Sunday, May 29, 2005

Serendipitea - jury is out whether a happy accident or not...

Serendipitea -- a cute name for a fairly new Tea Room in downtown Midland Ontario. The decor is lovely, it has that wonderful old fashioned Victorian feel. Tables at the front and a couch and chairs at the back add to the warmth and charm.

The food that Brian and I have had was wonderful. Very nice presentation with little doilies under the cups added to the charm. Tea is served in china cups and saucers. The menu is limited, which I often think is a good idea. That way you are almost bound to get good food, whereas if the menu is large, it's not always possible to achieve greatness with every item. I prefer quality over quantity!

I had the scones with clotted cream and homemade preserves and it was very good. I'll let Brian talk about his meal.

So those are all the good points - good food, great decor. Now comes the bad -- service. It stinks.

Brian and I have been there twice. We had different servers both times. First time the gal serving was sloppily dressed, wearing a hoody and jeans. It doesn't fit with the atmosphere! C'mon let's have the staff in long skirts and little blouses or something more suitable for this cute tearoom!

Our server never smiled. She sighed, as in "Do you know what you want? (sigh)". She brought our tea and coffee without spoons to stir them. She didn't bring serviettes. We had ordered 1 tea, 1 coffee, 1 scone with cream and preserves. Hmmmm is it that hard to remember to bring tableware and napkins?? When I asked for a spoon, she sighed. When I asked for napkins she sighed. I was pretty sure she wanted to lie down and have a nap.

Okay next time we went, we had a different server. Still not great in the wearing apparel but better than a hoody and jeans. This one also forgot our napkins. She forget the milk for my coffee. We both ordered scones and instead of bringing us 2 servings of the cream and the preserves with the 2 scones, we were given one tiny serving of cream and preserves, exactly the same size as when I had ordered one scone. So I asked for more. She told me this was all we get. I said that since one order came with this size serving of cream/preserves then obviously 2 orders came with double and it wasn't enough for both of us, could we please have more. She shrugged her shoulders and walked away without a word. No more cream or preserves appeared.

We haven't been back since. That's a shame because we loved the idea of going once a week as an outing. The owner is friendly and gracious and is perfectly groomed for the style of this tearoom but she needs to have a better handle on her staff - especially their lack of friendliness and their inability to get customer orders right.

I'm torn on how to rate this tearoom. For decor and food I would give it 4 out of 5. For service and friendliness I'd give it 1 out of 5. Okay I've decided. It's an overall experience and for me, the good food and decor doesn't make up for the unpleasant experience of disinterested, forgetful and rude staff. I rate Serendipitea as 2 out of 5 teacups

2 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Friday, May 27, 2005

Pieces of Olde - Landlubbers Should Eat Here!

Pieces of Olde, 28 A Queen St W in Elmvale Ontario is classified as a "Lunch Parlour" by the owner, Jill. Brian and I love it - the food is great, with that honest to goodness just like Mom makes experience.

Decor is nothing special but it's clean and Jill has cute table decorations that are theme-oriented so they change frequently.

Service is slow (not necessarily a bad thing!) but friendly. Elmvale is in the middle of farm communities so the Restaurant/Lunch Parlour has a small town atmosphere which is very inviting.

There aren't many tables, and they are part of a store that Jill runs. If you have to wait for a table (and you will if you go at breakfast or lunch time) you can browse the items for sale.

Jill makes two soups as part of the daily special, one is cream-based (my fav) the other is not. The tea biscuits are flaky and melt-in-your mouth delicious.

There are usually 3 daily specials for lunch and I've never had one that wasn't tasty. I sometimes find the salads a bit limp, that is my one and only complaint. The sandwhiches are made on home made bread, thick as can be - and you create your own with an incredible variety of choices of fillings and condiments. What could be better than a custom made sandwhich, just as you like it?

