October 9, 2004
I couldn’t imagine coming all the way to Victoria and not partaking of the oh-so-British institution of afternoon tea. If you don’t mind spending $49 each, the Empress Hotel is impressive.
We, however, wanted to share this venerable tradition with the locals. The Blethering Place is the perfect location to do so. It has a charming location in the village of Oak Bay, which does look amazing like many English villages I have visited. This restaurant is quintessentially British. Clothes in a small floral print cover the tables, and the floor has carpeting with cabbage roses. There is a union jack on the wall and lots of other memorabilia.
The building itself is historically significant. It is the oldest building in the village of Oak Bay and was, in a previous incarnation, both a general store and the post office. Now it is a charming place for an afternoon stop.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served here, but we came for afternoon tea. You may choose from two tea menus or from an á la carte menu. The tea is offered for $16.95 and the Light for $14.95. The difference between the two is that you get an extra scone per person and a serving of trifle if you order the tea. Al and I did just that and Chris got the Light. There are several choices of tea and I ordered my favorite, English Breakfast, while Chris ordered Earl Grey. Al looked at me helplessly, and I said, "Two English Breakfasts".
We were stunned when our plate arrived. It was loaded. We began with our sandwiches; they didn’t have crusts, and we each had one cucumber and one tuna. Next up we had savory spinach pastries, usually they are sausage but today they were sold out. Warm scones were next; buttered, loaded with their homemade jelly, and topped with Devonshire cream. We could only eat one each. The plate was still amazingly full. The photo of the plate is deceiving because the three other scones and the savory pastries are on a different plate.
We now had to choose from fresh fruit, carrot cake, Nanaimo bars, butter tarts, biscuits (chocolate-dipped and plain), lemon bars, and fresh fruit. It was daunting, but we love a challenge. All of this was washed down with cups of hot, sweet tea from our crocheted, cozy, covered teapot.
Just when we though we were going to burst, it was time for our trifle and a very good trifle it was. We had a very large take-home container that we thoroughly enjoyed the next day.
I highly recommend this place for an authentic English Tea experience. On your way out, browse for tea-making items in their small store.
"And I want a tea cozy. I don't know what a tea cozy is, but I want one!"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
From journal Victoria - City of Gardens