Decorations on the wall of this little converted house includes quite a collection of memorabilia regarding British royalty, including a family tree. While in the summer months I am quite certain there will be a reasonable number of tourists in this establishment, the fact is that in the winter months it seems to be quite undiscovered, and a domain of locals.
The restaurant seems to be particularly popular with the local police and fire, and therefore I am guessing that this is one of the better restaurants in the immediate area in terms of what you get for the price.
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I always walk past the James Bay Tea Room in the morning, and I've always been intrigued by the promise of their all-day egg special for $4.99. Nothing tugs at my heartstrings like the promise of a cheap brekfast, so one day I went in before work to check it out. The tea room is just as it promises- a single room- with windows lining a busy James Bay street. Try to get a window seat for good people-watching. The walls are literally plastered with images of the royal family, and it's hard to tell whether the jam-packed pictures are in jest or not.
Surely, the main draw at the James Bay Tea Room would be afternoon high tea. Here, high tea is served all day with an assortment of sandwiches, scones, tarts and tea or coffee. On the weekends, for a few dollars more, high tea also comes with trifle and cookies. The cost of tea here is about one-third of the price at the nearby Empress Hotel, although you definitely are losing some of that ambiance.
I skipped tea and chose the egg special instead. For $4.99 I got average scrambled eggs, hash browns that were clearly from frozen, and delicious toast with delicious jam. The bread and jam was a standout, the rest was forgettable. Actually, the house blend tea was pretty good as well. There are a lot of other great breakfast places in Victoria (The Blue Fox and Mole come to mind) but tea rooms are somewhat fewer and further between (and a lot more expensive!).
The exterior of this tea house makes it look like it will truly be a great tea experience. And inside it is filled with British memorabilia but honestly I found it a little tacky, too cramped and poor food. I would not go back again. Instead try the Blethering Place which in my mind is the best place for tea in Victoria. http://www.thebletheringplace.com/
The Tea Room is in an older, simple 'house' that offers a friendly and casual atmosphere at prices that provide a viable alternative to high tea at the Empress. The decor is wonderful old English.
Favorite Dish: An 'English' breakfast with good coffee as well as tea.