I adore afternoon tea, the fancy tea where you are usually served a very pretty tower loaded with tiny sandwiches, scones and Devon cream, and teensy pastries and cakes. It is a leisurely, convivial experience accompanied by pots and pots of tea, very conducive to lively conversation. I consider myself something of an expert on the genre and try new afternoon teas everywhere I travel.
The dining room is lovely here, and the front section by the windows and fireplace has the perfect afternoon tea ambience: poofy couches, low tables and comfortable wing chairs. It is a tad crowded, but in a nice way, and I enjoyed the buzz of the other happy diners.
How I wish I had enjoyed the food more! The teeny sandwiches had been left out uncovered and were dried out. All were lean on fillings, by which I mean had not enough filling, and the shrimp sandwiches were a tiny bit "off". I can think of no good excuse for not getting egg salad or cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches right. Evidently the Wedgewood staff can.
The scones and baked goods, alas, were not perfectly fresh. I suspect they had been frozen and thawed, and some of them had a distinctly day old, tired taste. If you are going to use frozen dessert cakes, you must pay careful attention to your selection...some work fairly well this way, most do not. It would be better to buy them fresh from, say, Safeway.
The hallmark of a good afternoon tea, I have learned, is the Devon Cream. Or perhaps I mean the prime indicator of the commitment of the house to the pleasure of the diner is measured by how much Devon Cream is served. We had afternoon tea for five ladies. We were served one microscopic ramekin of Devon Cream. Every afternoon tea devotee KNOWS: if you order it by yourself, alone, you get an entire ramekin to yourself (generally 1 or 2 tablespoons of Devon Cream). A surprising number of the places I have had afternoon tea in think that no matter how many diners order the tea, only one ramekin of Devon Cream per table will be served. This is mean, shabby and reflect badly on the house. I can tell you from experience, this creates unhappiness and conflict amongst the diners: we all look forward to that Devon Cream!
Service was good, although more refills of pots and milk jugs were needed. The teas were weak and tasteless. This is a common failing, oddly. Afternoon teas are usually served with mediocre tea. Special Teas in Victoria is so close by...why not use their superior blends?
All in all a nice try by the Wedgewood but definitely a miss. There are much better afternoon teas to be had in the Greater Vancouver area.