I should preface by saying that since I have about 5 years experience doing English style teas for groups of 2-20 I have become very picky about my high/cream/English teas. So know that my review may be much more judgmental than others. :)
Overall, this place was okay. The tea I had was very good, well steeped and the leaves were not left in the pot (yay!). And they do have an extensive tea menu. The teas they sell loose (quite a lot of them) are reasonably priced, though the menus are outdated – they do not offer 1 ounce sizes, only 2.
The room itself (the downstairs room) was sticky and close. It was a very humid day, raining off and on. It was a moist lunch.
The meal (Mad Hatter) was okay. The sandwiches I chose were egg salad (very, very bland) and lapsang chicken (pretty good). There were 3 fingers of each which was a whole lot of food for just me, but I wanted to try more than one sandwich and more than one dessert. :) The lemon tart I chose for dessert in addition to cookies (guessing store bought cookies) was really, really tasty with a great crust. The scones were just okay. The blackberry lemon sounded like it would be great but it was actually fairly tasteless. The cream is not clotted or devonshire but the sweetened whipped cream served on top of the jam. An interesting way to serve both and only use one dish. :) The service was passable until the end where we had to eventually ask for our check as our waiter had not checked in with our table for about 20 minutes. They missed sending my husband’s order to the kitchen and as a result of the delay they did give us 10% off, which was very nice of them.
Apologies here to those who are fans, but I’m going to be a picky Wonderland fan about the decor. It seems like they went halfway to Alice and then quit. The mismatched cups, saucers and pots with chips (some very substantial chips) were mostly a good choice. Carrying it further to included the plates for the tiers would be better. The tables need cloths that don’t match or something else to make them jumbled. Different styles of chairs would be a cute addition. There were little girls waiting for a tea when we left and they sprinkled fairy dust on them, much to their delight. It was a cute thing to do for kids.
When I left I waited for probably 5-7 minutes for the front of house staff to even notice I was there so I could buy tea. They were just chatting amongst themselves and one of them looked directly at me a few times but didn’t bother to tell the girl he was chatting with that I was waiting. It was a little frustrating but it may just be part of that New York thing that I don’t get since I don’t live here and this is my first ever visit.
It’s worth going, but get the small tier Nibble service and just add a dessert other than the cookies, especially if you are on your own. They aren’t kidding when they say “if you are hungry!” And do make reservations. If we hadn’t had them, we would not have waited the 45 minutes it was taking for others to get in.
And you are right around the corner from Kusmi and I understand there is a David’s close by as well. :)