Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Afternoon Tea - Headwaters Restaurant at the Millcroft Inn

55 John Street
Village of Alton, Ontario


In her opinion:
I love afternoon tea...the tradition, the simplicity of this mid afternoon meal...scones, sandwiches, sweets...and tea. Since we live in Canada and it's not as common as it use to be...it's hard to find a good spot to enjoy this English tradition. Luckily some of the inns and manor houses in Ontario are still carrying on the tradition and the Millcroft Inn is one of these places. We were in the area during Saturday of the August long weekend. We were actually on our way to the Flying Spatula (read post here) for lunch, when my darling husband suggested that we have afternoon tea there. You see, Edgar loves afternoon tea as much as I do and we've even blogged about it...read our ramblings here!

We arrived on the grounds of this lovely country inn and walked into the reception area. The Headwaters Restaurant in on the main level and we were shown to our table for three in the "pod" (a glass enclosed room with wonderful views of Shaw's Creek Falls). 

I was advised before making my tea selection that they were out of Earl Grey tea. Now that was not good...that's my favourite and my little man's favourite as well. You see, my seven year old has been going to tea with us since he was in the womb and absolutely loves his Earl Grey tea...we decided to order our second favourite, Darjeeling. It was actually a "Margaret's Hope Darjeeling Mercy" blend.

It wasn't my favourite Earl Grey but it was still a nice cup of black tea. Darjeeling is after all called the "champagne of tea" for a reason.

Melody our waitress, brought over the three tiered plate of goodies which consisted of; raisin scones (the raisins had been soaked in jasmine tea) with Devonshire cream and preserves, three types of finger sandwiches (deviled ham salad, egg salad and tomato-cucumber) and finally the pastries (carrot cake, lemon tarts and chocolate fudge brownie).

I started with the scones...they were flaky and delicious. The Devonshire cream was lovely and the black currant and strawberry jams were from Greaves and just beautiful. I love when scones have a certain softness and flakiness to them and these were perfect. 

The sandwiches were next...the deviled ham salad was very tasty with the mustard and pickles adding the right amount of flavour to the delicate ham. The egg salad was very good. Just an excellent egg salad sandwich with the right amount of seasoning. Finally, the tomato-cucumber sandwich was very refreshing. As many of you know, I don't really like cucumbers but do make the exception on certain occasions. This was one...I liked the flavour of the cream cheese and tomato which offset the cucumber perfectly.

Lastly, it was time to enjoy the sweets. I love dessert and dessert and tea or coffee is my little piece of heaven. I had three lovely desserts to enjoy with my tea. The first was the lemon tart...a mini, flaky tart shell filled with a luscious lemon cream topped with whipped cream, sliced blueberry and preserved lemon. So so good.  Next was the carrot cake. It was most and delicious. Just full of flavour. It was topped with whipped cream, walnuts and a piece of mango. Also very good. The last dessert was the chocolate fudge brownie. This little circle of chocolate goodness consisted on the moistest brownie I have ever had topped with whipped cream and jelly pearls. This was the best little morsel of chocolate that I have had in a long time.

Overall, I loved our afternoon tea at the Headwaters Restaurant at the Millcroft Inn. The tea, food and service were just delightful. It was a lovely afternoon tea experience. If you like afternoon tea...take the drive to the Village of Alton in Caledon and enjoy this English tradition.

In his opinion:
Afternoon Tea is a much loved activity that is not solely reserved for Brits or Royalty. It is enjoyed by many including my 7 year old kid that sadly has McDonalds as his foremost food reference, so there is a glimmer of hope yet.

When we set out on our Ontario country side adventures, the Millcroft Inn was not in our original plan. As we drove by a sign that showed the Inn's proximity, I recalled my desire to try it and this day seemed like a great one to do so. Unfortunately, we already had plans for meals that day so the great idea to do Afternoon Tea was born.

Arriving at the Millcroft Inn automatically puts you at one with nature and tranquility. From the beautifully manicured lawns, to the soothing waterfall all the way to the serene hospitality at their spa, the grounds are beautiful and peaceful. 

Tea for us was served on the second best seat in the house (main seat was already taken). The table faced the waterfalls and was located inside what the "locals" call the "POD". It is an all glass room, adjacent to the main building and on the second floor.

I chose Egyptian Chamomile tea (my favourite) and our waitress Melody was very good at keeping the tea pot filled. The 3 tierd dish was brought over and it was filled with goodies from top to bottom. Our waitress suggested us starting from the bottom but I have never been good at taking food directions so I did the complete opposite.

On the top tier we started with the scones, those delicious mini quick breads. Served with amazing strawberry and black currant jams. They separated easily into small pieces with every bite. The Devonshire cream was outstanding and the perfect spread for the flaking scone.

On the middle tier were the usual tiny sandwiches, full of flavour and deliciously fresh. I admit that it was enjoyable watching my wife bite into a cucumber sandwich, the type that she doesn't usually like. But she did eat them so that's a testament in itself. The egg salad were my favourite of the trio, packing a delicious creamy punch of flavour into every bite. Lastly, the deviled Ham sandwiches were great in their contrast of flavours and textures.

Then, it was finally time to get into the bottom tier, the dessert one. These confections were so well done that I almost didn't want to bite into them, but only almost. Lemon tart was the least impressive but mostly due to my own aversion to tart flavours in sweets. Sweets should be sweets in my humble opinion but I do make some exceptions once in a while. The chocolate cake was an explosion of chocolate with every bite, wishing it would never end but knowing that it would and that was one of the reasons that made it special. The carrot cake won me over for the tender, moist texture in which it caressed my palate but also with the topping selection of nuts and fruits.

The Good:  A wonderful room in an amazing setting certainly adds to the allure of a special experience. This restaurant is no exception but the food did speak for itself as well. Service was impeccable and very personalized.
The Bad: The absence of Earl Grey tea for that day was the only tiny stain in this perfectly folded white napkin.
The Verdict: The inn, the spa and the restaurant are all Four Diamond CAA/AAA Award venues and it shows. The service was excellent, as to be expected from a place of this caliber. I left happy and must return for dinner one day.

I give it 4 out of 5 Olives as rating

Headwaters Restaurant at the Millcroft Inn on Urbanspoon


  1. Was this on the weekend or do they serve tea all week?

  2. This was on the weekend but I believe that they serve tea daily from 2 to 4:30 pm.

  3. Awesome blog! Now In anticipation of a follow-up ….
    green coffee extract

  4. Greetings! Very supportive opinion on this article! This is the modest changes which make the greatest changes. A big Thanks for sharing this! Best Dim Sum San Francisco