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Teahouse Restaurant in Stanley Park

January 23, 2014

Just before my husband and I left on our Thanksgiving trip, my husband was talking to his boss about our upcoming trip and where we would be going.  My husband’s boss has spent some time in Vancouver and mentioned to my husband that since we were going to be so close to Stanley Park, we should look in to having a meal at the Teahouse Restaurant inside the park.  With a recommendation in hand from someone’s opinion we trusted, we decided to make reservations for brunch at the Teahouse for the morning we’d be flying out-of-town.  Mind you, it had been raining, pretty much nonstop, and very heavy at times, for the 36 hours we’d been in Vancouver and I was a bit bummed that perhaps we wouldn’t have the opportunity to really enjoy the Teahouse due to the weather.

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You see, the Teahouse Restaurant isn’t just known as being a great place to dine with good food amidst the beautiful setting of Stanley Park, but it’s also located near the waterfront at Ferguson Point.  Part of the appeal of the restaurant is the amazing views over West Vancouver and English Bay from the restaurant.  However, luck happened to be on our side.  As we awoke on Sunday, we discovered that the rain had stopped and things were starting to dry out!  By the time we arrived at the Teahouse, we actually began to see blue sky, and then sun!  The first time we had seen the sun during our time in Vancouver.

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Stepping on to the grounds of the Teahouse, we could see exactly why people rave about the spectacular view from the restaurant as you dine.  What a peaceful and idyllic way to spend brunch on our last day in the city.

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The building that is today the Teahouse has had a long history in Stanley Park.  In the early 1900s, the Canadians feared that the city could become the target of attack by German merchant raiders.  During World War I, to protect the city, the government set up a gun battery at Ferguson Point.  Eventually the gun battery was removed just prior to the end of the War in 1918.  In the 1930s, there was a perceived threat from Japan and fortifications were erected in Stanley Park, including a gun battery and bunker at Ferguson Point and Third Beach.  The military continued to expand its use of Stanley Park and built barracks at Ferguson Point to support the battery detachment in the area and to provide training.  What is today the Teahouse Restaurant was originally built during this time to be an officers’ mess.  At the end of the war, the bunker was buried and the battery removed, but the mess remained.  Sitting in a state of disrepair the mess hall was closed by the city in the mid-1970s and seemingly condemned to demolition.  In the late 1970s the property was acquired by the present owner and fully renovated and added on to.  Today, it stands as a reminder of the past history of the park and a lovely restaurant from which to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery and the beauty of the park.

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Since it was brunch, we decided to start our meal with some morning joe. Well, actually I did.  A vanilla latte, to be exact.  So pretty in this tall coffee mug. Just a hint of sweet vanilla syrup and some rich coffee.  I love seeing the layers of the vanilla-flavored milk on the bottom, and the rich, strong coffee on top, and the whole drink topped by foam.  My husband decided to order his traditional morning drink of choice, orange juice.

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On the menu, my husband saw something that made his eyes bug out and he said we had to order it.  Begrudgingly, after tasting it, I had to admit that it was a great thing that we did order it.  It being homemade warm croissants and homemade apple-strawberry-blueberry jam.  Enjoying hot, flaky, just-out-of-the-oven croissants is not something I’ve ever experienced before. It was incredible. Breaking open the croissant to see a stream of hot steam rising out of the croissant was a thing of beauty.  That first taste of the rich and buttery croissant was just amazing.  It was one of the best things I’ve had in such a long time.

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My husband loved the homemade apple-strawberry-blueberry jam.  The homemade jam was the perfect combo of sweet and tart to stand up to the rich, buttery croissant.  My husband thought this was absolutely awesome!  There were 4 croissants in the basket, I let my husband finish off the basket.

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For my meal, I wanted to go with more of a lunch item than a breakfast item. So, I decided to start my meal with a Caesar salad and order an entrée portion of their grilled salmon. I figured, since we were in British Columbia and salmon was their specialty, I should give it a try.  Unfortunately, there was a bit of a misunderstanding with the waiter and he thought that I ordered the Caesar salad as my meal with grilled salmon on the salad.  However, he was thrown off when I said I wanted my salmon to come after the salad.  So, I got the right salad delivered to the table, a small side Caesar salad with shaved padano and parmesan crostini.  Unfortunately, when my meal actually came out, instead of a full-sized salmon entrée, I ended up with a small piece of grilled salmon that should have gone on top of my salad. That was a bit disappointing as I pretty much ended up without a meal. Oh well, the Caesar salad was fantastic.  I loved the parmesan crostini. I just wished that I had more of it.

