I love Sunday Funday! It’s a day to chill, relax, being lazy without feeling guilty about it. Even if I just walk around, grab a coffee, read a magazine, listen to some gentle music, these activities generate numerous precious moments on a Sunday Funday.
A lot of peeps love to do a Sunday Brunch as it consists the best of two worlds in breakfast and lunch items. But what if you want to wake up later on a Sunday afternoon, not super hungry but just simply want to munch on some snacks or small bites instead? Perhaps a nice high-tea Sunday at the Windsor Arms would be a great start. In case you haven’t known, Windsor Arms is one of the famous, respected and well-known high-tea places in Toronto. Everything is perfect, from its location situated in the nice Yorkville area, to its historical architecture and to the atmosphere of the “Tea Room“. The mood is right for a nice Sunday Afternoon. Windsor Arms have the well-known pastry team that generated the most consistent and delicious high-tea items you will find in the city since 1927.
Today was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we parked the car beside the hotel (NOTE: There are plenty of street level parking spots as well as a Green P located beside the Windsor Arms). The moment we approached the entrance, the friendly doorman, dressed in heavy warm winter coat, opened the door for us. As we approached the counter near the lobby, the hostess greeted and welcomed us.
Sunday high-tea has various sitting time, from 12:30 pm; 1:00 pm; 3:00 pm or 3:30 pm. basically there are 4 different sittings that you can choose from. If you want to sleep-in, you can wake up later and take the 3:30 pm high-tea sitting. Every sitting lasts 2 hours and to tell you the truth, 2 hours give you ample amount of time to relax. You will never be rushed, you can trust me on that!
Our reservation was at 1:00 pm, but the hostess informed us that our table isn’t ready as the group was finishing up. Instead of having us waiting in the lobby, our hostess, Stephanie kindly guided us to “The Living Room” and seated us on a comfy sofa and table, so that we can relax and enjoyed the setting. Stephanie informed the staff that we were waiting for our high-tea table, so the friendly staff asked if we need anything to drink. Since we were going for high-tea, we wanted our taste buds to stay neutral, so we requested ice water. Within minutes, she came back with the refreshing water. Kudos to the team for handling the situation nicely. Not only it was a pleasant experience to check out “The Living Room” (lounge) but it made us felt very welcome. Instead of making us standing around the lobby awkwardly, they handled the situation flawlessly. So that was a nice touch!
After about 8 minutes of wait, Stephanie came back and guided us to our high-tea table. The moment we walked behind the semi-curtain, I could see the Tea Room was separated into a few compartments. Each section had its own flavour in terms of the decor. But all sections shared one theme, which was delivering a warm, cozy and relaxing atmosphere. We were seated at the corner of the room with a window looking out onto the street. As I scanned around the room, everyone dressed classy but comfortably as well. You don’t have to dress crazy in this setting, it’s what I called “Comfort Smart”, which was to wear something comfortable but yet smart and fashionably appropriate. As usual, I bought my “hat game” wearing my big hat. Hats and high-tea are quite often connected hand-in-hand, dating back to the history of the ancient days. Hence, at one of the corners of the room, you could see at least 20 plus female hats available for the ladies to wear (with a small fee for wearing the hat throughout the high-tea experience and for the photo opportunity, all proceeds are donated for a charitable organization, see the MoVernie Tips at the end of this BLOG to learn more about the initiative by the Windsor Arms). I didn’t see any male fancy hats and I would love to see some gentlemen hats available in the future for the men to wear and complement the lovely ladies.
Our server, Cinthia came and greeted us. She welcomed us and explained how the high-tea works at the Tea Room. Basically, each individual can order their own teapot of tea. A tower of goodies includes fresh scones and in-house jam and Devon Cream, fresh sandwiches roll in delicate forms, tarts and dessert will be provided. Each of us were given a tea menu, there was a variety of tea choices that ranged from different parts of the world. The menu even provided information about which tea leaves were “O=Organic or FT=Fair Trade”. So, I asked my manager, aka MoKenny, who is a coffee and tea lover, the meaning of “Fair Trade”. He said “Fair Trade means the products came from farmers and workers who were justly compensated. The justified compensation help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities”. I was impressed with my manager’s knowledge but also impressed that the Tea Room tried to incorporate as many tea choices on its menu to be categorized as Fair Trade. Although it’s hard to get every tea leaves to be Fair Trade and also being the best quality, but you could see many tea leaves on the menu were dominated by the “FT” letterings.
Cinthia came over and asked if we had any questions about the tea choices. We all knew what we were ordering. I chose the “Twilight” tea leaves that have a flavour of organic lavender and black tea. (NOTE: If you are unsure what tea leaves fit your taste, I highly recommend you to ask your servers for their suggestions. These are highly trained staff who can best find a tea flavour that best fits your taste bud). Mine was a no brainer as I love anything with lavender and I want to try black tea.
