The Brut from Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars is a wonderful sparkling white with a dry, citrusy finish. We had been sitting no longer than a few minutes when Mr. Kyle Johnstone, the energetic Bacchus manager, brought us a couple of glasses of Blue Mountain's finest. Sitting in opulence, dark wood panelled grandeur, we sip our sparkling wine and watch our fellow patrons laugh and enjoy their meals. To say the atmosphere is upscale, the drink program amazing and the food way above average wouldn't be putting it firmly enough!
We are at Bacchus to preview their afternoon tea ahead of Mother's Day and decided on the Thunderbolt Darjeeling and Lavender Earl Grey. Mr. Johnstone has been covertly trying every afternoon tea around town to get inspiration for Bacchus' offerings and it shows! The presentation is top notch, the food hearty and plentiful and the tea is magnificent! I found the Thunderbolt Darjeeling more fruity than floral and it's packed with caffeine. There's a bit of a dryness, happily, to it that I found very satisfying and I thoroughly recommend it. For a period of about a decade I would not dry my clothes without a lavender scented dryer sheet. Ditto dish soap requiring a lavender hue. Shampoo, air freshener, body lotion... you get the idea. Having bucked the compulsive trend I still find myself partial to the sweet, soothing smell. The Lavender Earl Grey is as good as it sounds; the perfection that is Earl Grey augmented with the delicious, curative lavender. Worth a trip all on its own!
Three tiers of deliciousness are then placed in front of us. Egg salad sandwiches, smoked salmon and cream cheese spirals, tandoori chicken sandwiches, shrimp salad sandwiches and cucumber sandwiches make up the bottom tier. I have had some bad experiences with egg salad. Think of the apprehension you have of tequila the next time you partake after it has done you wrong... this is the hesitation with which I took my first bite, but it was the best I have ever had and quickly disappeared. Smoked salmon is incredible, I think that's universally recognized? Cheese is amongst the best things on Earth and when you combine the two, as one should, the result is a perfect 10/10 sandwich; delicious! Tandoori chicken runs a close second to butter chicken in the hierarchy of Indian food according to Scotty and this sandwich doesn't disappoint. The shrimp salad sandwich was excellent and you can tell the shrimp was very fresh and supple. While I am a self proclaimed carnivore I have to admit that I found the cucumber sandwich very delicious. A cool, crisp and refreshing offering!
Tier two boasts a lovely English Fruit Cake, Almond Tart, Lemon Chiffon Cake and Fruit Tart. Fruit cake isn't to be feared. This isn't your aunt realizing her fruit bowl is going bad and using up everything in a "fruit cake" and freezing it to give as Christmas gifts 5 months later. This is fresh, fluffy and sweet fruit cake and I would have eaten a pound of it. Almonds are filled with protein. 21 grams of the stuff per 100 grams onto be exact. Ahhhhhhh so this is how vegans don't waste away to skeletons. I love them and this tart made me want to eat a garbage bag full! The chiffon cake was the perfect sweetness of lemon, not too tart and not diabetes inducing and the fruit tart was delicious and packed with vitamins. Who said dessert wasn't healthy?
Tier three, the top tier, is where the Atkins diet goes to die. Carbs, with carbs and some sugar. Scones, eclairs and macarons with a heavenly Devonshire cream and fruit preserves. I have often waxed poetically about Devonshire cream and Bacchus does it as well if not better than most and it really complimented the fresh scones. Eclairs are luxury donuts, long johns packed with surprises. In this instance a rich cream that was so incredibly thick and fresh, delicious! The macarons were expertly done and the flavours, as is sometimes not the case, were well balanced. I mean at some places you'll see 'rose petal, watermelon, pineapple, crab apple, road apple, lemon, chocolate macarons'? Just stop.
The Wedgewood Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel just off Robson and Burrard in the heart of Downtown Vancouver and across the street from the Supreme Court of BC and the Vancouver Art Gallery. The Bacchus Restaurant, as Wedgewood's prestigious lobby bar, is frequented by lawyers, doctors from the nearby hospital, businessmen, professionals and celebrities. It is an excellent place to people watch, eat and drink or just sidle up to bar and watch the game. I would very highly recommend checking it out and maybe make a night of it, book a room upstairs and go wondering the paradise that is Vancouver!