We’re sympathetic to those who have not been here for a proper British Tea. We had the pleasure of experiencing a traditional British comfort food restaurant, appropriately named Tea and Sympathy. There are basically two types: “low” tea and “high” tea.
Anna Maria Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and a dear friend of Queen Victoria, can be accredited with introducing the concept of “afternoon” or “low” tea to upper-class households. Her butler at her request, to bring only tea, bread, butter, perhaps even a few scones to her chambers around 5 pm, the time of day when we all feel slightly peckish, but not ready for a full meal. Eventually, the Duchess, enjoyed this on a daily basis, to the point where she invited her friends, essentially creating a new social ritual.
High Tea, the origins of afternoon tea show clearly it was the preserve of the rich in the 19th century. For workers in the newly industrialized Britain, tea time had to wait until after work. By that hour, tea was generally served with heartier dishes, such as meat, fish, egg dishes, substantially more than just tea and cakes. Workers needed sustenance after a hard day of labor, this meal is more often hot and filling, accompanied by a pot of good, strong tea to revive them from a day’s work.
No need to travel all the way to London for this authentic British ritual, Tea and Sympathy serves classic dishes including Scones with Clotted Cream, Welsh Rarebit, Bangers, and Mash, Sunday Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, and more.
We had the sheer pleasure of pairing our delights with the UK’s choice for sparkling wine from Chapel Down exclusive only to Tea and Sympathy here in New York.
After years of being served at Buckingham Palace (including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding), Chapel Down was introduced to NYC with a partnership with the quintessential British restaurant Tea & Sympathy in Greenwich Village.
Tea & Sympathy has been serving traditional British comfort food to the West Village since 1990. Their traditional menu offers classic British favorites including Afternoon Tea, Bangers and Mash, and even the beloved Shepherd’s Pie. Now customers can pair the experience with a bottle of either Chapel Down’s rose or Bacchus-based Brut sparkling wine.
Tea & Sympathy opened its doors in 1990 and has been a staple for Brits living in the US and us American’s who truly love all the UK’s favorite foods. Next door you can find A Salt & Battery one of the best fish and chips shops in all of NYC!
In this episode, Sam enjoys a superb British Afternoon Tea. This meal came on a two-tier platter with tea sandwiches including egg salad, chicken salad, and tuna salad sandwiches.
These sandwiches were delicious, comforting, and light.
This lunch also included various cakes and baked goods like the sticky toffee pudding cupcake and scones with clotted cream. We also had the pleasure of trying Tea and Sympathy’s signature black tea. It was delicious!
Gluten-Free Lunch with Tea
Marley tried the Absolutely Fabulous Salad, one of the gluten-free lunch options at Tea and Sympathy This mixed green salad is complete with chicken, avocado, a hard-boiled egg, bacon, tomatoes, and a delicious vinaigrette dressing.
Tea and Sympathy are currently searching for a new place to purchase gluten-free bread from. They’re hoping to offer a gluten-free Afternoon Tea option soon!
Visiting Tea and Sympathy felt like visiting London. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. When you visit, be sure to check out the adorable shop next door that sells British treats, teapots, and more.
For the last episode of Downtown Highlights, click here.