I went boxing week shopping in the States today with Kish and his friend. We decided to have afternoon tea in Seattle, and Kish said he heard about a place called Queen Mary. We called for reservations as we were waiting at the border. Despite the last minute booking, the lady on the phone was nice enough to give us a time slot at 1 pm when she heard we were coming all the way from Vancouver. The place is in a mostly residential area and the exterior decor looked promising.
I noticed that there were pigeons in an area beside the entrance and was quite amused. We were seated at a table in the corner which was rather cramped for 3 people. Kish's friend had to squeeze in between the window and the table. As soon as we sat down, I started noticing many other interesting details that the Vancouver afternoon tea venues lacked. The sugar was festively colourful in a bowl with a fancy sugar spoon.
I wanted a green tea and decided to get the Yang Xian Mao Feng (陽羨毛峰) as it was advertised as organic on the menu. It came in a special pot specifically designed for steeping green teas. The tea leaves were in the top compartment, and boiling water was poured over the leaves. The tea would then drip to the bottom compartment via the holes between the 2 sections of the pot. I was really happy with this as I didn't want my tea leaves to steep continuously.
For black tea drinkers, there were the typical teapots with tea strainers. Hourglass timers were provided so that people would know when to remove the tea leaves from the pot.
The Yang Xian Mao Feng was very pale in colour, but had a distinctly clean and fresh taste. I really liked it and found it to be better than the teas in Adonia and The Secret Garden.
After a few sips of tea, we started off with a fruit sorbet trio to "cleanse the palate". There were 3 flavours: lime, raspberry and coconut. I thought I would like raspberry the most since I don't usually like lime or coconut flavoured foods, but the coconut sorbet turned out to be the best. The shortbread cookie served with the sorbet was also quite good.
After this small "appetizer", we were given condiments for the upcoming pastries including strawberry jam, orange marmalade, butter and whipped cream.
Then finally we got our 3-tiered tower. The portions were significantly larger than what I've had in Vancouver.
Bottom Tier: cucumber radish open face sandwich, tuna pecan sandwich, smoked salmon open face sandwich, turkey cranberry cream cheese roll
I never liked raw radish, so I didn't enjoy the cucumber radish sandwich. The tuna sandwich was average and wasn't as savoury as expected. The smoked salmon was good, but the meat was slightly cooked and I prefer the raw kind. My favourite out of this tier would be the turkey cranberry cream cheese roll. It was a rolled up turkey ham with cranberry cream cheese sauce inside. I couldn't taste the cranberry and the cream cheese was rather liquidy, but the turkey ham was really good.
Middle Tier: gingerbread cake, chocolate cake, nut brittle, assorted fruit
The gingerbread cake was soft and moist with a strong gingerbread taste. I loved it! It was like the Christmas version of banana bread. The chocolate cake was not so good, especially in comparison to the gingerbread. It was just a typical sweet cake and the chocolate flavour wasn't very prominent. The nut brittle tasted ok, but it was soooo hard! And as I was chewing, the candy stuck to my teeth and almost glued my teeth together. Not recommended for anyone with dental problems. The fruit was very fresh and it was funny how they made sure there was one of each fruit for everyone (no more and no less).
Top Tier: English crumpet, cranberry orange scone, pork sausage roll, snickerdoodle, jam cookie
The English crumpet reminded me strongly of the McDonald's hot cakes. The taste was very similar, but the texture was more substantial and bouncy. It was quite good with the butter and jam. The cranberry orange scone wasn't as buttery as other scones I've tried, and also went well with butter and jam. The pork sausage roll was very savoury and a bit oily, kind of like a baked Chinese dim sum. As for the cookies, the snickerdoodle and the jam cookie were both good. I liked the snickerdoodle more because it was slightly chewy, while there was nothing special about the jam cookie.
The price was $31 per person, which isn't too bad compared to $36.95 at The Secret Garden. And this place had a lot more to offer in terms of details and quantity. I enjoyed my afternoon tea experience here, but I would like to try someplace new next time I visit Seattle.