I took this week’s post-Oscar drama about Lupita Nyongo’s stolen pearl-studded dress as a sign that I should finally share about my tea experience at The Boxwood Cafe from several months back. In November, I visited on a bright and beautiful late Saturday afternoon when I could fully appreciate the restaurant during a proper 3 o’clock tea time. The restaurant’s modern yet classic style, the panoramic views of LA’s skyline, and a promising review from a fellow SoCal food blogger the had me anticipating a good time.
In my humble option, LA’s tea scene is a bit lacking, particularly when it comes the idea of modern tea. For such a culturally diverse city, it’s frustrating how limited the options are. There are a handful of Victorian style and extravagant 5-star resorts for tea-ing, with fewer options in between. Afternoon tea at The London strikes a balance between these two styles, relaxed enough where you can stroll in Hollywood casual, yet finished enough where you still get that sense of vintage tea tradition. I love the restaurant’s comfortably elegant decor, especially their pastel blue and gold quilted couches, which remind me of my recipe for Quilted Petit Fours.
Great service is always a plus. If you’ve ever watched Gordon Ramsay in action, then you know that he’s big on making sure his staff are courteous, friendly, and knowledgable about his restaurants’ menus. Our server at Boxwood Cafe was certainly all of the above, and suggested that I try the Rose Tea with French Vanilla, which tasted elegant and lightly rosy without being too perfume-like.
Another great thing about Boxwood Cafe is that guests can also order off of the regular menu. This helps if you plan on bringing someone along who *ahem* prefers a standard lunch over afternoon tea (my hubby ordered a burger with truffle fries).
So here we go, from top to bottom…tea for one. A beautiful site, isn’t it?The currant scone was tender and buttery, and I actually like that they give you just one, with plenty of tangy lemon curd and Devonshire cream. It may sound strange, but I like think of the singular offering as a form of portion control. A few bites to savor, fully. The raspberry financier was good, not great. It was a little on the dry side, but I think that’s typical when you aren’t eating these immediately after they’ve come out of the oven. An extra sip of hot tea and everything is solved.
Next…on to the savories! I’ve enjoyed many a tea sandwich and must admit that I found these to be carefully and thoughtfully made. The Smoked Salmon and Cucumber? Predictable in flavor but still very tasty. The Curry Chicken? Spicy and sweet, with just the right amount of curry powder.My favorite sandwich was the Asparagus and Ham, on lightly buttered bread. The asparagus is blanched and peeled into paper-thin strips so that it has texture of lettuce. The flavors are light, fresh, and spring-like. If you are getting hungry and curious but aren’t anywhere near LA to partake, no worries! The sandwich was so good, I’ll be attempting to make a copy-cat version of it soon, so stay tuned!
Last but not least, we have the petit fours–the crowning glory of any tea time extravaganza. The L’Opera Cake was my favorite, mainly because of the rich chocolate. The cake has several lightly boozy layers of spongy cake, and is kind of like a tiramisu. The Lemon Tart was also good, but a bit of a short-cut cheat on the pastry chef’s part since it’s made from the same lemon curd that’s served with the scones. Here are a few final glimpses of The London West Hollywood on my way out. I was delighted to catch a look at the hotel’s stylish elevators, glossed with a black and white image of a dashing gentleman offering tea service. What a brilliant design concept. I can almost hear the butler saying: “At your service, madame.” How very Downton Abbey.Don’t be startled, right outside the café you’ll find an English Bulldog door stop…quintessentially English (the dog, not the door stop) and simply adorable. Too bad he isn’t real. And with that I’ll leave you with my wisest tip for taking tea at The London in West Hollywood: dress comfortable and dress classy, but real or fake, make sure to leave those pearl accessories at home!
Boxwood Cafe at The London West Hollywood
1020 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Tea on Saturdays & Sundays, 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM