Friday, May 13, 2011

Murchie's Tea and Coffee

Address: 1110 Government St.
Phone: (250) 383-3112
Website: http://www.murchies.com/
Price: Less than $10 for a snack and latte
Notes: A Victoria institution, great for a sweet treat and a hot beverage!

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Murchie's Tea and Coffee shop has been operating in BC since 1894. From their website it sounds like the tea is grown, blended and processed locally, although the description is pretty vague. Part of the shop is dedicated to fresh food and drinks, while the other half is dedicated to tea and tea culture.

Murchie's is one of those places that makes Victoria feel very British. Part of me revels in this - I adore the UK and Murchie's does have a very authentic ambience of a British tea shop. I'm not sure what it is exactly. The lighting? The decor with the slightly rickety tables and chairs? The fact that it feels like it was once quite riche and trendy but that's when most of their clientele were young and cutting edge?

To me, this is definitely the territory of my grandmother who passed away, although I don't think we ever went here together. It's that expat and children of expats (and now grandchildren and great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren...) nostalgia for the homeland, . I think I once slightly offended a coworker who described it as a 'cool place' by saying this. I guess she and her husband dated there. So perhaps I am wrong...


Service:
This is the only part that feels inauthenticly British. If this was England, it wouldn't be young students who are perky and friendly. It would be gentle older ladies in the british food service 'uniform' who call you love but seem worn down by years of customer service.

It is quite British in that you queue up to pick your food out of the case - an epic array of pastries, baked goods and little sandwiches as well as a wide selection of tea and coffee. If you get it to stay, it is served on a silver tray - so decadent!


Food:

Ginger Delight Latt√© via foodspotting.com

I broke out of my normal africano order for Murchies - after all, they are an epic tea shop! The Ginger Delight sounded quite good. I used to have a ginger peach tea that went fantastically with a bit of milk and I pictured this being similar. This wasn't what I was expecting - it was more green tea with a punch of ginger. It wasn't bad - especially if you like green tea lattes. 




This wasn't quite as tasty as it sounds. I feel like I should have read the label more thoughfully - I did notice that it was described as 'yogurt' something or other, but I thought that would describe the flavour. Instead, I think this was basically yogurt plus gelatin with strawberries and whipped cream on top. Whenever I've had panna cotta in the past, it's been quite rich, in fact googling panna cotta I see that it means 'cooked cream' and I'm pretty sure this was not cream.  Perhaps I accidentally chose a low-fat option, in which case it was good for what it was, but in the moment it didn't quite satisfy my need for a small dose of rich, creamy, silky pudding.

   

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