With a coupon deal, Mama Lam and I arrived at this heritage house in Yaletown — Patisserie Fur Elise — for afternoon tea on a sunny Sunday afternoon. What a beautiful place – I bet it’s a popular photo spot!
They offer a standard menu for every guest. What makes them different is that they include a Chef’s Choice Starter prior to serving us the two-tier tea set. There is around a dozen of teas to choose from. I ordered the Latte Macchiato, which is a black tea with the taste of coffee and cream. It was pretty good, almost had a caramel flavour. Mama Lam chose China Rose. Although it’s a black tea, it was relatively light with a subtle taste of rose petals. Both teas were rather light on taste, but smell wonderfully.
I quite like the extra touch of giving each guest an hourglass and a strainer. The hourglass ran for about 3 minutes, the amount of time needed to steep the tea before serving. Then we poured the tea over the strainer to avoid tea leaves getting into our cup of tea.
Our Chef’s Choice Starter was the Orange Caramel Creme Brulee. The creme brulee was made with vanilla beans, creamy and not too sweet. The orange caramel was of good consistency and had a nutty flavour. I thought I tasted some liquer in the sauce but I wasn’t sure.
Then came our two-tier tea set, with one plate of savouries, and one of sweets.
We started with the plate of savouries, which included the following (in the order of my recommended eating order):
- Cucumber Dill Finger Sandwich: I didn’t really like that the two slices of cucumber sat on top of the sandwich, making it difficult to eat. The flavour was very light, borderline bland.
- Bocconcini and Havarti Skewer: I thought it’s an interesting substitute to another sandwich on the plate. Salad on a stick.
- Smoked Salmon Brioche: I’m a sucker for brioche, and this was nice and fluffy. Paired quite well with the smoked salmon and lettuce.
- Prosciutto, Brie and Fresh Basil Sandwich: The prosciutto, thankfully, wasn’t too salty. Brie combined with croissant made this a rich, buttery, creamy sandwich.
The Scones were served cold so they were a bit crumbly. It would be better if they were warm. I did like that it’s served with house-made jam. Everything tastes better with house-made product.
I found the plate of sweets to be quite unique when it comes to flavour profile and appearance (again, in the order of my recommended eating order):
- Lemon Cheesecake: Very light in lemon flavour, more sweet than tart. The addition of blueberry sauce actually added some tartness to it.
- Fur Elise: This is their take of a strawberry shortcake. Strawberry mousse sitting on top of a thin sponge cake, whipped cream and dried strawberry sprinkles. Strawberry flavour was accented with the dried strawberry sprinkles.
- Vanilla and Chocolate Macarons: Decent size. I prefer the chocolate one because it’s richer and the flavour was stronger. They were not as chewy as I would like.
- Green Tea Chocolate Ganache with Red Bean: An Asian-inspired dessert. The matcha flavour was very prominent and the red bean paste added a different texture to the mousse.
- Orange Dulce Daisy Tartlet: This was the sweetest piece on the plate thanks to the dulce de leche. Noticeable orange flavour. The tart shell was a bit dry though.
Overall I found the flavours to be on the light side. And there were a lot of mousse-like texture. I wish they would diversify from the texture perspective so not everything is gelatinous.
It was a busy Sunday afternoon and the tea house was fully booked. But the servers were a bit spacey. We were asked to place an order without even giving us the menu, then were abandoned for a good 10-15 minutes before I flagged down a server to take our tea order, and waited for quite some time before the tower got to our table.
It seems like they assemble all the sandwiches to order, which helps keeping them from turning soggy, and it’s probably why it took them so long. That being said, there were 4 servers, and the tea house isn’t very big, and there’s only one menu. With a proper “production line” I would expect them to turn things around much quicker.
On a positive note, I have to give them props for the decor. The Victorian-style, fairy-tale like decor, with servers in a floral uniform and apron — this could be the tea party in Alice in Wonderland, except this is much more peaceful and soothing. Everything is just whimsical here.
Lastly, only the second floor is the tea room. The main floor is actually its retail space. You can purchase macarons, cakes and pastries, as well as their house-made preserves and jelly. Their bakery is also in the building. We could smell the fresh scent of macarons while we were there.
Of all the afternoon tea experiences that I’ve had, the quality of food and tea definitely isn’t the strongest at Patisserie Fur Elise. But the decor is bar none compared to other venues and that makes up for it. For $30 per person I thought this makes a great location for special occasions such as bridal shower or a girls’ day out. Remember to make reservations or else you may get sent home feeling disappointed.
Patisserie Fur Elise
847 Hamilton street, Vancouver