My friends and I decided to try out Ruelo’s Afternoon Tea for my friend Jessica’s birthday. We went at around 2:30 (their afternoon tea starts at 2 and they don’t take reservations). We fortunately got there just in time to get the last large table for the five of us. The Ruelo location that we went to was the one located in Richmond Hill in the Times Square Plaza. This location is fairly small there were about two tables that could fit groups of 4 or 5 and I believe two tables that could seat groups of two. There was also “bar” seating towards the front of the shop that could seat three people. The atmosphere was decent. We went on a Sunday so it was rather busy with people walking in and out of the shop to pick up the various treats that Ruelo has to offer.
On to the afternoon tea part. With taxes the afternoon tea came to about $20. We had a choice of coffee, tea, lattes, or hot chocolate for an extra 50 cents. Like traditional afternoon tea places, Ruelo gave us the option to smell the teas before we chose. The tea that they use is made by Kusmi Tea. I chose green tea with almond. I enjoyed the tea I chose as it had a slight nutty flavour without over powering the taste of the green tea. I thought it paired quite well with the food that we were served. I drank the tea plain and it wasn’t too bitter which also made it enjoyable. The only thing I didn’t like is that we had to grab the teas from the bar ourselves. Maybe it’s just me but if I’m going to afternoon tea I’d like the tea to actually be served to me.
As for the food, we were not given as much food as we were given at the Old Curiosity Tea Shop, which is the only other place I’ve been to for afternoon tea. Although there was less food, the quality was slightly better albeit less filling. We were given a tray with three serving tiers. The bottom most tier held the “sandwiches”. On this tier we were given a slice of baguette with bruschetta, prosciutto wrapped in arugula, and a slice of baguette with arugula and smoked salmon on top. There was also a drizzle of olive oil on the tier as well. The “sandwiches” were okay, we found the baguettes to be a bit too hard. I thought they tasted better than the sandwiches we had at the Old Curiosity Tea Shop though. The next tier was the scones tier. There was only one type of scone on this tier and it was raisin scone. The scones were quite delicious and had a buttery taste. They weren’t too dry and were nice and warm as well. It was served with a creme and a jam. The scone tasted even better with the jam! The scones at Ruelo were much better than the Old Curiosity Tea Shop. The ones we got at the Old Curiosity Taste shop were very dry and didn’t taste very fresh. The very top tier had a macaron for each of us as well as a small crème brûlée. The macarons were tasty. I split a vanilla one and a coffee one with my friend. The vanilla one had a rich vanilla flavour which really stood out and shows that they use high quality ingredients in their macarons. The coffee one was packed full of flavour as well but I enjoyed the vanilla one more only because I am not a big fan of coffee. The macaron was split very nicely and didn’t break into pieces when we ripped it apart. The crème brûlée was quite delicious as well. The sugar top cracked and we dug in right away. The bottom of the dish was also full of crushed vanilla beans. The desserts we were given at Ruelo were much better than what we received at the Old Curiosity Tea Shop. The vanilla macaron was probably the thing I enjoyed the most besides the tea.
Overall I had a pleasant experience at Ruelo. It was a fun afternoon out with my friends and I would probably go again. I would like to try one of the many pretty cakes that they have there the next time that I go.