That moment when you finally find proper scones in NYC…
High tea is not a NYC forte — after quite a number of high tea experiences in NYC, we have yet to come across a venue that offers the lavish dessert spreads seen in the former English colonies in Asia and Australia, or the cultivated creativity of desserts seen in London. Simpler tea rooms on the other hand, are more strongly consistent in NYC. You may recall our review of Prince Tea House, with its slight Asian sensibility. Alice’s Tea Cup is another tea room. There are two locations, one on the Upper West Side and one on the Upper East Side, and their proximity to Central Park makes a stroll there before or after a lovely proposition for a leisurely weekend afternoon. It’s not as “pretty” as Prince Tea House, veering instead towards a country cottage feel, with mismatched plates, old-fashioned wood furnishings and more casually-dressed patrons.
A three-tiered afternoon tea is on offer at Alice’s Tea Cup, starting at USD $36 per person. However, the star item at this little eatery are the scones. So, bypass the rest of the menu and simply place an order for two scones, plus a pot of tea, for USD $16. There are usually a number of different scone flavours, of which we recommend the “Mixed Berry” and the “Buttermilk.” Unlike so many other afternoon tea venues in the U.S., the scones here are in the English fashion. Accompanied by clotted cream and jam, they are served warm, and are fluffy, rather than hard and crumbly. Add on a large slice of cake, such as the richly-flavoured, generously-iced banana cake, and you have recreated an almost perfect English cream tea session. It would have been perfection, but tea is barely brewed, and the service — both pre and post-pandemic — tends towards absent-mindedness. Post-pandemic, service has become even more glacial, seemingly operated at the whim of the teenager staff…For now, we will linger on that precious moment when you finally proper scones in NYC.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Alice Tea Cup, 102 West 73rd Street, Upper West Side; or 156 East 64th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan.
- ☑ Budget: $-$$ ($16pp).
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Cream tea.
- ☑ Must-eat: The scones.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: That moment when you finally find proper scones in NYC.