Living in a modern urban city, we are blessed with a classic assortment of fine afternoon tea options to choose from. Today, I will be talking about the Urban Tea Merchant, located centrally in Downtown Vancouver and a short walk from Pacific Centre.
The Urban Tea Merchant has distribution rights to TWG teas, which is what they exclusively serve. It was my first time visiting last month, but my girlfriend has been there several times before. The first floor is comprised of their retail section containing walls of charmingly packaging teas as well as tea-infused candles and other goods. There is seating next to this section, and the main dining area is upstairs on the second floor. The interior décor was more classic and European-inspired; it felt like we were in a tea salon on the streets of Paris!
We ordered the “Traditional Afternoon Tea Set” ($42 per person) and it came with a variety of sandwiches, two scones with jelly and cream, as well as a beautiful display of desserts on the third tier of the serving platter. You can choose from literally hundreds of teas on the list they carry, which are all TWG brand. My lovely friend chose a simple black tea (Number One) while I opted for a fruity one (Grand Wedding). Honestly, the food was alright but comparing it to Fairmont standards (both the Hotel Vancouver and Pacific Rim locations), it could have been better for the premium price.
The service, fortunately for us that day, was amazing. Our server was extremely attentive, bringing up the tea leaves for us to smell and refilling our teapots partway through. We must have drank four pots of tea that day, it was a lot! More importantly, we were never rushed and given as much time as we wanted to have girl talk and chat over our desserts. The staff in the retail section of the store were equally knowledgeable and very helpful when showcasing their products. This location is renovating with a new design concept, and I will be looking forward to trying the Urban Tea Merchant again when it reopens later this fall.