Saturday, 24 August 2013

Afternoon Tea @ The Dining Room, Buchart Gardens, Victoria, Vancouver Island

A visit to Victoria is never complete without visiting their top tourist attraction, Buchart Gardens located in Saanich. One can either go on the many bus tours available to the gardens, drive or take a public transit. Check out more in my Victoria post!
    When you are there, do not miss the chance to enjoy the splendour of a traditional afternoon tea at The Dining Room, a fine dining restaurant which was the original Buchart family residence. You have the option to dine in the room or outside the terrace with spectacular views of the private garden, Italian garden and Tod Inlet. 
     Since, Victoria is pretty famous with traditional English Afternoon Teas, I chose to have mine at the Buchart Garden ( tea with a purpose you would say). We were at the garden since 11am, started exploring till about 1pm before heading to The Dining Room for Afternoon Tea. Reservation is required to prevent long waits ! Apart from afternoon teas, they have menus for lunches/dinners/high-tea (for winter season) as well. They do looked pretty presentable and nice ( peeked neighbouring tables ;P).


View of the Dining Room from afar!
Their outside and inside seating. Both totally good !
A private garden-Looks like they meant to reserve this for the Queen!
Entrance to Dining Room Restaurant
After a couple of minutes wait, we were brought to our table facing the Italian garden and the Rose garden ! Amazing view ! Waitress was really friendly and attentive and we were almost immediately attended to.
We got a table with a garden view ! Felt soo English-sy!
First up was the selection of loose teas. Mum went with their exclusive loose tea Bachelor Button which was Chinese black tea and sencha tea flavored with bergamot, rhubarb and blue cornflowers while being not a tea lover, I decided not to be too adventurous and took their Mixed green tea. Both came in separate pots ( large pots !) and I suddenly felt so English @_@.
A choice of loose tea for each person !
For starters, we had their Berry Trifle which was layers of sponge cake with mixed berries and topped with fresh chantily cream. It was heavenly delicious! Probably from the walking and late lunchtime, but it was so good and refreshing!
Starters : Their very own Berry trifle ! Superb but beware that this can fill you up before you even start!
The much anticipated three-tier afternoon tea set came thereafter. The waitress did a good job in explaining so detailed on the items on each tier. We were even recommended to start with the hot (savoury) item followed by the fresh scones and jam and finally the sweet treats. 
Loving the traditional Afternoon tea set !
We started of with the hot items which we think was the best among all the items. I personally like the maple glazed smoked ham salad on cheddar scone (Photo below : Top far left). It was unique and flavourful. My mum liked the chicken salad with curry and cashews ; which had the most 'Asian' taste among all the items. The curry taste was actually good I thought. Sausage rolls were slight salty but ( its sausage @__@) the pastry was really good. The most bland item was the cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese ; most likely because its the simplest item. But it was really good blend of heavy and simple items; just to make sure you would still have space for the rest !
Hot (Savoury) Items : A variety of salmon, ham, sausage, chicken curry, cucumber, egg rolls, quiche and sandwiches! 
I then tried their freshly-baked gingery scones which came with Buchart's Strawberry jam and Devon-style cream. While my mum thought it was nothing special, I though the combination (especially the jam) was really good. I ended up eating half of her portion as well! 

Scone, strawberry jam and cream
And finally, with our stomach pretty full, we started the sweet tier! I like the French Meringue (macaron) and the chocolate brandy Napoleon. The standards were really close to those you can find in proper bakeries/pattiseries. The poppy sead and orange load was nothing to shout about ( taste like plain sponge cake) while the Marzipan-wrapped Battenberg cake would be good for those liking marzipan ( not me and my mum though !). Their house-made truffle came in a cute box and I do personally like the truffle as it was rich, sweet with a touch of Baileys and crunchiness.
For the sweet tooth
Buchart Gardens' chocolate baileys irish cream truffle ! 

The Afternoon Tea is priced at $29.95 (plus tax) / person. For the experience, food and view, I though it was rather acceptable. I have seen reviews on the more-talked about Fairmont Empress Afternoon Tea with much higher prices and not-so-good menu items. So, step in for a feel of a Queen's tea if you ever visit Victoria !

Address : The Dining Room, Buchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC, V8M 1J8
Website / Menu : The Dining Room
Note : Reservation is recommended online via *OpenTable. Admission to Gardens is required. 


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