The Aubrey Rose Tea Room

My friend B. and I both share an appreciation for things like manners, proper etiquette, letter writing (the “old-fashioned” kind with pen and paper!), good food, and being well dressed regardless of the occasion (the clothes make the person!).  So it’s probably not surprising that we also happen to share a love for the idea of afternoon tea.  I say “idea” because neither of us has actually had much experience in that department but we just know we would like it!To correct our lack of experience, my friend B. and I decided to check out the Aubrey Rose for afternoon tea.  The tea room is cozy and quaint, and doubles as a shop.  If you’re not careful, you might find yourself accidentally knocking over a display of china while shopping or making your way to your table.

"Austrian cream tea wafer"

“Austrian cream tea wafer”

We ordered the Lady Anne Tea, vegetarian version.  The first course that was served upon pouring tea was an “Austrian cream tea wafer.”  Meant to be enjoyed with our tea, it was light, crisp, and not too sweet.  In the photo, it looks like it’s double layered and filled but it’s not.  It’s simply a thin wafer cookie, not a lot of flavor and perhaps enjoyed more for the texture.  It actually reminded me a little bit of a communion wafer but not as snappy.  😉  The owner claimed it was “made in-house” but it didn’t seem like it was handmade.  I saw boxes of Carlsbad Oblaten wafers (also known as Karlsbader Oblaten) for sale around the tea room.

Next, our tea caddy arrived with sandwiches and savories on the bottom tier, fresh seasonal fruit in the middle tier, and dessert on top

Don’t tea caddies make everything prettier and invite good table manners?

Savories and sandwiches: Brie pastry, Savory cookie with gorgonzola, Cucumber cream cheese sandwich, and Sundried tomato and Brie pastry

The savory cookie was delicious and produced one of those “wow” moments for me.  My idea of a “cookie” was forever changed!

Fruit: Kiwi, watermelon, pineapple, and orange slice

Scone course: Aubrey Rose cream, lemon curd, strawberry jam, and orange coconut scones

Scone course: Aubrey Rose cream, lemon curd, strawberry jam, and orange coconut scones

Dessert: Whiskey bread pudding, cinnamon pecan rugelach, and tiramisu cookie

Dessert: Whiskey bread pudding, cinnamon pecan rugelach, and tiramisu cookie

I didn’t think much of the tea service, nothing stood out (I can’t even remember what flavors of tea we sampled!).  The server was friendly and accommodating though probably lacked experience as she seemed hesitant.  Savory cookie aside, the food was mediocre, the portions measly, and I was disappointed with the lack of cookies.  I am starting to understand more and more that having afternoon tea is more about the experience and not about the food.  However, I don’t think that a pretty room can make up for mediocre food, no matter how pleasing to the eye.  That begs the question: Are tea rooms restaurants?  Do they have a responsibility to serve decent food?  What do you think?

“Tea! Bless ordinary everyday afternoon tea!”
― Agatha Christie


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