Afternoon Tea at Pendray Tea House in Victoria

July 3, 2017
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Afternoon tea at Gatsby Mansion in Victoria, British Columbia

Taking tea in a historic home in Canada’s most British city, Victoria, British Columbia

(Updated September 2019)

The city of Victoria, British Columbia on Canada’s West Coast is known as the most British city in Canada. What can be more British than afternoon tea, with fancy sandwiches, scones and clotted cream? Afternoon tea remains an honoured tradition in the city.

The most iconic spot for afternoon tea is the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel, which has been serving tea since 1908. There are also other great places in the city to take your afternoon tea. Like Pendray Restaurant at the Gatsby Mansion, where my sister and I spent a casual and elegant afternoon.

Afternoon tea at the Gatsby Mansion in Victoria, British Columbia

One of two dining areas inside the Gatsby Mansion

In 1875, William J. Pendray come to Victoria. He invested money he’d made from the gold rush and started a soap factory. The Queen Anne style Gatsby Mansion was built across from the inner harbour in the 1890s for Pendray and his family. His new home had painted frescoes on the ceilings and windows of stained glass shipped from Italy.

Afternoon tea at the Gatsby Mansion in Victoria, British Columbia

Today Gatsby Mansion is a boutique bed-and-breakfast operated as part of the Huntingdon Manor Hotel. Pendray Restaurant on the main floor offers a traditional Victoria Afternoon Tea.

Afternoon tea at the Gatsby Mansion in Victoria, British Columbia

Afternoon tea at the Gatsby Mansion in Victoria, British Columbia

The tea comes with fresh-baked scones, local fruit jam, devon-style cream, assorted tea sandwiches and signature pastries. A traditional version and a west coast variation of the afternoon tea is available. My sister and I each ordered a different version and shared.

The Traditional Tea came with a starter of dish of berries, egg salad sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches. The West Coast Tea came with a start of local crab bisque, baby shrimp sandwiches, and sablefish brandade sandwiches. Both teas included cucumber with lemon-dill cream cheese, smoked salmon pinwheel sandwiches, and the same selection of signature pastries. The menu varies slightly with the season.

Crab bisque at Afternoon tea at the Pendray Tea House in Victoria, British Columbia

Crab bisque

Also on the menu is a children’s afternoon tea, a vegan afternoon tea, and a judge’s tea which features heartier sandwiches and locally crafted beer instead of tea. There are also sandwich plates and soup available a la carte.

Pendray offers a selection of TWG teas. Our server poured tea into our cups in a circular motion. When I asked about that, she said it was an old tradition. Pouring tea in a clockwise manner welcomes your guest; pouring tea in an anticlockwise manner signals you’d like them to leave. She said she hadn’t yet poured anticlockwise. I was unable to find any information online to validate this tradition, but I did discover a wealth of tea superstitions, including one about stirring your tea anticlockwise spelling trouble.

The Pendray Tea House also offers a selection of wines and locally sourced beers.

Afternoon tea at the Pendray Tea House in Victoria, British Columbia

Pendray Tea House is open seven days a week. Afternoon tea is available Monday and Tuesday from 11 am to 2 pm; Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. Reservations are recommended. The relaxed historic setting has a step-back-in-time feel.

Other places for tea in Victoria, at varying prices, include the iconic Empress Hotel, Abkhazi Garden, the White Heather Tea Room, the Hotel Grand Pacific, and Venus Sophia.

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Afternoon tea at Pendray Tea House. Taking tea in a historic home in Canada's most British city, Victoria British Columbia #Victoria #BritishColumbia #Canada #tea
Afternoon tea at Pendray Tea House. Taking tea in a historic home in Canada's most British city, Victoria British Columbia #Victoria #BritishColumbia #Canada #tea

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  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    July 4, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I guess you should expect someplace named Victoria to have a British air about it. The mansion looks really beautiful.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      July 5, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Ken, the mansion is lovely and in a wonderful location.

  • Reply
    Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go
    July 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Oh, this looks like a place that I would really enjoy seeing with its elegant antiques and stained glass windows. And the goodies served with the tea look delish! This sounds like a fun sister’s getaway!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      July 5, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Anita, we had a fun afternoon.

  • Reply
    RoseMary Griffith
    July 6, 2017 at 10:30 am

    How utterly lovely your photos are, Donna. I fell in love with afternoon teas in Wales, but have not tried to find anything like it at home. Yet. I think this is yet another wonderful treat for where you live!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      July 12, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Thanks RoseMary. You should look and see if you can find an afternoon tea experience near home. It wouldn’t be quite like being in Wales, but might bring back nice memories.

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