Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Boston Eats: Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons Hotel

(I know, afternoon tea twice in two weeks!  I am a lucky girl!  ....or at least one that loves afternoon tea)

While it was a freezing walk from Cambridge to the Four Seasons off the Public Garden, it was the perfect way to prepare for enjoying a cup of hot tea!

Beautiful view of the park!

(offered weekends from 3 pm to 4:15 pm, as of January 10th, 2015)

Ambiance - Afternoon tea took place in their general restaurant on the first floor.  I won't lie to you: it was on the loud side.  My preference for afternoon tea is a quiet retreat, not somewhere that I would ever hear rowdy patrons cheering on the Patriots during a semi-finals football game.  I want serene.  I don't want to raise my voice to speak with my tea companion.

Waitstaff - While the waiters were kind, we felt a little bit neglected in the corner, and it took over 15 minutes to get our check after our plates were cleared.  We resorted to putting our wallets on top of our napkins, and even that didn't work.

Savory - Three sandwiches: chicken salad, shrimp salad, and a pesto sandwich.  Bread seemed fresh, but two of the three were wheat bread...come on guys, it's afternoon tea.  Just go with the white bread. 

Sweet - Three small sweets: a gingerbread whoopie pie, a small tart with pineapple pudding, and a cream puff with salted caramel cream filling.  Delicious.  But a suspicious lack of chocolate.

Scones, clotted cream, and jam - There was only one scone, and it was tasty and warmish, but it was one scone!  This is tea!  If you say that you are serving "Scones and Tea Bread" - that's plural.  More than one.  There was also a small loaf (1"x1"x3") of over-baked quickbread (cranberry?  zucchini?).  The cream was average, lemon curd was nice, and the jam was tasty.

Tea quality - The teapots each held enough water for about one and a half cups of tea, which really isn't all that much.  Normally, if you have a small pot, refreshing it with hot water is something you want to do very soon after the first cup is poured.  Here, a refresh came far after I would have wanted one, and the only other time it was offered was when they were clearing our plates.  And on a day where it was about 5ºF outside, and sitting near the window?  If I'm thirsty, I do not want to drink the ice water on the table.  I want hot tea.  And lots of it.  We were there for two and a half hours---one refresh was not enough.  Sugar was also bit strange: there was an adorable stir stick of rock candy for each person, but unfortunately, a stir stick doesn't really provide you with an optimal sugar concentration - the first cup wasn't sweet enough, and cup number two?  The rest of the crystal fell off and it was far too sugary. 

Cost - $32 per person

Overall - Honestly, I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be.  The food was good, but not stellar.  And the atmosphere just wasn't the quiet and relaxing environment I want for an afternoon tea.

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