An elegant uptown Manhattan afternoon tea.
Midtown Manhattan is an enigma. For tourists and newly-arrived would-be New Yorkers, nothing compares to the pandemonium and neon lights of Time Square, and the litany of historic old-school restaurants, bars and other venues that abound. Yet for those who have lived here for a while, many treat Midtown as one would Chernobyl, and stay f-a-r away. For these Dessert Correspondents, we venture for the occasional 5th Avenue shopping, the melodies of Broadway and also when we want to escape over-hyped places in downtown Manhattan, to find solace in the (usually quieter) old-school establishments in Midtown. The St Regis is one such place. At the St Regis, afternoon tea takes place in a lobby atrium that is three parts 19th-century Europe, and one part a dash of mid-century Manhattan sleek. Beneath a grand ceiling tromp l’oeil bordered by bucolic scenes of angels, cherubs and nymphs, and embedded with hanging chandeliers, the seating area is a sea of modernist black and grey.
On our visit, the tea selection was wonderfully extensive, with multiple varieties of black, green, white and herbal teas. Afternoon tea commenced with a platter of five ribbon sandwiches: cucumber, smoked salmon, egg salad, quiche and lobster roll. You may choose to have a second round of sandwiches, too. Served with whipped cream, berry jam and lemon curd, the scones at the St Regis were harder and more crumbly in texture that these Dessert Correspondents generally prefer. No clotted cream, alas. They were of two varieties: one plain, and another raisin-studded. Along with the scones, the sweet irresistibles were presented on a three-tier stand and comprised an assortment of tangy lemon tartlet (our favourite), macarons, miniature financier cakes flaked with gold leaf, and chocolate mousse pots.
Across the numerous afternoon teas that we have experienced over the years, MoMo & Coco believe that there are two broad categories that one can classify any afternoon tea: i) the afternoon tea that you visit for the traditional or historic vibes, and ii) the afternoon tea that you visit for a creative culinary affair. At St Regis, don’t expect the latter. Rather, with serenades of harp music drifting through its elegant atmosphere, a few nibbles here and there while sitting in a pretty tea dress and heels, a relaxing weekend afternoon affair awaits at the classical St Regis.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Astor Court at the St Regis Hotel, 2 East, 55th Street, Manhattan, NYC.
- ☑ Budget:$$$ (USD $65 pp, plus tax/service).
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Afternoon Tea.
- ☑ Must-eat: The lemon tartlet.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: An elegant uptown Manhattan afternoon tea.