Sunday, April 08, 2012

London Heritage Farm - Full Tea


I made plans to visit the tea room at London Heritage Farm after reading the comment they left on my post on afternoon tea at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport. I made a reservation well in advance to avoid disappointment since it was Easter weekend. Reservations are highly recommended as the tea room isn't very big and can't accommodate many walk-in guests.

The tea room's operating hours are as follows:
January: Closed
February to June: Sat to Sun, 12 pm - 5 pm
July to August: Wed to Sun, 12 pm - 5 pm
September to December: Sat to Sun, 12 pm - 5 pm

More information is available on the London Heritage Farm website.


The farmhouse is a heritage house previously owned by the London family and it dates back to the 1880's. It is currently owned by the City of Richmond and is operated by the London Heritage Farm Society. There are no parking spots in front of the farm, but there is plenty of free parking across the street.


I'm glad we chose a bright and sunny day to visit! The tea room situated on the ground floor of the farmhouse was very bright from the sunlight streaming in through the windows. The country style decor was very quaint and charming from the wallpaper to the tablecloths and wooden chairs. I should mention that there was a huge swarm of ladybugs crawling on the walls. They must have been hibernating in the room and are just waking up now that spring is here. Just look out for ladybugs crawling onto your plate or into the sugar bowl! They seem to enjoy eating sugar.


The antique piano in the room used to belong to the London family. It was eventually inherited by the eldest son and then returned to the farm by his great-granddaughter. Several other rooms in the house have been restored to resemble the original state, so the place is like a mini museum. Remember to look around the house and explore the gardens after eating!


From the window right beside our table, we could see a small part of the yard where volunteers were busily doing gardening chores.


The only food option available was the full tea. At $8.50/person, it was a good price for a light afternoon snack.


We were presented with mix-and-match bone china teacups, saucers, plates and a teapot. Cream and sugar were served in shiny silverware, but I noticed that one of the ears on the sugar bowl had broken off. I found out later that the tea service is the main source of fundraising for the maintenance of the property and the place is mainly run by volunteers, so I'll have to overlook the kinks in the tableware and the inattentive albeit friendly service. The tea is blended in-house; it's a very mild black tea called the London Lady. It had a faint hint of citrus, but overall I found the flavour a bit weak. This was especially noticeable after the second steeping.


Warm and fluffy scones arrived at the table with butter and a spoonful of homemade marmalade. I was really impressed with the lovely homemade taste of these scones. I could taste the aroma of the flour in every bite, and I especially appreciated the fresh-out-of-the-oven texture. Never before have I had scones that tasted so fresh that it was as if they had never been reheated. These were by far the best scones I've had in all my afternoon tea experiences. Just thinking about them is making my mouth water... The homemade marmalade was delicious as well. One spoonful wasn't a lot to share between 3 people and we almost fought over it. I wonder if we could have asked for more?


The scones were followed by a cookie, a tart and a dessert square for each of us. The bunny-shaped butter cookie was decorated with dots of crunchy-chewy caramel that gave the bunny dark spots and also added a deep aromatic sweetness. The mini tart was filled with pastry cream, then topped with strawberry preserve and a dollop of whipped cream. I thought that was a bit too much cream, but the tartness from the strawberry chunk in the preserve managed to balance it out. Last but not least was my favourite butter tart square. It had a buttery shortbread base and a rich chewy caramel topping. The surprise was in the delicate fragrance of coconut shreds hidden away inside the square.


The full tea experience was very enjoyable and I wouldn't hesitate to come back again. Although I really wish that they would offer a choice of additional savouries — tea sandwiches for example. It would be nice to have the option of choosing a full meal or a light snack. If they do implement an up-sized afternoon tea, I'll be the first to try it out!

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3 comments:

pyaria on April 08, 2012 2:43 pm said...

mmm freshly baked scones! Ever since I've had freshly baked scones, I've become a little obsessed with them. I've also realized why I never liked scones before from coffeehouses - they're never baked day-of, are over-mixed or made from an over-wet dough.

sweetsamsations on April 08, 2012 4:05 pm said...

oh wow! That's an awesome deal! $8.50 for full tea menu! I guess the catch would be its location! All the way on the edge of Richmond! haha.. Glad you enjoyed it though! Looks like a very lovely place :) Happy Easter!!

krispymilk on April 08, 2012 6:56 pm said...

@pyaria: Freshly baked scones are so different from reheated ones! They have this fluffy light texture that's really comforting and satisfying. Maybe I should try making some myself.

@sweetsamsations: It is a pretty good deal! It's a bit far if you don't live in Richmond, but it's not like you're going there just for the food. Going to Steveston has always been more of a day trip for me. Happy Easter to you too! Looking forward to seeing your Easter baking creations :)

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