Escape to a hidden world of magic and afternoon tea for the Halloween season.
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 Asia and Australia, or the cultivated creativity of desserts seen in London. It’s been a while since we have participated in a high tea in NYC (the last was the Plaza early this year!), so for this edition of our NYC high tea series, we feature a rather special themed high tea.
Tucked away in the historic precinct of the Financial District, the Cauldron is a speakeasy-style bar by night, and a cozy afternoon tea spot by day. Afternoon tea is taken upstairs in a wood panelled room draped with curtains, trellises of flowers and vines, and loops of twinkly lights in a way that we would have envisaged Harry Potter‘s Hogsmeade tavern to look like. The tea selection may be found in a chest that is opened with the flick of a wand and by solving a little puzzle. From inside that chest, you remove glass bottles of loose leaf tea, dried flowers and other herbs. You use these to create your own tea infusions. The food itself literally arrives to your table in a puff of magical smoke. Once the smoke clears, you see a large dragon egg at the top of a towering castle structure, and tiers of ribbon sandwiches (the menu describes them as “sand-witches”) and plump English-style scones (not the knobbly American ones that we see in so many NYC high tea places, yay!). Desserts are served separately on mismatched painted porcelain, and include cupcakes, slices of brownies, lemon bars, raspberry tartlets and a handful of dainty macarons.
There are high tea places that you visit for the food and the dessert artistry (see e.g., here and here). There are high tea places that you visit for escaping into the past (see here), or into a Hollywood-esque dream (see here). The Cauldron is one of those places where you don’t visit so much for the food, as for the experience of escaping into a hidden pocket of New York that evokes all the imaginations of another dimension, a magical world to be precise.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: The Cauldron, 47 Stone Street, Financial District, Manhattan.
- ☑ Budget: $$-$$$ (Approx $60 pp, but look out for discount vouchers).
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: High tea.
- ☑ Must-eat: Go for the experience and ambience, rather than the food.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: Escape to a hidden world of magic and afternoon tea for the Halloween season.