Friday, September 4, 2009

Victorian Tea Parlor - An Unruffled Tea Time with all the Ruffles

Entering the small brick building with the bright yellow door, in downtown Berkley, one is met with an explosion of chintz, lace and bric-a-brac. Every shelf and table surface is filled with an assortment of tea cups, teddy bears, candles and other tea-related curiosities. There’s so much to take in, you’ll use your leisurely afternoon tea time to absorb it all. Such was our entry into the Victorian Tea Room last week.

To say there’s a feminine side to this tea room is a bit of an understatement. But, it shouldn't deter males from partaking in the fun. The food and service is quality and gender-neutral and worth the absence of a big-screen TV or moose head on the wall.

My tea companions were my son, Matt, and daughter, Rachel. Matt and I had been there a few years ago, when, even as a teenager, Matt was willing to cross the line into ruffled curtains and pink tablecloths to take his mother out to tea for Mother’s Day. What struck us back then, as it did last week, was the friendly service and inviting home-brewed tea.

We started our afternoon, after some highly-spirited and good-natured chiding directed at Matt from our hostess, with two pots of tea: black current black tea and tropical green. After waiting for the leaves to steep, we poured the tea into our cups with the help of those charming silver tea strainers that catch the loose tea from the teapot. It’s just another lovely detail that adds to the ultimate afternoon tea experience.

For our lunch entrĂ©e, we all decided on the open-faced chicken salad sandwich with melted cheese. As our hostess proclaimed from the onset, “this is not fast food” and so, while waiting for our meal, we sipped our tea and discussed everything from college schedules to health coverage to the cute little stuffed animals that pop out from various glassware around the tearoom. When served, our sandwiches were tasty and light, which saved room for this restaurant’s "home baked" desserts.

Matt and Rachel chose the chocolate raspberry cake while I broke from the pack and ordered the lemon curd tart with Devonshire cream. The chocolate cake was deliciously rich while the lemon curd tart was a burst of citrus-y decadence tempered most appropriately with the silky-smooth cream topping.

It was an afternoon of tea, food, and conversation. Keep in mind, this is not a place of drive through service or economy pricing, but that’s why one comes to visit, to be sure.

BTS gives this a pearl-buttoned, lace-crocheted, white-gloved thumbs up.

Yours in TEA and


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