I came to know Bernard Noir Chocolate Boutique through their Social Shopper deal for afternoon tea for two people. The voucher cost was $33, but the value of the afternoon tea for two people was $60. I made a reservation over the phone to try out their afternoon tea with a friend.
The cafe is located on West Pender in the Coal Harbour area of Downtown Vancouver. It is owned and operated by a couple. After we entered the cafe, I checked in at the counter where the owner took down my Social Shopper voucher code. The owner then asked us to choose our own tea bag from a selection of tea cans along the wall. I was a bit surprised that there was no loose leaf tea as this is what I normally would expect and experience at afternoon tea. My friend and I chose Zhena’s Double Vanilla White Tea. The owner then showed us our table which had a small reservation sign on it.
We were first presented with a small bowl of chicken noodle soup, which had good flavour to it. This is the first time where I have started an afternoon tea with soup.
The smoked chicken almond cranberry sandwich was pretty good. I liked the texture that the almonds added to the sandwich.
The lemon macaron was one of the favorite items from the afternoon tea.
The toasted baguette with brie and cranberry was okay.
The lemon tart and focaccia with tomato, pickle, and cheese were standard in my opinion.
The smoked salmon sandwich with cream cheese, capers, and lettuce was refreshing. I think the croissant could have been toasted a bit more for more crispiness.
The tiramisu was okay, but the presentation was a little off as it was presented on a spoon.
My friend later pointed out that the afternoon tea menu items differed than what was advertised on the Social Shopper deal. The deal stated that it includes “Greek yoghurt, butter vanilla tart with organic lemon curd, butter vanilla tart with ganache, black forest cake, macaron of choice (8 flavours to choose from), piece of Bernard Noir chocolate or truffle (dozens to choose from), cranberry orange scone with devonshire cream and orange jam, 2 pieces of quiche, plus savouries: 6 oz gourmet soup, smoked chicken almond cranberry sandwich, smoked wild sockeye salmon sandwich with cream cheese and cucumber, small assortment of cheese and fruits.”
We did not have the butter vanilla tart with ganache, Bernard Noir chocolate or truffle, cranberry scone with devonshire cream and orange jam, black forest cake, and small assortment of cheese and fruits. However, we had some items that were not advertised on the deal : tiramisu and the toasted baguette with brie and cranberry. We were also not offered the choice of macaron flavor. I understand that menu offerings can change depending on what is available, but I would have appreciated being told upfront regarding what is being substituted rather than figuring it out later.
The voucher indicated that the afternoon tea does not include tax and gratuity. At the end of the afternoon tea, we went to the counter to pay for the tax. The owner then suggested to us that we tip 10% of the value of the meal ($60). I found it a bit weird to be asked in-person to tip. I think a more comfortable way of doing this would be if they brought bill to the table. I paid for the tax and tip in cash and the owner collected the money.
The afternoon tea menu items tasted good on average but it seems a bit overvalued at $30 per person. However, some other aspects like not having loose leaf tea available, missing menu items and being asked to tip dampened the overall experience.
For more places on where to have afternoon tea in Vancouver, see here: https://foodgressing.com/2014/12/afternoon-tea-in-vancouver/