I first found out about Fur Elise on Klip magazine. On page 5 of the August issue, there is a 10% off coupon for all purchases. Check out the link if you're interested in giving the place a try. I invited Janice (Good Eat) and Doris to join me on this little food adventure. When I first got there, I was delighted to find that the restaurant was located in one of four heritage houses in the midst of Yaletown. The houses shared a common front garden complete with wrought iron gates and each house was painted a different pastel colour. The setting was positively quaint and fairytale-like.
The ground floor was a dessert shop with fancy French style pastries, croissants and macarons.
A shelf on the far right was stocked with colourful jars of fruit preserves. They were really expensive though; I think I saw a price tag of $15 for some of them.
The dining area for afternoon tea was up a narrow flight of stairs on the second floor. Behind the counter were waitresses dressed in pink flowery costume dresses who led us to our table and prepared our tea and food tower.
There were two seating areas, one on either side of the counter. When I saw the pink and ivory furnishings and plushy chairs, I felt as if I was in a Disney castle and was about to have tea with well-known fairytale characters.
The menu was simple and elegant with the restaurant's name and the silhouette of a lady's profile on the front cover. The menu was simple enough, as the only option was the afternoon tea set ($30) and everyone at the table must order one set.
The tea was served with a fancy teapot and teacup, along with a metal bird-shaped strainer and a pink sand timer. The sweetener was apparently BC local berry honey, but I didn't taste it because I don't normally sweeten my tea.
I found the timer a bit pointless though because the tea leaves were not contained in a teabag or strainer, so there was no way of removing them from the pot when the tea was ready.
As a result, only the first cup of tea was steeped to the perfect strength. The bird strainer was cute but not very practical as the size was a bit small and the holes were too big.
Before the food tower came, the waitress first served us a small appetizer of strawberry jelly and custard. This was a good palate cleanser as the tart fruit was very refreshing. The jelly portion was very very sweet, but luckily not in a cloying way.
The two-tiered tower seemed quite a bit smaller than the typical afternoon tea tower, but there was more than enough food for a light meal.
savouries: cucumber dill finger sandwich, scone, prosciutto brie and fresh basil croissant, wild mushrooms quiche
Out of this tier, the item I enjoyed least was the cucumber dill sandwich because the bread was dry and there were only a few thin slices of cucumber resting on top. I couldn't taste the dill or cream cheese between the bread at all. The rest of the items were all quite good and I especially enjoyed the crunchy crispy croissant. It wasn't very soft or fluffy though, so you'll be disappointed if that's what you're looking for in a croissant. I think crunchy and crispy could also be used to describe the scone and quiche. The scone was served with a small pat of house-made confiture, probably the stuff they sell downstairs. The portion was so small that it was definitely not enough for 2 people, but what do you expect? The stuff apparently costs $15 per jar.
sweets: fur elise (strawberry shortcake), mini sacher torte, pear daisy tartlet, macaron, pate de fruit
I was especially excited about trying the strawberry shortcake since it was named after the restaurant. But as I found out, the mini version of the cake had too much cream and too little cake, so it wasn't as good as the regular size. The pear tartlet had a very crunchy and crispy crust which some might find to be too hard, but the flavour was not bad. The sacher torte was extremely rich and chocolaty, though not overly sweet. The only disappointing item was the macaron which was soggy and bland.
Janice only wanted dessert from downstairs, but the rule was that everyone at the table had to order afternoon tea and the desserts were take-out only. We found out about this rule after we were seated and were very lucky that the manager made an exception for just this once. Janice opted for the signature dessert — the fur elise which was essentially a strawberry shortcake. I didn't actually try this because I had a mini version of it in the afternoon tea set, but I did nibble on one of the dried rose petals on top which the mini version did not have. There was a faint fragrance, but it probably wouldn't be noticeable when eaten with the rich and creamy cake.
I've read a couple of reviews with negative comments about the food. While I didn't think the food was spectacular, I thought it was really quite decent. I would definitely consider this place for special occasions, especially if the people I plan to come with have not been here before. It's one of those places you have to visit at least once just to take in the surroundings and experience it for yourself. With that said, if you're of the male species with a phobia for all things pink and frilly, do not come here unless you're forced into it by your significant other.