Have you ever noticed that some days you learn a couple new things and some days you learn nothing? Since TWG Vancouver, which, it turns out, stands for The Wellbeing Group (learning) made its debut in Vancouver in 2016 their offerings seem to be constantly improving. The service has evolved in lockstep with our host Brady and server Donnie making us feel stupendously welcome! We started our visit with the Tea Party Tea, a delightful black tea with sweet undertones, and the White Spring Yin Zhen Silver Needles. The White Spring is renowned for its health benefits and is easily added to ones health regime because it is really delicious.
The West Coast Tea Set is a uniquely Vancouver, three-tiered teatime experience crafted by the very talented Chef Cliff Hohl. Japanese Miso Sablefish, Follow Me Tea Albacore and Steelhead Hawaiian poke with uni, Sencha infused Spicy Scallop Tempura Roll and Wagyu Beef and Burgundy Truffle with Hidden-Pu-Erh infused Vietnamese Pho. Yes Pho, properly pronounced fuh (think duh with an 'f'), in a tea set; amazing! Chef Cliff makes my favourite Sablefish. To say it's delicious cheapens the meaning of the word. It is incendiary. Having visited Hawaii for the first time in 2016 I came home with what some may dub an "unhealthy poke lust". I would dub it love and the poke done at TWG in a way that would make my Oahu brethren proud! The Spicy Scallop Tempura Roll is very good and the Pho, with its incredible Wagyu beefy goodness, wouldn't feel out of place in Saigon. In all an incredible and satisfying meal, but we were fortunate enough to indulge in another tea set right after we devoured this one.
The Chic Tea Set, unlike the temporarily available West Coast tea set, is a bonafide, tried and tested TWG menu staple. It features: Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream with Nori and Genmaicha Furikake, Mimosa Egg Sandwich with Aioli and Mirror Quail Eggs, Smoky Russian Tea Infused Tomato Bread with Pesto Chicken and Stracciatella Cheese. We had our arms twisted and added the Finger Sandwiches plate so we could enjoy two additional sandwiches not included in the Chic Tea Set, the Foie Gras Medallion and Atlantic Lobster Salad.
Smoke anything, salmon, beef, leather or bicycle, and I'll eat it. I will. The smoked salmon sandwich has a really nice popcorn-y flavour to it and I could have eaten 50 even after the West Coast Tea Set! The Mimosa Egg Sandwich's yoke pops as soon as you put it in your mouth and the flavour is fabulous. The pesto chicken sandwich is literally the best chicken sandwich I've ever had! Somewhere between the unique cheese and tomato bread a new level in chicken sandwichery is reached. Lobster is the most expensive crustacean on Earth and it isn't because they're beautiful. It isn't because they're hard to catch. It is because they taste like a sunny walk through a dewy meadow on your birthday. The lobster salad sandwich tastes like that walk times 10; it is incredible! The foie gras offering is equally delicious with a tangy mustard kick.
The TWG desserts are worth the trip alone: Lemon Bush Tea infused Mousse Tart, Napoleon Tea Infused Jivara Petit Four, 1837 Tea Infused Pâté de Fruit and TWG Macaron. The Pâté de Fruit is amongst the tastiest things I've ever masticated. I have a sweet tooth, all my teeth really, and this soothed the lot. The lemon tart harkened back to my sweet Granny's homemade lemon meringue pies and I like things that make me think of the dearly departed Francis Allan so I liked this tart. Like a lot. The TWG macarons wouldn't be easily discernible sitting beside their $100 a pop, bejewelled Parisienne cousins and the Jivara Petit Four would satisfy any chocolate hounds cravings.
TWG is the best tea house in Vancouver. Full stop. It is wondrously beautiful inside and it, like the world's best athletes, the world's best anything really, strives to improve itself everyday. Chef Cliff Hohl is passionate about his craft and is also very, very good at it. Their upcoming Easter Tea Set will no doubt inspire me to wax poetically and I look forward to trying it. As you should.