Sandwiches & Tea @ Truffles Fine Foods Cafe in Van Dusen Garden

Recently I noticed a new afternoon tea promo floating around twitterverse again -- $50 for 4 people or $28 for 2 people at Truffles Cafe in the Van Dusen Garden! I thought $12.50 was a really good deal, especially with a view of the garden! I rounded up afternoon-tea connoisseur Krispybites, Kirby, and another foodie friend!

I think it was the first time in years that I've been to Van Dusen.  The building is quite fance.  Inside there was a small cafe:

Right when we hit up the cafe, I totally understood why it was so cheap.  It was an open style cafe / self-serve cafe.  Patrons merely stroll in and take a seat wherever they want, and everyone goes up to the counter to order.  Interesting.  We were wondering if we would have to carry the tea set and fancy food tower ourselves too, but that didn't happen.  We did have to go up and get our own plates, (plastic) utensils and napkins though.  Not fance, but at that moment, considering the price, I couldn't really complain.

After ordering our set at the counter, we sat back down, only to be shouted at to go back and choose a tea.  Confused, the server said we could only choose one tea, but we asked if we could have two since it was a tea set for four, not two.  He complied and we chose two moTea tea bags: organic okanagan white orchard and organic vanilla rooibos.

I like the teapots.  One of the lids were broken and fell off when we were pouring tea out though.

moTea organic white orchard tea
I was really glad Krispybites chose the white tea blend -- it was sweet and very fruity.  I would consider buying something similar to this to have on a regular basis.

When the food came, we were pleasantly surprised at the portions! Krispy and Kirby mentioned it was carb-heavy, but I didn't complain.  $12.50 per person for so much food -- not bad at all.

We started with the bottom tier which included two sandwiches. We chose the Hawaiian panini and the chicken panini.  Both were served warm and tasted pretty good. I liked the Hawaiian which had ham and pineapple and cheese. These sandwiches are $7 each normally.

The bottom tier also had a cheese scone and a blueberry scone.  (Fun fact: I pronounce "scone" like "scon", rhyming with "John", because that's how the British say it.  And the scone did come from the UK after all. But no one here says it this way! Except my high school math teacher.)  These scones were really not that good.  I'm not huge on scones, but I remember making some in high school, and...... those were worse than these, actually.  Those were really bad, but this was marginally better.  This is what I visualize these scones to be: "normal" scones >>> truffles > the scones I made in high school.

We were already feeling a bit full from just the bottom tier and the tea.  The croissants on the second tier were also disappointing.  I'd say they were just as good (or as bad) as the one from Bel Cafe, but that one would be slightly better, just because it had chocolate.  

The coconut macaroons were not good either.  Although quite light, they were quite big.  After a few nibbles, I honestly wanted to throw it at someone because it looked like a snowball.  

The shortbread cookies were alright.  I wish it had more buttery taste to it.  I am proud to say I have made better shortbread cookies than these.

By the second tier, we were already quite hesitant to revisit this cafe.  All of our remaining hopes depended on the top tier. There were six macarons: chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, plain (white chocolate?) and two lemons. The macarons were much smaller than that of Thierry, but by first looks they seemed to have footed quite well and were quite nice. The shells were a bit bumpy though.  Although my companions liked them, I admit I was not impressed nor excited about them.  The almond flour was not finely milled and the texture was quite similar to that of the coconut macaron we just had.  I didn't like it. (Though we all agreed it was better than the Thomas Haas experience we had.)

The chocolate square and raspberry tart were quite small.  I noticed there was some condensation on them, and I think that made them a bit mushy.

Overall, quite the disappointment.  Although $12.50 is really cheap for afternoon tea, especially with this amount of food, I won't be coming back.  

Truffles Fine Foods Cafe
5251 Oak Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 505-4961   
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That's unfortunate, especially when everything looks so good!

@Lumico: Yeah! Unfortunate, but I guess you get what you pay for. I'm going to Fairmont YVR tomorrow with a coupon! Still a bit more expensive than this though, of course.

@Janice: Ooh! Looking forward to reading your review :)

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