By Kathy Mak
After a spot of shopping in the vibrant South Granville strip of Vancouver, step around the corner to find Soffee Café, a dining haven nestled away on a quiet side street. Behold one of the city’s more laid-back, cozy afternoon tea experiences. You’ll feel right at home in this quaint parlour-style café serving a tempting selection of handcrafted sweet and savoury fare, along with Afternoon Tea services done differently.
What makes Soffee Café memorable is its relaxed charm and enticing array of in-house made food. Step inside and you’ll discover comfy interiors adorned with antiques aplenty and an eclectic mix of flowery china. You’ll quickly settle into this inviting space that feels more like an intimate living room than a café.
The vintage ambiance sets the scene for an elegant, but unpretentious, afternoon tea experience that forgoes etiquette for a fresh twist on a posh tradition. There are seven different services with sets of 8 or 13 pieces – afternoon demi tea, afternoon high tea, vegetarian demi tea, vegetarian high tea, pescatarian demi tea, pescatarian high tea, and a kid’s tea (6 pieces). Each service is a lovely multi-stage experience.
Seafood lovers will especially adore the afternoon high tea and pescatarian high tea; the selection of mini canapes include: shrimp cocktail salad, steamed lobster delight, white wine seared scallop and smoked salmon lox brioche.
Of course, afternoon tea would not be afternoon tea without the elegant towers of savoury and sweet morsels, all done Soffee style, including: prosciutto pesto asparagus, caprese salad-bite, crème brûlée/pana cotta, chocolate tart, lemon tart, mini orange cupcakes and house tea scones…just to name a few.
All afternoon tea services include perfectly brewed teas from a large selection of premium Kusmi and the option of a house-made Soffee fresh fruit tea, which has been brewed for 12 hours with tropical fruits. And coffee lovers don’t have to miss out as their extensive menu includes a full range of espresso-style drinks made with fair trade, organic coffee from a local Italian roaster.
In addition to keeping afternoon tea on point, Soffee Café offers the flexibility to reserve the tea services for any 2-hour seating period from 10 am – 4 pm, unlike some tea parlours in the city that have pre-set time slots.
Each offering at the café has a home-made quality and is artfully prepared onsite, except for their croissants. Organic and local ingredients are used whenever possible.
Aside from their unique afternoon tea services, Soffee Café also offers a contemporary a la carte menu with plentiful choices that has everyone covered – from morning baked treats and gourmet pastries to hearty sandwiches.
What stands out in their versatile menu is the substantial number of gluten-free items, such as their carrot ginger cake, chocolate zucchini bread, banana bread, chickpea brownie, and their energy bar.
The delicious spread of sweet choices is not limited to baked items. Resistance is futile when it comes to the Nutella french toast, stuffed with Nutella and brandy-caramelized banana, or the compote french toast, loaded with their house organic berry compote.
Their popular lunch menu has a wide range of salads, grilled paninis and other savoury dishes. You’ll find it hard to decide between standout options like the spicy roasted pulled beef panini, ham & cheese French toast, and roasted pulled chicken crêpe.
All the personal touches, exquisite food and warm service are credited to a small team led by the owners, a mother and son duo – Sophia and Andy (right-hand side of image).
Soffee Café is located on 8th avenue, a short stroll off Granville Street. It’s one of the city’s hidden gems that is worthwhile discovering.
Want a taste of Soffee Café from your own kitchen? Try their gluten-free matcha coconut squares recipe!