Passing this tearoom several times on the 99 b-line, it always looked enticing to jump off at the Cambie stop and sample what teas they have available to serve.
Finally I did.
From the first step into the shop to finishing my “jar of tea”, I felt strongly like I was in a STARBUCKS. WTF?
To most, that statement will come across as an insult. But not To Pekoe Tea Lounge. That would ring in their ears as a compliment because underneath all this terracotta floor tiling, dark wood furniture, fake wall paintings, complimenting terracotta-colored walls, and genuinely uninspired decor, a look to be EXACTLY LIKE STARBUCKS is precisely the intention of Pekoe Tea Lounge.
The tea sucked.
I suck for even ordering there.
the location felt perfect for the heart of downtown office workers. Its somewhere they can actually spend social mornings in that is NOT actually a starbucks! That ALWAYS gets a “win” from me.
The staff (I talked to Michelle) was really helpful and really knew a thing-or-two about a thing or two with tea. I hit two major deal-breakers while I was there, however:
1. I was sold a new an well-spoken of tea from Murchie’s that was a flavor blend of black tea, orange, and coffee beans. Original, I thought. The leaves smelled appealing, too!……….. that tea bag fully steeped after 30 seconds and turned PITCH BLACK and tasted like charcoal coffee! Or like the ash within an urn. Gawd! But whatever, I bought it so I lived with it.
2. That tea steeped in seconds and I didn’t have a saucer to pull my teabag out and hold aside. I had to go to the coffee bar and beg for a saucer and they lent me an espresso cup. W.T.F.
The store is an attractive setting and excellently located…. that’s it.
The store itself looked to be quite beautiful (but EXPENSIVE!). The room we were given seats to was intimidatingly beautifully set. If I wasn’t with two friends of mine, I’d have felt I was out for a Sunday brunch with my 80 yr old grandmother- a tranquil, serene space… like her living room.
The service to our table was brilliant. That was probably the best serving I’ve experienced at any restaurant or drinking establishment. I’m unfamiliar with normal practice in tearooms, but we were given the opportunity to smell each and every tea that we considered buying a pot of— pretty damn nice.
All-in-all, we stayed there together comfortably and enjoyably for almost 2 hours and our bill was affordable (we just stayed clear of the 40 dollar cups and Thomas Haas pastries!)
Having enjoyed the 3-tier pastries and brilliant tea served at venues like Secret Garden in Vancouver, I looked for where that could be in a royal city like New Westminster.
As tightly connected to England as a commonwealth community, I leaped at the assumption that tea would be readily available in this city. Low-and-behold it WASN’T IN THE SLIGHTEST.
Suddenly, I came across the new and just recently opened Great Wall tearoom and everything was available and served in the highest regard for the traditions of tea I’ve encountered since Secret Garden.
Food isn’t served there, but it makes sense because the room is a 6 seat-long bar amidst the River Market in Westminster Quay.
Great Wall is the only venue in this “royal” city that offers and serves the amount of tea it does (probably 150!). I could compliment this shop some more, but then I would just be rambling.