Desserts are amazing. If you have a hankering for old fashioned Rice or Bread Pudding, this is the place to get it! And the butter tarts are not to be missed.

I rate this Tea Room 5 teacups out of 5 5 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Princely Pear Tea Room Not Suitable for Royalty

The Princely Pear Tea Room has a nice atmosphere but the food was only adequate and the service wasn't great.

My teacup was dirty and I couldn't get our server to look my way even though there was only one other couple in the room with us.

The Ham sandwich I had was okay - I mean really what can you do wrong with a ham sandwhich? My salad was okay, not great.

Dessert was Pecan Chocolate Pie. It wasn't the best, I've had better.

I give this tea room 2 1/2 teacups out of 5.

2 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Princely Pear Tea Room - Would The Prince Really Go?

Brian and I love the decor at the Princely Pear Tea Room in Cookstown Ontario... but the service and the food are not up to par.

Lunch was a Black Forest Ham Sandwhich with Garden Salad for Brian. I'll let him talk about that. My lunch was a Chicken Caesar Salad, one of my all-time favs in any restaurant.

I also ordered a cup of coffee with milk, not cream, and Brian ordered a pot of tea. Our server brought a teeny pitcher of milk, half full -- and 4 small containers of cream. I reminded her I wanted milk with my coffee. She looked bewildered and told me the milk was in the pitcher. Yes but there isn't enough of it for both of us....she never brought more and yes we did run out by the second cup, forcing me to have cream (yuk!) in my coffee. Never mind, the first cup was stone cold anyway... Strike 1 and 2

Okay the salad arrived after an eternity of waiting. Oh, and it is important to note that there was only one other couple in the whole tea room, with 2 servers. For some reason we could not get anyone's attention (hello, remember us over here in the corner??) and Brian's tea cup was filthy.... Strike 3

My salad had too much dressing which had not been properly mixed, so there were huge clumps of it here and there. The lettuce was a mixture of fresh and wilted old bits with dark green around the edges, giving it that just pulled from the toilet taste... Strike 4

I ate the chicken and left the lettuce but our server didn't think to ask why. I didn't volunteer any feedback, she obviously wasn't interested.

Next dessert - I have a lot of food allergies, have to be very careful so I am cautious and ask lots of questions before I order any item. I thought scones with whip cream and jam sounded good but a glance in the dessert display showed almond slivers on top. I asked our server if all their scones had nuts on top. "No" was her response, so I ordered non-nut scones. She started to leave, then stopped and said "well they do have almonds in them" Arrghh! "That would be nuts" I replied. Strike 4 1/2

I ended up with Blueberry Cheesecake which was delicious so the meal had a happy ending.

I rank this tea room 2 teacups out of 5 2 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Sunday, May 01, 2005

About Brian and Lorine - Tea Room Enthusiasts

Brian and I do a lot of travelling - hunting for antiques and visiting family. We like to find tea rooms and eat there, so we thought we might as well start a TeaRoom Review blog. After all we always have an opinion, and we've been hunting out antiques and tea rooms for 8 years.

We decided to rank the tea rooms we try based on decor, service and food. The best will get a 5-teacup rating. Decor that appeals to us is Victorian or unique or country, and of course clean. Warmth and charm score big points with us.

Service doesn't have to be what you might expect from a gourmet restaurant in a big city but we do expect servers to be clean, pleasant, and get our orders right. Service doesn't have to be speedy, after all, we're just poking around North America looking for antiques, so we have lots of time.

The food has to be the best. Sure, everyone has different tastes and expectations but Brian and I figure we're pretty good at judging if food is terrible, adequate, so-so or scrumptdillyicious!

Yep, it's subjective. I'm a hard judge, I don't like mistakes and I don't like attitude or mediocre food. A dirty glass can put me off my entire meal.

Brian's more laid-back and forgiving, so I think you'll enjoy reading our opinions on dining out in tea rooms around North America. I know we'll have fun finding and eating at them!

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