Competitors: Alice's Tea Cup (wesbite under construction) and Tea and Sympathy
Earlier this semester, both PERPETUAL HUNGER! contributors frolicked with a gang of gals over to Tea and Sympathy to get our Brit on. A West Village quirk staple, Tea and Sympathy boasts a whopping 23 seats, which is just asking for long lines. I think everyone waiting was female, one proclaiming that she comes here every week and waits over an hour just for her pot of tea and scones with clotted cream.
Being the sick f***s we are, this delighted us, and after less of a wait than anticipated, were crammed into a corner table (all tables are pretty much corner tables here), and swiftly ordering pots of tea, scones, lentil stew, beans on toast, tea sandwiches, etc, etc
It was good. It was. The scones with clotted cream and jam were especially lovely, but the cramped atmosphere and give-you-a-quail-eye-until-you-rush-out-the-door service made me
question if there aren't more relaxing and warm places to get tea in the afternoon. (ehem... Alice's Tea Cup). One plus: the adorable menu with such kitchy English items such as bangers and mash, beans on toast, and Welsh rarebit. As a college student, however, I know what beans on toast costs in real life, and I don't think it's quite what was charged here...
Really, what did it for me I think was the way it ended. We left about a 15 percent tip, for what was a very quick stay for a party of 5, but onward, as I was the last to leave the restaurant, I kindly stopped a waitress to ask when the best hours are to come here. She coldly stated that we came at about the right time, but if we are to come back we better leave a bigger tip, because our waitress is very angry.
Wow. Note to self: someone got just a little too used to living in America and working somewhere where the clientelle is mostly wealthy non-working ladies with nothing else to do at that time of day. So, so sorry.
Moral of the story: Although Tea and Sympathy is certainly an experience, I think a better one is to be had at the darling upper Manhattan staple Alice's Tea Cup. A fantastical romp through girl-hood, Alice's is noted for hosting grown-ups and children alike. On multiple occasions I have tea-ed with a fairy princess birthday party only a seat away. The atmosphere is welcoming, and not stuffy, all the whimsy, and none of the attitude. With a tea selection just as fine, and a menu, perhaps, finer, especially for brunch (SCONES BENEDICT!), Alice's is still the way to go for me.