A few weeks ago, during the Winterlude festival here in Ottawa, Alex and I decided to break the monotony of winter in our own little way — afternoon tea. We were joined by his brother –whose first time it was– at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and had a wonderfully soothing and refined few hours.
There are very few places (as of yet) to have afternoon tea here in Ottawa, and Zoe’s Lounge is certainly one of the most elegant places to have it in.
The experience started with a glassful of seasonal fresh fruit; delicious, and refreshing! It definitely whet the appetite, especially as I have a habit of not eating anything at all before tea, otherwise I find I get too full, too quickly to do all the tiers justice!
I chose the jasmine tea –which was lovely and light in the beginning, but as time wore on, started to grow incredibly bitter. I hope that Fairmont will consider implementing a little dish or tray to put your tea strainers in so that it doesn’t get over-steeped. Apart from that, and the fact that the bread for the butter chicken salad seemed a bit dry and stale, everything was lovely. I tried not to indulge too much in the Devonshire cream and strawberry jam (too scrumptious to be sparing), and savoured every bit of my scones.
The staff were very friendly and attentive, and helped to elevate the experience. Many thanks to the lovely lady (I did not get a chance to peek at her name-tag!) for patiently letting us sniff our way through almost their entire tea repertoire!
The ambiance was restful –soft music (both classical and more modern piano pieces) played in the background, although I did notice that the television on the wall was on as well; it usually isn’t, which I prefer, as it can be distracting to one’s focus on and pleasure in the moment.
All in all, such an incredibly enjoyable way to brighten one’s day and shake off the winter blues.
Monday to Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.
*Reservations are required for Afternoon Tea. Please call the hotel directly at (613) 241-1414 to reserve.
Fascinator: Monsoon ‘Vivian’ velvet pillbox fascinator (2015)
Coat: DKNY cascading ruffle wool ¾ length coat (2013) [buy here]
Top: Kate Spade ‘abree’ cashmere sweater in black (2014)
Skirt: J. Crew flounce skirt in bonded wool in cerise (2014)
Shoes: ALDO ‘Loralee’ ballet flats in red (2015)
For my outfit, I went a bit farther in my choices than I normally would, even for afternoon tea. I remember feeling that day that I wanted to wear something ‘outrageous’ (for me, at any rate!) and pull it off because I liked it, whether or not anyone else giggled, smirked, or thought me odd in the belfry. Wearing a substantial headpiece definitely was a little bit out of my comfort zone, but either people in Ottawa are incredibly kind, or being confident and forgetting that I am wearing lots of fabric on my head makes other people feel that this is normal fare. I’m not sure which, but I truly felt that I had grown up just a little bit more. It’s nice to try something with aplomb!
I wore my ‘Duchess of Cambridge-esque’ ruffle coat from DKNY — love the ruffle detail on the bodice, and all that is missing is for me to add a belt to the ensemble, and then the ‘copy-Kate-ing’ will be complete. 😉
For shoes, I really wanted to wear a pair of pumps, but knowing that I would be walking through wet, slushy streets, I decided for the still not-quite-sensible, yet slightly more practical ballet flats. I was all about the pops of red as well; my skirt was the same bright hue, and it is a shame it didn’t get documented, because it has the most beautiful flouncy, ruffly hem!
Do you have any favourite afternoon tea spots?