I became a fan of Alice in Wonderland at an early age. What little girl doesn’t idolize a blonde in a headband who can talk to caterpillars and defeat an evil queen? So when I discovered that Alice’s Tea Cup was in fact a restaurant here in New York, I had to try it.
As I had hoped, it was love at first bite. I could not wait to share my fantastic find with the one person who I knew would appreciate the restaurant as much as me – my mother. On her recent trip to NYC, this adventure was at the top of our “To Do” list.
Walking into the fairytale, the whimsical black and white checkered floor and colorful walls prepared us for a carefree afternoon. I tried not to visibly drool as we walked past the old-fashioned glass counter lined with freshly baked goodness. Atop the counter sat a plate of fairy dust for sprinkling, should you need a bit of luck. Behind the register were several pairs of fairy wings that patrons are welcome to wear while they dine. (I know this firsthand, as I once forced a guy to wear purple wings throughout our date.)
My mother and I sat at one of just twelve small tables adorned with mismatched silverware and china. We opened the tea menu that contained nearly as many pages as the restaurant’s namesake novel. Even the most refined tea aficionado could find a tea that suits their fancy. With the helpful recommendation of our server, we selected two pots of tea, Indian Chai (served with a dash of milk and honey) and Rooibos Coconut Vanilla.
To ensure we had some roughage in our lives, we started with the Warm Lentil Salad. This colorful salad was sinfully savory, yet completely guilt-free. The combination of of vegetables and grains was so flavorful that we did not even need to add the dressing.
In the true spirit of adventure, we ordered the three-tiered Mad Hatter tower for two.
The top tier of the tray came with our choice of three freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and jam. We played it safe with the first two selections, the tried and true pumpkin and chocolate chip scones. For the third, we chose a vegan blueberry and lemon. This wildcard scone threw us for a loop. it was warm and moist on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside in a way that seemed so….NOT vegan. All were amazing, but the vegan blueberry and lemon was the standout.
The second tier came with the choice of two tea sandwiches. We opted for the smoked salmon with capers on pumpernickel and the BLT. Isn’t it extraordinary how much better sandwiches taste when cut into bite-sized portions?
The bottom tier was filled with a mocha chocolate chip cake and assorted cookies. These remained untouched during our meal. Unlike Alice, we couldn’t eat a cookie that would expand our stomachs to fit these treats (much to our dismay). However, taken home in a doggy-bag they made for a fabulous breakfast the next morning!
Every girl needs a fairytale…to believe in something fantastic and wonderful. Luckily, mine happens to be located around the corner from my apartment on 81st St. and 3rd Ave.
*Alice’s Tea Cup has three full locations: 156 E 64th St., 220 E. 81st St, and 102 W 73rd St. Additionally, you can find their latest pop-up shop inside Book of Wonder on 18th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues.