It be I, The Other Annie, your newest edition to the crew of the Piggin’ Out Ship : )
About me, briefly: pirate speak aside, I enjoy seeking and devouring food loot, cracking lame jokes, dipping my hands in home edible alchemy (aka cooking), and sharing all the wisdom I’ve acquired over the years in above fields with you young padawans of foods.
Like Bossman Jeff, I too am a full-time student with few dubloons to spare. and in keeping blog traditions, will try to spill the beans within school vicinity. But where’s the fun in reviewing different subway sandwiches everyday? (actually, quite fun for me, the sheer numbers of combinations…) So I’ll keep this short and jump to my first FOOD LOG:
Afternoon Tea @ Annona!!! *cue oohhhhhs and ahhhhs*
No outside photo, sorry. Hotel Doormen are awfully omnipresent. :S
4 Avenue Rd.
Price: $26 + tax per person for Contemporary English Tea set-menu, (more $$ set-menu with booze also available)
Here’s some background information, you may skip:
Afternoon Tea (or as some places call it, High Tea, which is incorrect by the way, unless you are asian, see ongoing debate here
) originates in England. Back in the 1700’s the people didn’t have lunch (ONLY BREAKFAST AND SUPPER!!?? gosh I know right!!??), so they were hungry like all the time. One day some Dutchess, being the genius she was, decided to eat foods like crustless sandwiches and pastries at the in-between time. And then people kept eating until this day and lived happily ever after 🙂
When speaking of tea, Annona isn’t usually the first place that comes to mind. Teatime-afficianados would be much more familiar with The Windsor Arms Hotel Tearoom, or Old Mill Inn down by Bloor West. Heck, there are uppities that swear by Meridien at the King Edwards Hotel on King St. And If I hadn’t done my research, I certainly would not have landed in this modern but cozy hotel restaurant at the corner of Yorkville.
Let’s just say I am pleased with my research.
Like other hotel restaurants, Annona is is very clean and quiet, has modern decor with mostly warm toned accents, and has an air of fancy-ness (without being pretentious). The hostess was pleasant and promptly showed us to our table when we arrived, and the server was equally friendly and efficient! (I drink my teas at lightning speed, but my teapot was never empty, such good rate of hot water replenishment!!) One thing that might be a negative for some (like my mother dearest) is the lack of tea-room feel. Since the place is a restaurant first, there are no traditional tea-room features like brocade sofas, wooden coffee tables, fireplaces and vintage lamps laying around. I didn’t mind it, but Ma felt it was disappointing. On a side note, a +1 is that they had real, live (well, no longer live) orchid blossom as table decor 🙂 Real flowers are always a + =D
So afternoon tea works like this:
from a list of loose leaf teas offered, each person can pick their own tea (and consequently gets their own tea cup, tea pot, and all the shbang!) Each person then gets a full set of the foodloot listed on the menu (as far as I know the foods are consistent and not seasonal like other places), listed right here
. (If you didn’t want to open link, foods include finger sandwiches and canapes that involve cheeses, salmon, shrimp, chicken, various warm scones and tea pastries; all with fancier and deliciouser names of course.)
Proceed to Drool. :D~~~~
notice the themed setting? I got a rose-themed setting and mother dearest across the table got a blue hydrangea setting 😀
For tea, I got the White Tip Darjeerling and Ma got the Imperial English Breakfast Blend. We each got our own ceramic teapot (but they didn’t match the settings, just plain white, -1 point) with tealeaves in it for hot water to be refilled.
Maybe because we were both such proficient tea drinkers, but we both found the teas to be on the lighter side. (Or perhaps I drink too fast and the tea hasn’t got time to diffuse?) And because they were loose leaf teas, We got our own silver tea strainer to catch loose leaves that may have fallen out from the teapot when pouring (extra step. makes it more fancy)
And then, the foodloot came.
3 tiered silver pastry stand!! full of cakes, tarts, sweets, pastries and scones 😀
fruit tart, white chocolate napoleon squares(?), and there were 3 sets of scones: buttercream, apricot, and blueberry
To know the names of the pastries, so that you may call upon them in times of intense desire, click here.
We ate. It was A LOT OF FOOD.
Sandwich: Ma loved the Smoked Salmon and Dill Cream Cheese on Pumpernickel (that’s right I’m using full names!!), while I found the Shrimp Salad and Cucumber Triple Decker extra omnomnom. and ya. we traded. We both really liked the Chicken Breast Salad with Scallion in Crisp Cone, but I found it to be the odd one out from the meal. It wasn’t even a sandwich. Does not belong. just a delicious crispy, non-sandwich.
Pastry: Handsdown, for both of us, would be the Dark Chocolate Cherry Domino. This is like a thick, black forest cake in pound cake form, but it is amazingly chocolatey yet still retains a light and moussy texture, just goes to show how well the chocolate/cream/cake was proportioned. and you must know this is saying a lot since Black Forest Cake is one of the few cakes both Ma and Me can say we usually dislike. WE were proven wrong. Runner up would be the Lemon Chantilly Profiteroles, delicious and definitely NOT your average cream puffs.
The other ones are nice but nothing too special, my mouth does not yearn for them.
Scones: I especially enjoyed the orange scones, the Classic Clotted Creams that you eat the scones with were such a strange and amazing taste, both creamy and light/fluffy, the best way I can describe it would be.. if Cool Whip = Los Angeles, then Clotted Cream = Boston; I did eat these last though, after stuffing my face with all them sammiches n pastries, so I feel like these need another judging, un-clouded by satiation.
WE LEFT WITH LEFTOVERS!!!! YEAAA!!!
*side notes: the hotel washrooms are not part of the restaurant, but part of the hotel. and they are fancy : ) do use.
in the summer, the window seats face a fountain, and some face avenue rd, so good for people watching too 😉
Conclusion: at $26 per person, the price is quite steep for a student pocket. and the time is limited (daily from 3-5pm only) as well. However, compared to the upwards of $40 pp price tag at other tea places, Annona is a worthy adversary in the game. This would be perfect for first time tea-goers, mother’s day celebrations, birthday meal treats, or any well-deserved girls-day (pre/post bloor street shopping of course). The service was excellent, decor is nice, and the foods are delicious, nothing superfantasmagorical, but all very good. I will definitely return, hopefully after I nosey around other tea-places, but for now, I leave you with my rating:
8.5/10 (scale not equivalent to Bossman’s scale)
Last Wise Words:
Munch on pastries first,
Sammiches pack way better.
pps. happy valentimes, dearies: