When your grandmother is visiting you from Sri Lanka, there’s only one way to really entertain her – taking her to an elegant English Afternoon Tea! That was my thinking when I invited my grandmother and my parents to join Little Monkey, Baby Boy and I for Afternoon Tea at the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto. Over the years I’ve toured through Toronto’s High Tea circuit and keep landing at the King Edward with my British girlfriends. The one thing that really seperates the high tea at the King Eddy (as us locals like to call Toronto’s oldest luxury hotel!), is Englishness of the whole experience. From the moment you enter the hotel lobby and throughout the dining experience, you’re treated like royalty and I knew my parents and grand mother would love the familiarity of it all as it reminds me of the level of service and attention to detail we’re accustomed to in South Asia.
I knew exactly what to expect and what to order so I was curious to see how the rest of my party would react. On arrival we were warmly welcomed and escorted to our table where they asked if Baby Boy would like a high chair (NO! NO CHAIR was his reply). Once seated the kids received a Omni kids welcome bag which had a magical wand (straw as most of us know it) that came in use once the hot chocolate arrived. The activity kit was also put to good use as we waited on our meal to arrive.
Disclosure : We were guests of the Omni King Edward Hotel, but as always, opinions are totally mine!
Kids 12 and under can enjoy the Jester’s Tea (approx $20) while the parents have a couple options to choose from. I always go for the whole kaboodle and get the Winter Tea package which comes with sandwiches and sweets so that I’m fully stuffed by the time I leave! High tea is usually only available on weekends but during March break the King Eddy decided to offer it mid week as well, which is why it was the perfect treat before my folks took the kids away for the weekend!
We were totally lucking out during our visit as Little Monkey and Baby Boy were not only in great spirits but they were also loving everything they saw AND each other! As you watch the video, listen to the “wow” and “WOOOOW” that keeps happening as they enter the lobby!
The Jester’s Tea is a sugar fest for sure, but you never come for afternoon tea when you’re on a diet. So I was totally fine in watching the kids devour the treats. Of course neither of them touched the Double Decker Grilled Cheese but did pounce on the Grape Jelly Pinwheel, Frosty Cupcake and the Sugar cookie. Little Monkey ate the Strawberry from her Cream Scone but left the rest as she REALLY loved the Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows that came with her Jester’s Tea. I was shocked when both kids devoured a small bowl of mini marshmallows EACH and then my mom requested for 3 mini marshmallows and our server graciously brought back another bowl for EACH!! Luckily they slept off the sugar high on the long drive to Niagara. Oh and by the way, they serve the kids their hot chocolate in the fancy tea cups, just like the adults! I decided to ask for a plain cup for Baby Boy because he is not a dainty kid!
As for us adults, we enjoyed the Lobster Waldorf Pinwheel, the selection of sandwiches, Warm Welsh Rarebit with Onion and the Scones and Macarons. What I love about the King Eddy’s Afternoon tea is that they actually bring the Devon Cream from England. They KNOW it’s hard to replicate the real deal. I wouldn’t mind seeing some clotted cream on the menu though! Of course we had to nose and pick our tea of choice, which can be a daunting choice when you have so many teas to play with in front of you! Wasn’t my first time at this rodeo so I knew exactly what I wanted but it was hard trying to tell my grandmother that these teas were different from the hard black Ceylon tea she’s used to (even though they do have a Ceylon tea on feature as well). I mostly opt for the King Edward blend during my visits!
What I learned during this recent visit (only because the chef popped by to say hello to the kids!) was that the Chef makes the preserves and jams in house. He even gets his kids to help him with the strawberry picking and jam making. How cute is that? There’s a touch of personality and I always enjoy hearing stories of corporations bringing in the familiar family ties into the work place.
If you’re looking for an afternoon tea session with little ones in tow, I would highly recommend the Omni King Edward’s one, mainly because the kids are welcomed with open arms and they’re really looked after. Doesn’t hurt that the parents can enjoy a fine cuppa tea or add some bourbon into the mix!