Who doesn’t love high tea? There is something special about choosing from a list of fancy teas and then enjoying your selection alongside treats with fancy cups that make you want to stick out your pinky and speak in a British accent. Just me? Ok then.
HIgh tea is a classic tradition from the United Kingdom that is growing in popularity in North America. There are a numbers of hotels, bakeries and restaurants that have added high tea service to their menus and I have tried a handful in Toronto. When I heard about Hy-Tea Restaurant and Teahouse, I really wanted to give it a try as it sounded truly unique and intriguing. Hy-Tea is a British and Jamaican casual eatery and tearoom. This makes perfect sense with all the British influence in the Caribbean , but I have never been to or heard of a West Indian inspired teahouse. I simply had to check this spot out and share on TNL.
Hy- Tea is located near the water at Frenchman Bay in the city of Pickering. For those unfamiliar with the greater Toronto area, Pickering is a city located just east of us. It is easily accessible on the highway and the area is much quieter than the areas on beach that are located closer to downtown Toronto.
The small tea room has a quaint and authentic feel . It seats just under thirty people and has a welcoming fireplace.
There is also a small patio in front of Hy-Tea that seats ten people. . Two small bathrooms are located just off the main seating area inside. The teahouse features photographs and artwork. It has character yet is cozy and inviting.
We opted to sit on the patio on our Hy-Tea visit to soak up some sun and do some people watching. Ok, ok…a bit of Pokémon hunting happened too.
We were greeted warmly by the owner of Hy-Tea, Hyacinth as soon as we entered. She was animated and warm. She asked our names right away and welcomed us in like family. She, and her helper John were kind and attentive for the duration of our visit. Food was presented in a timely manner and they came out often to check on us, without hovering. When asked about her shop, Hyacinth proudly told us that Hy-Tea had been at Pickering beach for eleven years! I think this can definitely be contributed to her warmth and hospitality.
The high tea service at Hy-Tea is brought out in three phases. Firstly , you order from an impressive list of tea. Coffee is also available. I chose a coconut tea and it was brought out piping hot in a lovely little teapot.
Next , a three tiered platter was brought out with sandwiches. It included egg salad, tuna salad, meat and cheese and cucumber opened face sandwiches. The sandwiches were less refined than I have found at other tea services. Pieces were quite small and they were not particularly gourmet in any way. I am also not a fan of egg salad so the top tier was a no go for me.
The last round featured a two tiered platter. This sweet selection had sme fruit on the top. There was VERY little fruit, especially when you consider that it is intended for two people. The lower tier had a scone and brownie for each of us. These were certainly the high point of the food service. The scones were warm and delicious with the supplied fruit preserves and clotted cream.
The high tea service at Hy-Tea is $29.95 per person. Considering the amount and quality of the food I don’t feel it was of very high value. I can think of a handful of high tea services in the city where for a comparable price or slightly more , I have enjoyed a much more elaborate spread.
While I enjoyed my visit to Hy-Tea and look forward to returning, it will not be for high tea service. I would return for tea on it’s own or to see whether or not their regular a la carte menu items are better value. This really could be a little gem of a spot because of its lovely staff and location, so I look forward to giving it another try. For now , I am disappointed to report that I remain underwhelmed.
Hy-Tea is located at 1295 Wharf St in Pickering, (905) 831-7710