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.
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.
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)
- Chicken Salad
- Ham and Cream Cheese
- Egg Salad
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.
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!
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.