When The Urban Tea Merchant fused the love of luxurious fashion and tea gastronomy, the Haute Couture Tea Service was born. The Haute Couture Tea Service celebrates haute couture fashion with chic delicacies. This is the only time where I feel like describing food is “chic!”
I was joined on a Saturday morning to try the Haute Couture Tea Service at The Urban Tea Merchant with fashion bloggers- Claire from Von Vogue and Britta from Vancouver Vogue. (As a blogger who does mainly beauty, it’s interesting to listen to the perspectives of a fashion blogger! I just think, need to buy nicer clothing!) The Haute Couture Tea Service is a traditional three tiered set, with savouries on the bottom, scones in the middle, and sweets on top. We’ve seen the contemporary and modern version of afternoon tea sets that The Urban Tea has presented before, such as the Sakura Tea Service. I personally prefer the three tiered ones, since scones + devon cream is bliss; but I love the creativity that goes into these afternoon tea sets. Each tea set at The Urban Tea Merchant seems to have its own food personality, rather than a mumble jumble of food thrown together.
The Haute Couture Tea Service is started off with the Silver Moon French Press, which is a blend of prosecco and “Silver Moon Tea“. I opted for the non alcoholic version and it was very light and bubbly. You may think carbonated drinks and high tea are not matched, but the Silver Moon French Press cleanses the palette nicely and prepared my taste buds for the waves of food. Carbonated tea beats soda any day!
The prosecco is an add on- an afternoon tea service is incomplete without tea. We tried three teas to pair with our tea service- “Follow Me” Tea, “French Earl Grey” Tea, and “Tea Party” Tea. Out of the three, I personally favoured the “Follow Me” Tea- which is a blend of green tea and pineapples. I personally am not a super pineapple fan but it added a sweetness to the green tea blend and left a comfortable after taste in my mouth.
As always in afternoon tea, I started with the savouries first. The savouries included in the Haute Couture Tea Service include:
smoked salmon ribbon with wasabi creme & ponzu gel
“Dignitary’s Tea” smoked chicken in sesame cone
“Silk Water Tea” lobster thermidor with truffle potato purée
“Red Chai Tea” beef carpaccio, caramelized onion & cauliflower
“1837 Black Tea” Torchon de Foie Gras and black salt
“Orient Express Tea” house-made flax cracker, baby bocconcini,
oven-dried heirloom tomatoes, fig balsamic glaze
It was recommended to start with the Silk Water Tea lobster thermidor first as it was warm. This was easily my favourite (new) savoury- as I have always loved the classic smoked salmon open faced sandwich and the chicken cone. The potato purée was buttery smooth and melted on the tongue while I was chewing on the lobster so those flavours all blended together. I also enjoyed the Red Chai Tea beef carpaccio; I am not one to eat raw beef/beef sashimi but there was no raw flavour in this, just tender juices that paired nicely with a crunchy cracker.
I have never heard of “Tourchon de Foie Gras” ever- my French culinary lingo is clearly lacking. But…it is “a classic French preparation where the foie gras is wrapped tightly into a cylinder shape using cheesecloth, poached in simmering water for 90 seconds, then cooled to set. [The Urban Tea Merchant] use # 1 quality duck foie gras from Quebec, seasoned with 1837 tea, ground black pepper and truffle salt, sliced and served on a crostini with rhubarb compote.“
The middle tier of the Haute Couture Tea Service consists of sweets that are lighter. This includes:
TWG Tea macaron
“Chocolate Tea” profiterole
fresh baked scone with devon crème & tea-infused jelly
The scones were very moist and soft, even when I brought my leftover at home the scone did not dry out. The macarons are always a favourite of mine at The Urban Tea Merchant and I’m glad they add them to every tea service! The newest delicacy I had was the Chocolate Tea profiterole– if you love cream puffs this is a winner. I wish there was more since they were extremely bite sized!
The top tier included the rest of the sweets and fresh fruit. The mini desserts to try were:
I’ve tried the Pink Flamingo panna cotta at The Urban Tea Merchant, but this time their panna cotta is infused with Weekend in Venice from their Haute Couture Tea Collection. This panna cotta is more fruity as I tasted hints of berries. I’ve previously tried the French Earl Grey Tea petit four opera cake at their previous summer preview event and they are tiny bites of smoky, creamy flavour that any tiramisu or coffee lover would enjoy. I missed taking the shot of the Tokyo-Singapore Tea lime-mango tart, but this is another treat that gives you the melt-in-your-mouth experience.
And what made the afternoon tea experience better was the chef, Michael Riley, coming out to talk to us and cut us a slice of his new tiramisu creation. I thought that the petit four opera cakes were mini tiramisu bites, but this is the real deal here- this tiramisu is made with “Number 12 Tea” instead of espresso. The lady fingers are also made in house. Even though there is no coffee in this, I was blown away by the presence of a coffee taste in it. Normally, I would be scared off by the amount of marscapone in that piece of tiramisu, but it wasn’t dense nor filling.
And then we got another surprise; a taste of The Urban Tea Merchant’s tea infused ice cream! By this time I was incredibly full, but how can one pass up on ice cream that is tea flavoured?! It’s one of the best combinations in the world. The flavours of ice cream are- matcha, chai, and chocolate earl grey. My favourite out of the three had to be chai; it had the power of chai flavour but not too spicy. It was essentially like a frozen chai latte.
At the end of the tea service, we were given a $5 voucher that can be redeemed for purchasing a TWG Tea Haute Couture Tea Tin. I have bought one of these tea tins for my boyfriend’s family before- I think they make great gifts as the packaging is already done for you and who doesn’t like tea?!
Have I made you hungry yet? The Haute Couture Tea Service is available at $58 per person; this is not a place for a casual lunch but a place for you to relax with your closest and enjoy Vancouver for its food scene. The Urban Tea Merchant has a retail store as well; you can purchase their Haute Couture Tea Collection, as well as cute teacups, saucers, candles, macarons, and other loose leaf tea.
Disclaimer: Complimentary tea service featured.
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