Monday, June 23, 2014

Boston Eats: Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Battery Wharf

One of the newest additions to the afternoon tea scene in Boston is the tea service at the Fairmont Battery Wharf up in the North End. 

While I do love their well-designed and pretty menu, they could have used a copy editor ("macaroon," "sandwhiches," and "smolked").

A glass of sparkling rose was the perfect way to start the meal! 

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Battery Wharf
Ambiance - There are two types of seating; lower to the ground lounge chairs and couches, and then higher stools.  If you have a preference, I would be sure to mention it when you make your reservation.  Same with sitting near a window, I did miss the view a bit in my seat.  Like tea at the Langham, this service is also in the lobby, though they do a much better job of separating it from the incoming hotel guests.  The music was also a little strange for afternoon tea, in an indie top 40 sort of way.  It was raining on the day we went, so we didn't have the pleasure of having tea outside on the wharf, but I think that would be a simply splendid way to spend an afternoon.  They also offer three different iced teas for the summer (though hot tea is still offered). 

Waitstaff - Attentive and pleasant; upon seeing our Italian macarons and being curious as to the difference between Italian and French macarons, we queried our waiter, who had no idea.  He went back and asked the chef, and returned to explain the difference (it all has to do with how you prepare the meringue, see here for an explanation).

Savory - The cucumber and creme fraiche was my favorite, although the long cut of the cucumber made it a bit tricky to eat neatly.  The bread edges were a bit on the stale side, but not unforgivably so.  The watermelon salad was a nice and different inclusion, but the shrimp was anything but afternoon tea dainty (it was tasty, though, to be fair). 
Sweet - The macarons were fabulous.  As good as or better than I've had in Paris. 

Scones, clotted cream, and jam - The scones were tasty but crumbly.  I almost pulled a frugal-great-aunt-Marge and stole the adorable miniature jar of Bonne Maman strawberry jam.  The clotted cream was easy to spread and rich. 

Tea quality -The breakfast blend was fine, nothing outstanding.  However, I would comment on the quick cooling that happens in the French press style method of serving.  The second cup was simply lukewarm.  Especially if two people order the same tea, a more attentive method would be to serve the tea hot as it is requested. 

Cost - $39 per person

Overall - If I was doing the freedom trail and looking for an afternoon stopover, this would be a definite contender!  Everything was tasty, but a tad more grace and refinement wouldn't go amiss in the actual presentation of the savory course.  If you like macarons, run, don't walk.  They're that good. 

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