Sunday, February 27, 2011

Faubourg - Afternoon Tea


I noticed this new place called Faubourg as I was passing by Kerrisdale last week, and I was intrigued by the simple yet elegant storefront. I walked in and saw an attractive array of French bread and pastries sitting behind the display counter. I grabbed a business card and one of the girls working there told me they have an afternoon tea service in the back and showed me the menu. A new afternoon tea place in Kerrisdale! I called for reservations on Friday and was told that Saturday was already fully booked, so I booked for Sunday at 1 pm instead. As I walked in, I passed by a clear glass display on the right with sandwiches and pastries.


A closer look at the sandwiches and pastries. The sandwiches on the left cost $7.95, and the paninis on the right are $8.95 each or $4.50 for half.


The pastries are either $5 or $5.50 apiece which is pretty reasonable.


As I walked on, I saw another display counter with different French breads.


The back of the store is the designated afternoon tea seating area which is quite small with tables crammed together. There's a simple yet stylish chandelier hanging from the ceiling.


The menu is simple with only 2 tea set choices: the pink tea ($25.50) or the purple tea ($16). The pink tea is the full tea service with 10 food items while the purple tea is half the size. The menu for the pink tea is shown below. The purple tea includes a choice of 2 sandwiches, 2 pastries and a scone.


The tea selection is quite limited compared to other afternoon tea places.


But the waiter brought over little glass bowls with the different tea leaves inside so that we could see and smell the tea before we decided.


I decided on the Fuji Yama which is a Japanese green tea.


My mom ordered the same tea, so we were given a big pot with 2 teabags instead of separate pots. I didn't like that idea as I think we should have gotten individual pots as part of the afternoon tea experience. Besides the teapot we got was so gigantic that my mom could not even lift it to pour her own tea. Definitely not a customer-friendly idea. According to the teabag tag, the tea should be steeped for 4 minutes. We waited more than 4 minutes, but the tea was still very weak. In fact, it didn't even taste like tea until more than 15 minutes later. I think that 2 teabags were not sufficient for such a large pot of water.


The food came in a 2-tiered tower with the sandwiches and scones on the bottom and the desserts on top. The picture shows the portion for 2 people. It wasn't a lot of food and everything was smaller than bite-size.


The sandwiches were very disappointing mainly because the bread was cold, hard and slightly stale. The bread on display at the front of the store looked a lot more appealing. The sandwiches were chicken, beef and smoked salmon from right to left. All of the fillings tasted quite bland and were overpowered by the taste of the bread.


I liked the cranberry scone because it was soft and light, but it was very small. I could pretty much finish it in 2 bites. It came with cream and a small jar of strawberry or apricot jam.


The desserts were the best part of the meal. The small yellow bowl was a mango souffle, and the waiter told us to eat it first because it was served hot from the oven. It was really smooth and creamy with a rich mango flavour. The parfait was served in a small glass with granola and assorted berries, and dusted with icing sugar. The berries were very fresh and tasted great with the yogurt and granola. The chocolate mousse was also served in a small glass with a raspberry on top. The mousse was very rich and creamy, but I found it a bit too sweet. The lemon tart had a light butter crust with little chunks of sugar around the rim. The filling was full of lemon flavour but was not too strong. The sugar chunks balanced out the tartness of the lemon, but I think it could have done with less sugar. The dessert I liked least was surprisingly the raspberry opera cake because it looked quite appealing. There were alternating layers of chocolate ganache and sponge cake with raspberry glaze on top. The sponge was slightly dry and the ganache was too sweet. My favourite (along with the mango souffle) would be the macaron with espresso cream filling. It was very sweet just like the rest of the desserts, but that was expected for a macaron. The meringue cookie was light and crispy outside with a very chewy centre.


Although the desserts were very nice (especially for people with a sweet tooth), I don't think the experience was worth the price. The seating area was very cramped and not comfortable at all. The tea was served in teabags and was very weak. The portions were tiny, so we were not full at all after finishing the whole thing. I would come back for the pastries, but not the afternoon tea service. Next time I'm going to try the bread or pastries behind the glass display.

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