Tea & Sympathy

Jourdan, Brittany, and I were in the mood to feel British.  So much so, that we planned a full afternoon around British activities in the West Village.  The first stop had to be tea and in the West Village, that meant Tea & Sympathy.

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The first thing you need to know about Tea & Sympathy is that it’s small.  You will be crammed into this tiny cafe so if you’re looking to spread out for a luxurious tea service, this is not the place.  But the tight quarters, just like the mismatched dishware, are part of its charm.

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The second thing you need to know is that you don’t need to order the full tea service.  In fact, I recommend against it.  Tea (the kind with the tower) is $35 per person.  It comes with a lot of food (including a massive slice of cake, much larger than the expected petit fours), but I think there’s a better way to do it.  I say do a “best of”.  We ordered a scotch egg to share (it’s quartered and comes with a nice green salad), an order of two scones (plain and perfect, with cream and jam), and an order of assorted tea sandwiches.  We chose a couple sandwiches we knew we wanted and allowed the kitchen to choose the rest.  We wound up with the following:

  • Cheddar with Branson Pickle (didn’t know what a Branson pickle was, but it tasted pretty good on a cheese sandwich)
  • Tuna
  • Chicken Salad
  • Cucumber
  • Ham and Cream Cheese
  • Egg Salad

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Each sandwich was cut into thirds so we all got to try one.  It also meant we each had a total of two full sandwiches.  Between that, the two apps, and the full pot of tea we each drank, we were nice and full.  I loved how simple everything was.  There was no chocolate or fruit in the scones, no fancy spices on the sandwiches.  Tea is a simple, classic thing.

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We all wanted more savory than sweet so the full tea service wasn’t for us.  We ended up with more food, they type of food we wanted most, and a great deal.  With tax and tip we each spent less than $30 per person.  We beat the system!

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PS – There’s a cute shop attached to the cafe, but if you’re looking for British foodie souvenirs, I recommend going two blocks away to Myers of Keswick.  The selection is better and you’ll always run into actual English folk there who will offer colorful commentary.