Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Quintessentially British Moment

It's odd to be in Las Vegas the day before World Tea Expo begins and realize I have to fly home in order to attend. For the first time, World Tea Expo will be taking place practically in my back yard, in Long Beach, CA, rather than Vegas.

But here I am, in town for a client conference (which doesn't start until 3:30), and it's lunch time, so... Tea time!

Surprising though it may be, Las Vegas has a good number of tea venues that are worth seeking out. And while I've visited a few on The Strip over the years, I had heard there was a place worth visiting a little way removed from the hullabaloo. English's Quintessentially British Gastropub is located in Town Center (park near AMC Movie Theater for easiest access), and while it has all that you would hope for in a British gastropub, it also serves "High Tea" from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Yes, you read that correctly. Tea starts as early as 10:30 a.m. AND you don't need reservations 24 hours in advance! Hallelujah! exclaims the business traveler.

I won't go into whether or not the tea service should be called "High Tea," but I will say that it has everything I would hope for in an afternoon tea service: sandwiches, scones, and sweets.

The menu provides several good options to satisfy your level of tea food cravings...

...with a variety of loose leaf teas from Mighty Leaf. I couldn't help myself. I had to go with English Breakfast. I'm so predictable.

And then the 3-tiered tray arrived, where you work your way from the bottom to the top!

Sandwiches, scones, sweets! The sandwiches were a good mix of traditional (egg salad, cucumber) and unfamiliar (cheese and pickles?), but they were all hearty and satisfying. The scones were lovely, especially with the strawberry preserves and the Devonshire cream. In fact, the first 2 tiers were so rich and filling, it was difficult to tuck into the sweets! But, I made a special effort to eat the little creation on the upper right. While it might not look like much, this was a condensed version of a banana cream pie. My best estimation is a base of graham cracker crumb crust, Devonshire cream infused with banana puree, topped with a banana slice and chocolate. Seriously. Yum.

I really enjoyed seeing the variety of patrons who were there to share a moment. Locals who had chosen this spot, this tradition of tea, as a way to get together and connect. Two friends, one with a brand new baby; a family with two young boys, obviously taking mom out for a special treat; a grandma and her young granddaughter; a group of obviously longtime friends who must get together over tea regularly.

Yes, it's a gastropub in a mall, but you'd never know it while you're there. As it's on the upper level, the view is of the tops of palm trees and the Las Vegas foothills. And the venue itself is sleek and modern without alienating its traditional British roots.

It was fun to venture into a tea experience of the local community, rather than that of a tourist (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

The next time you're in Vegas and need a break from winning a zillion dollars on Blackjack, take a little side trip to Town Center and indulge in a Tea Moment that is Quintessentially British.

To visit English's Quinessentially British for Afternoon (or morning) Tea:

6599 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV, 89119
702 478-8080

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