Worlds Away in Steveston…
Adorabelle Tea Room & Gift Shop is housed inside the cheerful lemon yellow historic Steveston Court House. The interior is charming with feminine touches in a relaxing palette of pale pink, white and black. A variety of repurposed furniture painted white, plays a role in making Adorabelle simply ‘adorable’.
You will notice the Eiffel Tower is paid homage to throughout the tea room. An illuminated light panel above one of the seating areas will make you feel like you are staring up at the Eiffel Tower on a sunny day. Other small scale versions are placed around the room, which according to Cathy Hayes, who owns the business along with her husband Chris Hayes, is thanks to Chris’s love of the French monument.
To set aside time for afternoon tea is one of the most refined treats you can give yourself and a companion. I recently had the pleasure of having afternoon tea with Steveston Insider’s publisher, Carolynne Palla. Adorabelle promises if you “close your eyes…you will think you are in another place far, far away.” We did just that. We took time from our busy schedules, switched off our cell phones (a courtesy requested inside the tea room), and far from the madding crowd we spent an hour conversing. We sipped individually selected teas and leisurely ate our way through three tiers of tea sandwiches, fresh baked scones with sweetened cream and strawberry preserves, and petite sweets.
Cathy Hayes was born and raised in Richmond. She grew up baking alongside her mother and loved it; in fact, they still work alongside each other occasionally in Adorabelle’s kitchen. Chris Hayes is originally from London, Ontario. The couple met at Bikram Yoga in 2002 and married three years later. After a brief move to Langley the Hayes relocated to Steveston in 2010. They wanted to raise their two young children (ages 1 and 3) closer to family.
The Hayes confess that they are entrepreneurs by nature. They saw the need for a tea room in Steveston and jumped at the opportunity. In September 2011 extensive renovations began on the interior of the old Court House (1925) which, until recently, had been used as a conference room and storage for the former law practice located next door. By the middle of February 2012 Adorabelle was open for business.
The dress code is casually elegant, and there is even a ‘Tickle Trunk’ containing tiaras, top hats, feather boas, fascinators, masquerade masks, and wands, which both children and adults enjoying dipping into to enhance their tea party! If you are looking for a unique way to celebrate a special occasion or milestone consider a private afternoon tea booking. The venue seats twenty and is bound to leave your guests talking.
At the beginning of November Adorabelle unveiled their holiday menu which runs through December. The Christmas tier features caramel apple cider pound cake, strawberries and cream, a chocolate ginger cookie, chocolate peppermint petit fours, a mini cheesecake, along with an orange scone and an eggnog cranberry scone. The tea sandwiches include chicken Waldorf, egg salad pinwheel, dill cream cheese and smoked salmon pinwheel, cucumber and cream cheese, and savory bacon chive cupcake.
Child size tiers include a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream, chocolate peppermint lollicakes, strawberries and cream, a vanilla meringue cookie and an orange scone. The tea sandwiches include cucumber and cream cheese, cream cheese and cherry pinwheel, and raspberry jam and holiday sprinkle.
With thirteen teas on the menu, supplied from Steveston’s very own Nikaido tea and gift shop, the choices are as diverse as they are delicious. A tray of loose teas will be brought to your table to smell, and from there you can narrow down your decision. Adorabelle’s top five favourites are Steveston Blend, Paris, Cream Earl Grey, Summer and Coconut Almond.
The gift shop at the entrance to the tea room is a nice stop for last minute shopping. Amongst the selection of gifts you will find locally made Dam Good soap, scarves, hair clips and aprons.
Adorabelle offers four 1-hour afternoon tea seatings (reservations are required) during their Wednesday through Sunday hours of operation (11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.). Faced with the hustle and bustle that accompanies the holiday season, I am eagerly studying my December calendar to see when I can book an hour to decompress over a cup of Paris tea and sample the holiday menu.
Adorabelle Tea Room & Gift Shop
12051 Third Avenue