This place is a pinkies-out type of tea room. I love the aesthetic, so I’m all over it, but I can certainly see this being a not-for-everyone type of location.
The tea is pretty good. I have a feeling that the people there are pretty knowledgeable about the tea, but we were just there to drink tea and chat and catch up with each other, so we didn’t really take advantage of our server. Apparently, a tea master comes around and does tea tastings on occasion, so I’ve got my eye on nabbing a ticket [though it might be a while, as it runs something like $180 a head].
The tea itself actually isn’t terribly expensive, especially since they’ll continue filling your pot up with hot water so you can spend a good amount of time there. They do have some vintage pu-erhs that’ll put you back a bit, but we’ve got plans to go back and split a pot to cushion the blow. I had the Hidden Orchid Oolong and I thought it was pretty delicious. It ranked as my favorite among all the other teas our table had [Gyokuro, Genmaicha, Yerba Mate, and First Flush Darjeeling].
They also have a little spread of finger sandwiches and desserts. The watercress and creme fraiche sandwiches were particularly scrumptious. The hotel’s reputable Blue Duck Tavern is also adjacent to the Tea Cellar, if you find yourself hankering for a meal afterwards.
All in all, the space is absolutely gorgeous, if not necessarily applicable to all situations. I probably wouldn’t feel completely comfortable traipsing in with flip-flops and a ratty t-shirt, but this is also the type of place that I’d go to for the experience and I think that getting a little dressy supplements that. I’m putting some pictures up because really, my words can’t adequately describe the breathtaking atmospheric quality of the space. They are from my phone, so I apologize in advance for the fuzziness.
If you’re in the area, definitely consider dropping by here as it’s soooo pretty. They recommend making reservations, but the cap is for four people. It was a bit empty when we were there, so I’m not sure how busy it gets. The website also says that tea is served all day, but tea tables are only available for a couple of hours on the weekend. [I think they mean if you want to have a supervised tasting, but I’m not 100% positive.]