A cozy little breakfast nook set in a turn of the century home.
After reading the other reviews I thought I would add my 2 cents worth as I went for a breakfast meeting there recently. The special (eggs and coffee/tea) was reasonably priced and the service was efficient and not intrusive. The only black mark (and it's a minor one) was that I asked if they had Marmite. Either you know what this is already or you don't want to know. She said yes and then promptly forgot about it. When pressed, she brought packages of Marmelade that are apparently concealed in the back somewhere. She had never of Marmite, so this is not a "real" English teahouse.
I drank coffee that morning and it was very good so I cannot comment on the tea.
All in all I thought it was good.
i live in the area and have been to this restaurant approximately 7-8 times over a 12 yr period. it has slowly but surely gone downhill and i would not reccomend this restaurant to anyone. i suspect there has been a change of owernship. although the breakfast specials seem reasonable, here is one situation where you get less than what you pay for and also the coffee was too weak for my taste.
Ahhh.....The James Bay Tea Room, is the WORST place to have breakfast. The tea pots are sooo scuzzy ...it seriously looks like they have never been washed (I think thats why they cover them up with tea cozy's). I went there with my boyfriend not long ago, and our experience left a lot to be desired. The service was poor, the food....even worse than the service, and talk about over priced for the amount and the quality you get. Not good....I'll go back to Joe's Grill...now thats a place worth going back to.
The first thing to greet us when entering the restaurant was not a staff member, but the overwhelming odor of urine wafting out from the washrooms in the lobby. We thought the food might make up for the initial opinion we were already forming, but the eggs benny was made with the cheapest type of ham roll I've ever seen and the hollandaise was definitely prepared from a powdered mix; tasting of lemony chicken soup base and having a grainy texture. The eggs were poached hard (even after I sent them back the first time) despite the declaration on the menu that they were prepared soft poached, and the vegetables in the Western omelette were cut far too large and were steamed rather than sauted. In fact we highly suspect that our entire meal was micro-waved (as was everyone else's), due to receiving our order in less than three minutes within placing it; and never once smelling anything cooking the entire time we were in the dining room. At $10 per plate for breakfast, a business should be able to perform at a much higher standard than was experienced at this establishment.
years ago we went to this restaurant and had a good experience but not this time
I feel for the poor tourists who thinks they get a taste of a tea room
the place is rundown and not very clean.
My sister had French onion soup what looked like dishwasher water with onions on it. I had a hamburger and would have had a better one in any of the commercial joints.
I feelsorry for the tourists
I was excited to try The J.B Tea Room, inside
atmosphere was buzzing with comfort plus! With wall to wall photos scattering the room and mis-matched table cloths, the Tea Room had the potential to become a our Victoria 'favorite'. That 'eureka' moment was shattered as our server arrived. She muttered under her breath, clearing our table from customers past. She threw menu's down, and glarring from behind her glasses, asked 'tea?'. Barely hearing our response, she stomped off. We debated leaving, but the empty feeling in our stomachs prevailed. With items such as, cinnamon french toast or warm sticky buns on the menu, things were starting to look up! We placed our order with the unfriendly server and said a silent pray that the food did not reflect her poor attitude. Strike two, the food arrives. My order was Welsh Rarebit (which I have had many times befor). For those that are unfaimilar with 'rarebit', it is a British dish consisting of a sauce made up of cheese, beer (ale) and quite often mustard, served over toast. I am not sure where cardboard comes into the equation,but I think it may have been used. I believe the bitter taste could of have been 'cheese-whiz', perhaps that would be a more accurate menu discription. Side note: cheeswhiz is actually better on toast then this is.
Dish #2, scrambled eggs an' hash. It's just eggs right? Nope! The word 'eggs' is plural and I am quite certain only one egg was used, not to mention the fact that I could count the amount of pan fries on one hand.
I was nervous to complain as our server had been quite unfriendly, but I flagged her down and politely voiced my complaint. To my astonishment she began to ARGUE with me. Sputtering out sentances like ' you ate half your eggs already', '.... is made fresh daily'. So I asked for the owner. Our server promptly introduced herself. We left, bill unpaid and our stomachs still growling.
The service was absolutely terrible, kitchen staff/servers were just standing around hanging out talking innapropriately in the dining room. We got told to sit wherever and then the only table that was not cramped beside the next and had a decent view had not been cleared yet. So we stood to wait and see if we'd be able to sit there and they were not paying attention to us so we finally asked the server who was just sitting doing cutlery if it would be okay for us to sit there. She was extremely rude and unimpressed about having to clear the table, pulled the cloth off and got crumbs all over my mum and treated us very poorly. Making me help put the new cloth on and then they were all talking saying how she deserved "waitress of the year" amongst other things. We felt so uncomfortable that we left. The kitchen looked gross, the staff looked like they were brought off the street. Definately not the "high tea" experience we were looking for. Would definately NOT recommend this place to anyone. We ended up going to the "white heather" in Oak Bay, and what a night and day difference. The prices were incredible.. the food was freshly made (not ordered in like this place) and the server was an absolute doll, from the moment we walked in to the moment we walked out we were treated with 5 star service, and served incredible food. Very glad we left this place, and were able to turn the day around.
My first visit to this Tea Room was in 1982 and it was great. I took my wife there for lunch today and encountered the worst lunch of my life.
I had the baron of beef with a garden salad, my wife had an egg salad sandwich with a tiny serving of lukewarm mystery soup.
My baron of beef was a joke and all I could say to my wife was, "where's the beef"? It was a tiny round bun with a few paper thin strips of beef, about 1/4 of what you get at the 4 Mile House.
The salad was a disgrace and looked ill. None of the few ingredients looked washed, and the main replacement for lettuce was old chopped up cabbage. It was grim and almost made me sick. I managed to eat the baron/B, and the dip was some sort of pathetic looking gravy that was cold.
My wife's sandwich was tasteless and she didn't touch her soup after one sip.
The workers were not very efficient or overly friendly. Our waitress was OK, but between the 3 of them, it took them 15 minutes to figure out that the women's washroom key was in one of their pockets. My wife knocked on the door of the washroom twice in case someone was still there until finally one of the servers found the key in her pocket.
I complained to our server about this ruined lunch and she took the price of my meal off our bill, I hardly touched the salad but did eat the B of B due to the fact I was starving and just drove down from Courtenay. You'd expect good tea at a tearoom but not at the James Bay Tearoom, it was weak (likely only 1 bag in a huge pot) and the pot appeared scruffy..
BTW the waitress cleverly mentioned that there were probably new owners since 1982 (no kidding eh), after I told her it was my first visit in 25 years and a huge disappointment; we still tipped her regardless.