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To go with our food orders, my husband wanted a side order of the pomme frites with homemade truffle aioli.  Pomme frites is just the fancy word for good old-fashioned French fries.  But it was the homemade truffle aioli that really caught my husband’s eye.  Along with the truffle aioli, homemade ketchup was also served.  That homemade truffle aioli was just fantastic.  The aioli had just the right hint of truffle oil in it without being overpowering.  It provided for a great dip for the French fries, so much so that we barely even used any of the ketchup.

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For his meal, my husband decided to go with the breakfast route rather than a lunch meal.  I thought he was going to take the eggs Benedict, but he surprised me by trying something new, something I’d never heard of before, the Montreal smoked meat hash.  The dish contained a poached egg atop caramelized onions, red pepper, crushed potatoes and covered in hollandaise sauce.  Wow, the dish was rich and amazing!  When the waiter asked my husband how he wanted the eggs, he said, the runnier the better!  And when the dish was brought out and he cracked the egg and the yolk started running  out, it was love at first sight.  My husband absolutely loved this dish.  The smoked meat had great flavor that stood up against all the other flavors in the dish – the egg, the peppers, the onions.  The creamy egg yolk mixed with the potatoes created such a delicious and rich base to go with the smoked meat.  The red pepper added a bit of spice and flavor which my husband appreciated.  With the addition of the zesty and citrusy hollandaise sauce, my husband felt like he had the perfect brunch dish because it combined all the elements of his favorite eggs Benedict but with the addition of smoked meat and potatoes and caramelized onions and red pepper.

I know we were out for brunch, but this would be our only meal of the day as we were flying back to Los Angeles in the afternoon, so we decided to go for it and order dessert.  Naturally, my husband and I couldn’t agree on what dessert to get so we each ordered one. After all, it was vacation and it was ok to splurge a bit.

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Our waiter indicated to us that the majority of the desserts on the menu were made in-house with the exception of the tart shell on the lemon tart.  But come on, a dessert with lemon in it, my husband’s all over that!  So, he ordered the lemon tart with candied lemon.  Even though the tart shell wasn’t made in-house, they did make the lemon curd themselves as well as making the candied lemon that tops the dessert.  Served over a little bit of raspberry coulis, the lemon tart had a great touch of tartness to it with a buttery shell.  My husband isn’t a big fan of pie shells, or in this case, a tart shell so he could care less that  it wasn’t made in-house.  But my husband thought that the lemon curd was perfect.  And of course, the candied lemon was my husband’s favorite part of the dish.

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For my dessert, it was an obvious choice.  I saw chocolate on the menu and I knew it would be mine.  In this case, chocolate Milano cake.   Again, this dessert was served on a plate topped with some raspberry coulis.  The cake is described as a light, triple chocolate mouse with an almond wafer crust.  When the waiter served it at the table, he said that it had whipped mascarpone cheese in it.  Whatever it was, I describe it as delicious.  I couldn’t believe how light and airy this cake was.  The whipped chocolate mousse really added airiness to the cake along with the chocolate sponge cake which added texture and depth.  And the almond wafer crust was so delicate and sweet.  This was one of the best, most decadent, yet light chocolate cakes I’ve ever had.  I literally felt like I could have eaten half a cake, it was just out of this world.

I’m so glad that my husband convinced me to try out the Teahouse Restaurant even though I was skeptical about it at first.  I told my husband he had to go back and tell his boss that it was a good recommendation for our Sunday brunch.  The setting was just perfect with the Teahouse sitting at Ferguson Point with a view looking out towards English Bay, on a morning when blue skies and sun finally made an appearance breaking through the grey rain clouds.  The food was awesome, the service was terrific, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect ending to our long weekend in San Francisco and Vancouver.

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