About 10 minutes later, Cinthia came back with teapots of the tea that we ordered. It’s awesome when we can have our own teapot and enjoying our own flavour of tea choices, now that’s my type of “Baller” tea style. LOL. Each teapot came in different sizes and design. Some had nice art work on the ceramic teapots. Meanwhile, most had a normal white teapot. In my personal opinion, I would prefer most teapots to be more artistic or colourful than a plain white teapot. That’s because to me, the artwork on the teapot add extra experience to the high-tea experience and I could easily purchase a plain white teapot anywhere. However, that’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s a minor MoVernie suggestion.
On our table, you could see the precision and every bits of details setup by the server. The comfy chairs, table cloth, the chinaware set up in front of everyone. I love the silver tongs that will be used to clam the food items as well as the tea leaves separators to be used to filtered the leaves when pouring out the hot tea.
After allowing the tea leaves to steam itself inside the teapot for a while, I had decided to put the tea leaves separator on top of my lovely china cup. Residues of the leaves were filtered by the separator. I began to sip the tea, it was delicious, exactly the flavour that I like.
Moments later, Cinthia brought in a tower of goodies that was separated by 3 levels. The ground level had a number of freshly baked plain or raisin scones as well as goat cheese and caramelized shallot tarts. On a separate plate, they provided fresh strawberry and blueberry jam and Devon Cream for the scones.
Sitting in the 2nd level were the variety of sandwiches rolls. There were potato blinis with smoked salmon rosette, pinwheel egg salad, vegetarian with sundried tomato paste and dill cream cheese & croque monsieur (ham & cheese).
And on the penthouse level sat all the mini desserts that would be loved by sweet tooth lovers. It’s a dessert platter with 6 different types of dessert, so there has to be at least 1 type that you love. The platter ranged from macaron, Opera cake, chocolate mousse and other sweet goodies. I looked around the room and you could see everyone had a happy face as soon as they spotted these lovely pastries.
What I like about this tower of goodies was how freshly made these pastries were. Many of these items were small and delicate and required precision and great culinary dexterity to make them look so good. The moment I tasted every item, the use of fresh and authentic ingredients were evident. Those jams and Devon Cream, the perfect texture and the amazing spread on the fresh scones were phenomenal. You can’t generate such an even spread on any bakery if the ingredients were frozen or just came out from the fridge, if you know what I mean.
At the end, Cinthia presented each of us a nice plate of Whipped Cream with fresh blueberries and raspberries. It was not listed in the menu but a bonus surprise! It was a tasty dish and the fruits were fresh and not too sour or too sweet, it was perfect for my taste!
All-in-all, it was a wonderful high-tea experience at The Tea Room inside the Windsor Arms. It was a lovely and relaxing Sunday afternoon very well-spent. Great food, high quality of tea and excellent service by the Windsor Arms team. If you ask me if I would ever come back for future visits? Without hesitation, I would definitely come back, which is a big “YES”! It’s a total high-tea experience.
And the finale after the high-tea? Being able to walk around the beautiful Yorkville area, checking out different clothing and shoe stores or just chilling along the streets on a Sunday Funday would definitely added the overall enjoyment of the high-tea experience.
Monday to Friday – $38.00 /person
Saturday & Sunday – $45.00/person
December pricing – $55.00/person
*Holidays (December 23 thru 26th, December 31 & January 1st) –
– The Tea Room is basically divided into 3 sections, with each section having a different theme, colour curtains and furniture. If it is your first visit, then it doesn’t matter where you sit because every table is good and have its own flavour. But if you are going on a 2nd or 3rd visit, perhaps you can request to sit at different room, giving you a re-new high-tea experience every time.
- Includes (from Tea Menu)
- 5 Sandwiches / 1 Tart / 2 Scones / 2 Petit Fours
- $25.00 / person
– Did you know The Tea Room also offers “Twilight” Tea Menu? Instead of having high-tea in the afternoon, you can high-tea at the twilight times at 5:30 pm or 6:00 pm. That’s perfect for people who want to drink a hot teapot of tea and want to take a break from drinking a glass of beer or wine.
– If you live in the REAL “WeTheNorth” and don’t want to drive a few hours to come to downtown Toronto to enjoy high tea, not to worry! The high-tea is also served at the Windsor Arms’s sister property, Eganridge Inn, Golf and Spa, which is in the heart of the Kawartha’s, overlooking Sturgeon Lake and less than 2 hours from Toronto. Same great high-tea experience at a different venue.
– If you want Gluten Free Menu, it’s available with 24-hour advance notice.
My Sunday High-Tea Experience was covered by Windsor Arms. However, as always, all reviews and opinions are entirely my own.
Follow my journey on Instagram (@RealMoVernie) and Twitter (@MoVernie) for more awesome pictures and videos.
And MoVernie is outta here!
Tea Room at The Windsor Arms
18 St. Thomas Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3E7