Afternoon tea is something I have always wanted to do but never actually did till recently. You know, the kind with fine china, dainty sandwiches, pastries, scones with clotted cream – a grand affair!
Afternoon tea at the DC Park Hyatt Tea Cellar combines the foundation of a traditional, elaborate afternoon tea with a modern twist. It is an indulgence, but a truly fun treat that is a significant step up from my afternoon tea routine of a cup of chai and a couple of Parle-G biscuits!
Location: The Tea Cellar occupies a lounge adjacent to the Blue Duck Tavern restaurant at the Park Hyatt, in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Easily walkable from Dupont or Georgetown even.
Décor: If you’ve been to Blue Duck Tavern, you know it’s a classy but not stuffy affair. The tea cellar is adjacent to the restaurant, and although not private, the high windows and armchairs add to the relaxing ambience, and the lovely décor justifies dressing up a bit.
Tea: I’m not a huge tea drinker, so I can't say I know much at all, but the tea menu is super extensive. There are a bunch of fine teas, but also a number of rare and limited teas. Prices range from $8 to $300. Yes, there is a 300 dollar tea. For those who know anything about tea, the tea list includes herbals and tisanes, blooming teas, white teas, green teas, black teas, Oolongs, Pu-erhs, - go see the full tea menu here!
The teas are all brewed to order and come in pots that probably serve atleast 3-4 cups to a pot. If you are a tea novice or are looking for a recommendation, the in-house “tea sommelier”, Christian Eck, will be happy to guide you. I gladly enjoyed a green tea, a pu-erh and my favorite – the fruity “Mallorca Mellon” which is a blend of Spanish melons, pineapple, and orange. Super aromatic and flavorful.
Pro tip: The teas, which come from all over the world, range in their caffeine content from Low-High. Many of them are also naturally caffeine-free, so you can choose to enjoy the experience uncaffeinated as well!
Food: What is an afternoon tea without the finger food that accompanies it, right? At the Park Hyatt Tea Table, a weekend buffet selection of sandwiches, other savories, scones served with clotted clean and preserves, and an amazing selection of sweets by Pastry Chef David Collier are available.
The selection changes based on ingredients available. During my visit, I tried oysters, mini lobster brioche sandwiches, cabbage wrapped chicken salad, and deviled eggs. Delicious, decadent, and dainty at the same time!
The sweet selection included a fantastic array of macarons, pastries, Nutella eclairs (mindblowing!), chocolate tarts, and of course warm scones. On the side, little bowls of clotted Devonshire cream, lemon curd, and preserves were accompaniments. I was anything but dainty when it came to piling up my plate and piling on that clotted cream!
All in all, perfectly steeped pots of tea, a fantastic selection of sweets and savories, and even better conversation makes for a lovely afternoon at the Tea Cellar.
1. The Tea Table at Park Hyatt Washington is available Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m, but the tea cellar is open 2.30pm - 12.30am daily.
2. It is priced at $45 per adult and $20 per child between six and twelve years of age (tax and gratuity not included). Tea is ordered by the freshly brewed pot and ranges from $8 to $300. A fantastic indulgence, in my opinion.
3. Also at the Park Hyatt, the Blue Duck Tavern is already known for its commitment to quality, service, and farm to table vision, and Chefs Franck Loquet and Brad Deboy ensure that it shows in the tea experience as well.