The venerable British tradition of afternoon tea is also flourishing throughout New York City as quaint tea rooms offer brimming cups of exotic blends. Nowhere is this more evident than the Pembroke Room at the elegant Lowell Hotel. Close to Central Park, the Lowell is located at 28 East 63rd Street on a quiet, tree-lined street off Madison Avenue in the center of New York City’s exclusive and fashionable Upper East Side. A refined 74 room hotel, The Lowell welcomes guests with a serene residential atmosphere reminiscent of a private townhouse. With only 47 suites and 27 deluxe rooms, this landmark building prides itself on being one of the few luxury hotels that has accommodations with real wood – burning fireplaces, terraces and fully equipped kitchens.
Its exquisite Pembroke Room is a secluded oasis far from the maddening crowd. Tucked away on the hotel’s second floor, this peaceful setting takes guests back in time to an era of grace and civility. The striking decor of this intimate room is accented by plush chairs, heavily draped windows, eye catching artwork, lovely potted orchards, crystal chandeliers, and adorned mirrors.
Time is at one’s disposal during afternoon tea as the hours can easily slip away from you. Guests can relax and catch up with one another as the hustle and bustle of the city seems a million miles away.
Eric Dupaix, Director of Operations, oversees an attentive staff that graciously answers questions guests may have about the large selection of teas. For both the novice and ardent tea enthusiast it’s comforting to know that the staff is always in close proximity yet never intrusive. The Pembroke Room offers three tea experiences featuring an assortment Herbal Infusions, Black Teas, Green Teas, Oolong Teas, and Fruit Infusions. A highly recommended tea at the Pembroke is Blue Garden. This “Jardin Bleu” blend of black teas sourced from Ceylon and China is flavored with rhubarb and wild strawberry, and is scattered with cornflower’s petals to lend a fruity note to the infusion. It’s very soothing to the palate.
However, the pride of the Pembroke currently is a rare Scottish tea. Guests of the hotel are some of the first in America to taste the only white and smoked teas grown by The Wee Tea Plantation at the Dalreoch Estate in Amulree, Perthshire. Dalreoch Estate houses the youngest commercial tea plantation in the world, and the only one in Scotland. From spring through to late summer the flushes of fresh leaf produce a succulent and unique flavor, now considered on par with some of the finest tea plantations in the world.
The Classic Pembroke Tea includes such English Tea Sandwiches as Cucumber and Watercress, Poached Shrimp with Dill Butter, Deviled Organic Egg Salad, Scottish Smoked Salmon and Smoked Turkey with Arugula and Homemade Mayonnaise. A delicate combination of these is presented on the lower layer of a three-tiered stand as guests work their way from the bottom to the top. The middle tier holds Assorted Fruit Tarts, French Pastries and Macaroons, while the top level includes Petit Fours. Warm homemade Scones are served separately with decadent Lemon Curd and Devonshire cream, offering both a savory and sweet taste.
The Pembroke Royal Tea features a glass of Rosa Regale Rosé Sparkling, Fonseca Red Port or Sherry Bristol Cream along with a Foie Gras Canapés as an added English Tea Sandwich. The Lowell Imperial Tea includes Champagne and Organic American farm-raised Caviar accompanied with toast points and condiments.
Afternoon tea at the Pembroke, served daily from 3 to 6 p.m., is ideal for special occasions, including a birthday or anniversary celebration. It’s an experience that should be on everyone’s “must do” lists when visiting the Big Apple.