage. Design is not issue, it is about the food and the people surrounding you.
We got a chemise couch with our own small size table each. It offered us the ability to dine side by side and talk like only how two girls catching up in a tea salon can. I find it more comfortable to talk with someone from the side.
“Neverland” also boasts an impressive bar for ladies looking to add a little kick to their tea. Not only wines, but some pretty impressive hard liquors too. And to keep with the girly theme there were plenty of pink libations to go around. They even have happy hour where it’s a free upgrade to bubbly high tea. We went ahead and indulged in this. This is the first time I have seen alcoholic beverages offered at any tea service.
“Paragon”. Pink lemonade fruit tea, lemon vodka, galliano. “Royal Albert”. Bumble berry fruit tea, floral vodka, and pink grapefruit liquor. Given the summer’s heat this was more refreshing as a chilled cocktail than a hot tea. Though we would still have steeped tea, but with the option to have it chilled with ice cubes and served with plastic straws.
The high tea service meal is set. Served on a three tiered tray, it is levels of savoury to sweet. We used the listing to decide what to eat first, starting with the various finger sandwiches and working our way through dessert. The server was great at pointing out each item by name and providing commentary when necessary. I found the entire assortment as a whole, a twist on the regular. An additional pinch of spice, a new complimentary ingredient, and each classic is born again.
Starting with the “Lemon herbed cream cheese, cucumber, and arugula on whole wheat”. Not just your regular cucumber sandwich. Now renewed with the equally fresh flavours of zesty lemon and peppery arugula. It was definitely the refreshing light start we expected.
The “Chicken salad with tarragon, salt roasted pears, walnuts, and globe grapes” was like enjoying a fancy chicken salad between bread. Creamy from the mayo, spicy from the seasonings, sweet from the fruit; and the walnuts were just a nice addition for crunch.
The “Curried egg salad with shaved cucumber and cilantro” was a grown up version of an egg salad sandwich. Slightly dry, very fragrant, and surprisingly light.
“Warm fig chutney and ripe Brie on a mini croissant”. Who doesn’t like salty Brie paired with a sweet jelly? This reminded me of a grown up cheese and jam sandwich.
“Caprese on focaccia with arugula pesto, Pune nuts, and Asiago. Classic Italian flavours from bold ingredients, you can’t lose. The tomatoes looked so vibrant, like they beckoned you from the plate.
We then finished our sparkling teas, and switched over to our regular tea, served chilled in glasses. Shame the heat prevented us from enjoying the full high tea experience: a slow steeped hot tea. Effervescent teas served in dainty, floral cups. Sadly we did not take advantage of their “never-ending” tea refills”
“Berry me in champagne” lured me in with its name. A delicate Pai Mu Tan white tea, described as “being accentuated with the luxurious aroma of champagne”. I could only taste the lingering sweet raspberry scent the menu described. It was a little much for the same menu listing to say it will “leave you feeling elegant and pampered”. It was good, but not that good. It tasted like lightly flavoured water.
And here again they were very flowery in their description. “Peaches and dreams”. A sweet light tea makes a very fruity beverage. A blend of eight green and white teas that are “lively and smooth”. “Bursting with tropical fruit flavour”, it was more like watered down grape juice. Though decently flavourful for tea.
Traditional scones served with strawberry jam and Devonshire cream.
“Lemon curd and blackberry marshmallow on a thyme shortbread crust”. This was my favourite of all the desserts. I am partial to lemon bars. The top layer was light and fluffy, like a rolled out jelly and marshmallow mix. Its flavour, a cherry lemonade.
“Mango passion fruit cheesecake with macaroon base”. It was tropical. The top two layers were whipped smooth, so I found the gritty crust a distraction. The dried coconut shreds got stuck in my teeth. I didn’t like this much purely for its texture.
“Creme brûlée tart with rhubarb and fresh strawberries”. The rhubarb made the dessert a little sour. An easy remedy if we have the caramelized burnt sugar indicative of a creme brûlée.
“Chai mousse layered with chocolate sponge.” Rich robes of chocolate, perfect for those who love chocolate and love it a lot. A like your spoon clean sort of dessert.
When it was time to pay the bill, it was presented in a silver milk pourer along with a baggy of their own loose leaf tea. “Pink lemonade”, tisane. What a nice touch, and a nice way to later reflect fondly back to your meal.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Hands down, my new favourite place for high tea. The decor is whimsical and fun, a sweet place to feel childlike in. Though the food alone is reason to go. Compared to other tea services they are more playful with their flavours. They take traditional high tea pastries and finger sandwiches, and give it a meaningful twist. It gives you a reason to come back to them, no one else does what they do. Cucumber sandwiches with a lemon and herd cream cheese, an egg salad sandwich with curry powder, and a chicken salad sandwich with sweet fruits. And the desserts were the merger of two stand alone treats, made more successful together. Creme brûlée with strawberry rhubarb pie, cheesecake with macaroons, and a marshmallow meets shortbread combination. Definitely a cut above. Don’t deny your cravings.