There is a brand spanking new afternoon tea in town! The Baccarat Hotel New York in Midtown started serving afternoon tea in their Grand Salon earlier this year and I met up with Lisa (Chambre de Sucre) and fellow tea blogger Sara of tea-happiness.com to try it out.
Opulent. That’s the word I would use to describe the Grand Salon. The space is brightly lit, with light bouncing off shiny objects everywhere. The lounge is decadent with plush seating with floor to ceiling crystals.
Baccarat separates itself from other afternoon teas in the city by having an in-house Tea Sommelier, Gabrielle. Sara, Lisa, and I were talking about tea certifications when Gabrielle brought over our tea pots and poured our first cup. We chatted with her a bit and it was lovely meeting another person that loves tea. She handled everything that had to do with the tea service and we had another server for the food. Both were very helpful and friendly.
TEA & TEA SELECTION: ★★★★☆
Baccarat has an exclusive partnership with Mariage Fréres and you’ll only find their teas on the menu. I make sure each trip to Paris includes a visit to Mariage since I love their blends, so I was happy to see the partnership. However, I took off one star since they ONLY had blends (12 on the menu). I wish they had a mix of blends and pure tea. I ordered the Milky Blue, a milky tea with notes of chestnut and almond cream which I really liked.
The afternoon tea menu is a bit confusing. There are two choices: the King Louis XV ($65) which is just sweets, and The Prince of Wales ($80), which has all three courses. On the menu, it says “paired with Earl Grey D’or” which makes it seem like that’s the only tea selection available, but it actually should be read as “best paired with” since it’s just their suggestion.
Not gonna lie, I balked at the $80 afternoon tea price tag since it’s the most expensive in New York City. BUT I have to say, it’s pretty damn good. Out of all three courses, the savories are my favorite and the Baccarat does it right. Each bite was better than the next and it’s all beautifully presented. Everything tasted fresh and delicious.
Assorted scones are served warm with Devonshire cream and crab apple gelée. Tasted great but I hated the huge saucer sized portions. Wish they were as cute and small as the savories. They brought out only one set of cream and gelée for the table which was not enough for all three of us. After we asked, they brought out another set.
The sweets were adorable and tasted pretty good. I was pretty full by the sweets course (blaming the giant scones) so I took two bites of each pastry. One that made a mess was the Chocolate Sacher Torte since you couldn’t eat them with your fingers. (Uh, something I realized after touching it and getting it all over.)
Is Baccarat serving the best afternoon tea in New York City? Yes. If you can get past the $80, you should give it a try.
LOCATION: Grand Salon, Baccarat Hotel New York | 28 W 53rd Street | New York, NY 10019 | 212.790.8800
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: Wednesday – Sunday, 1:30PM – 3:30PM (Reserve 24 hours in advance)
COST: $80 for The Prince of Wales | Menu