An Under the Radar Spot for Tea in Downtown Vancouver
A girlfriend came into town and wanted to meet Bibi for the first time over afternoon tea in downtown Vancouver. Bibi had been to afternoon tea before and I was (mostly) confident that she could sit still in a quiet environment and enjoy the experience so we decided to make a visit to Colette Grand Cafe in Holt Renfrew in Downtown Vancouver. It turned out to be a good choice for all of us as my girlfriend and I enjoyed the ambiance and the food while Bibi's fussiness near the end of our visit went mostly unnoticed by the other patrons because of the restaurant's unique combination of being refined but relaxed at the same time.
The restaurant is tucked away in a corner of the Holt Renfrew department store in Pacific Centre Mall on the ground level. It's actually quite easy to miss it but this arrangement also provides the dining establishment with a bit more privacy.
Afternoon Tea for Large Groups
The space is comprised of 2 main dining rooms joined together in a L-shape. The outer room holds the bar and the bigger tables while the inner dining room features intimate booth seating and tables for smaller groups. It's also well-lit with natural light pouring in from the windows along one side of the wall.
As you can see in the photo above, another patron also brought her child's stroller inside the dining area. There's ample space to push it around the tables and keep off to one side. The wide space is surprisingly very child-friendly and appears quite accommodating for larger groups.
Traditional Tea Sets in Vancouver
I appreciate that Colette's afternoon tea set is served on a traditional 3 tier tray. Themed teas with their elaborate displays are exciting but there is also something very attractive about having tea with a classic setup like this. The mini-sized scones are served alongside house-made jams and creme fraiche that was a bit watery for my liking.
The savories consisted of a small croissant and some finger sandwiches. They were all of decent size and proved to be quite filling.
The dessert pieces were petite sized but I found it was just enough as some of them were on the sweeter side. There was only of each of the chocolate and white chocolate mousse.
Colette Grand Cafe Menu
The tea list is a small one, with just 2-3 of the most popular teas for each category, respectively. Looking at it now, I find the list a bit too small and uninteresting but at the time, when I was busy catching up with my girlfriend, I did appreciate having less information to sift through.
I was pleasantly surprised by my baby-friendly afternoon tea experience at Colette Grand Cafe. In addition, I found the food selection, quality and ambiance to be a great overall value for afternoon tea in the heart of the city. (NOTE: the price has been updated when I last checked in February of 2020, it is now $50 per person. There are more interesting tea sets available elsewhere at this price point but since I have not tried the newest Colette tea set, I do not know if there are any new changes that might warrant this price increase.) It isn't as trendy as some of the themed teas offered in the city right now but at the same time, not everyone is looking for that. I would recommend it for those who want a refined yet relaxed tea experience. It's a lovely destination spot to enjoy a tea set or simply have a mid-afternoon break while shopping downtown.
Until our next tea date.
Last Notes on the Colette Tea Set
- Great overall value.
- Refined yet relaxed atmosphere.
- In downtown core, close proximity to shopping and other activities.
- Large open space can accommodate larger groups for baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays etc.
Alcoholic Beverages: mocktails, cocktails, beer, wine, sparkling available
Casual Afternoon Tea Set: $50/set
Hours: Afternoon Tea is served daily 2:00 pm–6:00 pm
A: Holt Renfrew Vancouver, 737 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver, BC V7Y 1E4
T: (604) 678-0316