Afternoon Tea at Garfunkel’s
A fairly new afternoon tea spot has opened up in downtown New York. Since it opened last winter, I’ve been twice and each time it was consistently good.
I LOVE secret doors and hidden passageways. Love isn’t even a strong enough word for it — maybe it’s more like an unhealthy obsession? I’m going to date myself, but it probably has to do something with Webster, a tv show. (You either know exactly what I’m talking about or you don’t.) Anyway, I bring this up since Garfunkel’s is a speakeasy at night so you have to go through a burger joint and let the host know you have a reservation. They’ll walk you to the back where they’ll punch in a code into a door with a keypad. The door opens up to a staircase leading upstairs.
The room itself is cute, but doesn’t feel too cozy, maybe due to there being too much open space in the middle. The chairs are comfortable and they seat you with enough distance between parties so it feels intimate.
The afternoon tea service is run by a woman named Amy who has an extensive background in Indian tea. She prepares everything served on the three-tiered tray so she’s very much invested in making the customer’s experience a great one.
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TEA & TEA SELECTION: ★★★★☆
Garfunkel’s afternoon tea is the only one that I know of that serves single estate Indian teas. No tea menu, but Amy walks you through the five Indian teas she offers with the tea service. Each one is described in detail but if you let her know what kinds of tea you usually like to drink, she can make recommendations. I knocked off a star since the first cup of tea poured from the orange teapot was slightly watered down but by the third cup, it was way too bitter from the tea leaves sitting in the teapot. I wish it came already perfectly steeped without tea leaves left in the pot or that there was a tea strainer that allowed me to take out the tea leaves.
The savories on the bottom tier (four different tea sandwiches per person) are all carefully made by Amy. Neatly prepared and tasty, I enjoyed this course best out of the three. (Others being scones and sweets.) My favorite was the curry chicken which was especially good with a nice little spicy kick and my least favorite was the cucumber since the cucumbers were not as crispy as I would have liked.
I liked the size of the small scones and it was good. We had to ask for knives which we needed to slather on the clotted cream and jam. (Not to cut the scone itself, heaven forbid!)
I didn’t love the sweets course and they definitely lacked the same thoughtfulness as the savory course. The chocolate pudding was a little too hard, the cookies were good but not anything special, and the lemon bars were just ok. Thankfully we were already pretty full from the savories and the scone that I didn’t mind too much.
Afternoon teas for under $40 is a rare find, especially one that is given such care and attention. Highly recommend.