How did the other half live? We visited the Tea House to dine in style on the grounds of Parkwood Estate…
The ambiance of Formal Garden Teahouse draws visitors to Parkwood Estate‘s outdoor eatery: Nestled within the formal garden of the estate’s historic grounds, the spectacular 1920s fountain pool and art moderne “teahouse” provides an opulent backdrop for visitors to sit and enjoy tea, glass of wine, or a light meal.
We had a reservation for two, with plans to enjoy a cup of tea and a sweet treat, but arrived to find the best seats – the ones closest to the fountain – reserved, and continued to sit empty for the duration of our forty-minute visit. We were offered any of the other tables available, so we decided to relax close to the bubbling fountains, our plastic chairs sheltered from the sun by a wide umbrella.
Service was quick and pleasant, and our server eagerly explained the different menu options available. Slices of cake ranged between $6 and $7, bars, cookies, and scones were also available for under $5. We chose Orange Pekoe tea for $3, but while the white cup and saucer were charming, the single teabag and small tin teapot seemed an odd choice for an upscale tea house, as did the clunky (yet immaculately clean) spoon.
Our choice of cake, a lemon cheesecake, arrived promptly and was neatly presented on a white dessert plate that matched the tea cup and saucer, accented with a curious drizzle of caramel sauce. While not overly sweet, it lacked the expected hit of lemony tartness. However, the graham cracker base was perfect: firm, while easily giving way to the fork. All food at the Garden Teahouse is supplied by Jubilee Catering and prepared offsite, and the menu also includes a small selection of salads, sandwiches and main dishes. The full menu can be viewed online here.
Diners expecting a traditional tea experience with a selection of sweets and sandwiches presented on a tiered cake stand will leave disappointed, unless an order has been placed with catering in advance. Sitting in the garden, however, is a joy – surrounded by the well-preserved opulence of the McLaughlin family’s estate, visitors feel like they’ve been transported back to the 1920s.
Do you agree with our review of Parkwood Estate’s Formal Garden Teahouse? Let us know in the comments!