Afternoon Tea Among the Roses

May 14, 2017

It had been a long day, so we are cheered when a friend suggests we meet and take a walk in the Huntington Gardens. Even better as it turns out (since our long day has not been accompanied by sustenance) that upon meeting our friend she expresses an insistent hunger and wonders, would we care for afternoon tea? Our answer in the affirmative is uttered before the question mark can even be attached.

As it’s a bit late, edging toward 3:30 in the afternoon, we’re able to secure a table without a reservation. Stepping into the main dining area of the Garden Tea Room, we’re reminded that it’s rather a dull and monochromatic room; serviceable, yet without any endearing architectural elements—which we find surprising in light of the exquisite details found in the Huntington Art Gallery and Library. Nonetheless, the rooms simplicity is aided by the drama of an afternoon sun, and the Tea Room’s new afternoon tea, sans buffet, makes an impression all its own.




Afternoon tea begins with a glass of prosseco; more to be poured upon request…



House-made scones, crumbly and tasty are served with divine lemon curd and Devonshire cream,

as well as raspberry preserves and marmalade.



We are a black tea fan, so we opted for the organic Breakfast tea, which was rich, complex, and shook off our “long day” fatigue. Our friend ordered the Huntington Rose blend, which was not to her liking. Marvelously, one may sample as many teas as desired. The second choice was the Earl Grey Crème with “fragrant oil and bergamot and a touch of French vanilla.” We’d say more than a “touch” of vanilla as we could smell it before our friend’s teacup came within range. A good tea, but definitely not a traditional flowery Earl Grey.

Other teas include raspberry nectar, chamomile clementine, Pacific Coast mint, French lemon ginger, Dragon Crisp – Gen Mai Chai, white tip jasmine, gunpowder green, caramelized pear, vanilla berry truffle, and—incredibly—chocolate banana tea.


Our “afternoon tea” tier of goodies arrives…



…beginning with house-made crumpets and a Cape Gooseberry!



Egg salad with truffle sea salt in layers of light, crunchy phyllo…




Persian cucumber with herbed cream cheese, radish, and watercress—one of our favorites…



Thin slices of smoked salmon with dill cream cheese and a dollop of caviar on moist brown bread…




Mushrooms cooked to a crunch (mushroom “bacon”) with arugula, avocado, and sundries tomato aïoli—another favorite…




A tasty cup of tiramisu with lady finger,
a fresh, slightly messy raspberry profiterole,
a passable mini-apple pie (crust too thick, filling too scarce),
a subtle to the point of tasteless rose cookie,
a moist red velvet petite cupcake,
and a dense, delicious coconut macaroon.



The Huntington Afternoon Tea in the Rose Garden Tea Room
Hours: Monday, Wednesday-Friday, noon-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost of high tea  ($35 per person) separate from Huntington admission price ($10-$25)
Reservations recommended; reserve online here
Or call 1.626.405.2100


Make sure while you’re there to smell the roses…






4 Responses for “Afternoon Tea Among the Roses”

  1. Heather says:

    This looks delicious. Just a note here, this is not a high tea but an afternoon tea. High tea is more of a working class, hearty meal. The italian sparkling wine you mentioned is prosecco, not proseco. That fruit in the picture is sometimes called Cape Gooseberry but is not actually a gooseberry.

  2. Kat Ward says:

    Thank you, Heather! We will amend.

  3. Heather says:

    Great! I think the high tea/afternoon tea mix-up is a very common mistake. You can go ahead and erase my comments.

  4. Kat Ward says:

    I can’t tell you how glad I am to have readers catching errors and helping me to create a better and more accurate article. Sometimes my eyes begin to blur and my brain’s mush. So, thank you! Your comments are truly appreciated.



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