With giant windows overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park, Bluebird London NYC is a good option for a cute and affordable afternoon tea in New York City.
Bluebird London NYC
Bluebird London NYC is the New York City location of a popular restaurant from London.
Bluebird serves a classic and reasonably priced afternoon tea inside the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
What is Afternoon Tea?
Afternoon tea is a set offering that consists of savories, sweets, and pastries. It is priced per person. The tea set comes with your choice of tea and is served in the afternoon hours.
With three courses, afternoon tea sets are typically substantial enough to be considered a small meal.
Bluebird Afternoon Tea Menu
There are three afternoon tea options on the menu.
$55 per person
The classic afternoon tea with a choice of tea or coffee. This is the one ordered for this review.
G & Tea
$70 per person
The classic afternoon tea with a choice of tea or coffee, plus a London gin-based cocktail.
Bubbles & Tea
$65 per person
The Classic Tea with a choice of tea or coffee, plus a glass of cava.
RELATED: 21 Afternoon Tea Etiquette Rules
Questions You May Have
Yes, reservations are required. You can make reservations directly on the Bluebird London NYC website or on Resy. Regardless of which website you make the reservation on, make sure to write “reservation is for afternoon tea” in the reservation notes.
Note: The afternoon tea reservation for this review was made on Resy but the restaurant wasn’t aware that it was for afternoon tea. The hostess said it could have been an issue (as all the afternoon tea items are prepared specifically per reservation), but was able to accommodate.
Business casual, and feel free to dress up! It is afternoon tea, after all.
Afternoon tea is served Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 12PM – 3PM.
Yes, the restaurant setting is good for large groups. There was a mix of all table sizes from solo diners to groups of six.
The server should present you with the afternoon tea menu (it is a separate menu from the regular menu). The front of the menu lists the three afternoon tea sets along with prices and menu details. Select your preferred afternoon tea option. Then turn the menu around to see all the different tea offerings and select which tea you’d like to order. You can also order coffee if that’s what you prefer.
Bluebird Afternoon Tea Tips
- Make reservations in advance. Day of and day before afternoon tea reservations were not available online.
- Best places to sit are the tables along the window that overlook Columbus Circle and Central Park.
- Second best seats are the tables with the big yellow cocoon chairs (similar to the chairs at Bergdorf Goodman’s BG Restaurant).
- Afternoon tea is served Friday to Sunday, but if you go on Saturdays there is a live jazz quartet.
- It gets busy in the afternoon, so go earlier in the day if possible.
- If you’re vegetarian, they can replace the coronation chicken sandwich with an additional cucumber cream cheese sandwich.
Bluebird Setting: ★★★★☆
The restaurant is located inside the 4th floor or Time Warner Center. Yes, it is inside a shopping mall.
Bluebird London NYC is primarily a restaurant that also serves afternoon tea (as opposed to an afternoon tea specific venue). You can’t tell from the restaurant’s exterior but after you walk past the hostess and bar area, you’ll find yourself in a beautiful, colorful, and brightly lit room with big windows overlooking Central Park and Columbus Circle.
If you’re a party of two, ask to be seated in the plush and comfortable yellow cocoon chairs. Tables are nicely spaced with privacy.
Bluebird Service: ★★★★☆
The service was kind and accommodating even though it was a very busy weekend afternoon.
The tea was brought out first and the server explained that we could have as many refills (as different types of teas) as we wanted. He brought out a fresh pot each time we changed teas.
The server described each item on the tea tiers in thorough detail and was able to answer any questions.
One star was knocked out since it seemed like the server was assigned too many tables (not the server’s fault), making it feel more like a bustling lunch hour than a relaxing afternoon tea.
Bluebird Tea & Tea Selection: ★★★☆☆
Bluebird does an interesting thing where they bring out a tray of five tea cups for you to choose one to drink your tea from.
Tea was served in individual pots with tea bags. The restaurant offers tea from both Steven Smith Teamaker and Harney & Sons.
The tea menu offered eight different types of tea, including two herbal, caffeine-free options. They also had two daily special teas which rotate.
Guests are allowed to order multiple types of tea (one at a time) with no extra charge.
I hate that Bluebird serves tea from tea bags instead of loose tea but love that they let you order more than one type of tea (which is not common).
Bluebird Savories: ★★★☆☆
Each afternoon tea set comes with three types of savories and they’re served in a three-tiered birdcage shaped tray.
The first savory is a mushroom, tomato, and pepper quiche. This was served warm and the best of all the savory options. It was rich and full of flavor.
The second savory item was a coronation chicken sandwich on mini brioche buns. (Coronation chicken is essentially a curried chicken salad.) The third was a standard cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on white bread.
Note: The quiche and scone were served together on the same tier (the second/middle) tier. This was done so that they could present all the warm items on the same tier. This means that the bottom tier holds both the chilled sandwiches along with the condiments for the scone.
For first timers, don’t forget that the clotted cream and jam are meant to go with the scones and not the sandwiches, even though they are served on the same tier.
RELATED: Afternoon Tea Course Order
Bluebird Scones: ★★★☆☆
Each guest receives one cherry scone that’s served warm. They were generously studded with juicy and sweet dried cherries, and topped with sugar crystals.
As far as scone texture goes, it is crumbly (but still very moist and flavorful). The scones come with a jar of clotted cream and Bonne Maman strawberry jam.
RELATED: How to Eat a Scone Properly
Bluebird Sweets: ★★★☆☆
Afternoon tea comes with four types of sweets, all made in house.
The highlight was the mini cream puff stuffed with vanilla cream custard. Eat this one first since it should be enjoyed slightly chilled.
Also on the sweets course was a macaron, a classic lemon meringue tart and a chocolate tart topped with chocolate pearls. The chocolate tart shell was lined in a buttery caramel.
Bluebird Overall: ★★★☆☆
Bluebird London NYC serves an enjoyable afternoon tea that is reasonably priced, especially for NYC where afternoon tea can get pretty expensive.
It’s not the best or most special afternoon tea in the city, but is fair for the price and location.
The dining room is pretty and centrally located so it’s a great place to take out of town visitors. It’s a comfortable restaurant, especially after a day of shopping or exploring NYC.
Bluebird London NYC
10 Columbus Circle, at 58th Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10019
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS:
Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 12PM – 3PM
Reserve at least 24 hours in advance.
Classic Tea, $55 per person
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