More and more dining establishments around town are beginning to pick up the cue that Vancouverites have an appetite for afternoon tea.
For the food and tea-lovers who are always on the lookout for a new spot that serves this midday meal—we have good news.
Mosquito (32 Water Street), a stylish and moody dessert and champagne bar in the heart of Gastown, has started offering a contemporary afternoon tea set ($50 per person, plus taxes and gratuity) on Sundays (1 to 4 p.m.).
You won’t be served anything you’d normally find in a traditional English tea set, such as scones, finger sandwiches, and mini desserts that are beyond sweet.
But what you can expect to indulge in is a two-tier wooden stand filled with intricately made treats that are delicious and photogenic.
Co-owners Alice Wu and Johan Friedrich decided to create an afternoon tea menu because they think that it is something many people in the city can relate to.
In contrast to Moquito’s evening menu (a relatively new concept that requires a certain taste for upscale and unique food and drink creations), guests will be presented with an offering they are probably already familiar with (a pot of tea, pastries, savoury bites).
“I’ve had a lot of really good afternoon tea experiences in Europe, and I kind of want to bring that back to Vancouver,” Wu told the Straight in an interview at her Gastown establishment. “I am trying to create those experiences again for our guests.”
You begin your gourmet meal by choosing a pot of tea. Mosquito’s current selection includes organic earl grey, fresh tracks breakfast, Echinachai tea, orange blossom green tea, vanilla rooibos, chamomile, and mountain mint.
If you’re in the mood for something fancier, glasses of champagne, sparkling wine, and alcohol-free bubbly are also available.
Not long after your tea arrives, a basket of mini olive-oil-and-orange-blossom madeleines (traditional French butter cakes) will be brought to your table. These babies are freshly baked, which make them warm, soft, and highly addictive.
When your server brings over your afternoon tea stand, he or she will be sure to give you the name and description of all the items you will devour (but you’ll most likely take a few more glances at the menu).
We suggest starting with the savoury creations before making your way to the mini desserts. You’ll be treated to an onion gruyère and prosciutto quiche; smoked salmon and crème fraîche (soured cream) on fresh bread; cucumber mint and cream cheese on fresh bread; and a tomato mozzarella macaron.
After you finish with the savoury items, you’ll be trying mini cakes such as a strawberry éclair (mascarpone rose crème légère, strawberry jam, micro Thai basil); miso chocolate tart (chocolate walnut ganache, miso butterscotch mousse, chocolate caviar); and pistachio raspberry cake (raspberry crémeux, pistachio mousse, white chocolate feuilletine), among others.
Somewhere in between finishing your last savoury bite and starting on the sweets, you’ll realize that this tea set serves a substantial amount of food. Don’t fret if you can’t finish everything—you can bring the unfinished items to-go.
“Right now, we limit to 16 sets per day,” explained Wu. “The reason why we try to limit how many sets [we serve] per day is because all the sandwiches are freshly cut and prepared. It’s not like we make them in advance and put them in the [fridge]. So it takes a lot of work.”
Some of this menu’s creations have a French influence because Friedrich is from France, which makes the experience all the more interesting.
“We focus a lot on using fresh ingredients and providing an enjoyable experience for our customers,” said Friedrich. “It’s a unique offering and I think that Vancouver people will really appreciate the amount of time and effort that we have put into our afternoon tea menu.”
The co-owners emphasize that the demand for this afternoon meal has been very high, and that they have plans to offer it on Saturdays as well. The menu is also seasonal, and a holiday serving will be announced in the near future.
Be sure to make a reservation in advance, as seating and quantity is extremely limited.
Scroll through the photos below for a first look at Mosquito’s newest offerings.