London's Calling (You to Dinner)
by Julie Besonen, 05/16/2012
Photo: Roy Wright
Lady Mendl's Tea Salon
56 Irving Place, 212-533-4600, Gramercy, Manhattan
The tradition of afternoon tea is upheld like a pinkie finger at Lady Mendl's, a hushed, lavishly appointed salon off the lobby of the charming Inn at Irving Place. Gentle sunlight and tall candles on the mantelpiece cast a warm glow, glinting off fine china and patterned vintage wallpaper. Tables are set with linen, fresh flowers and soft cloth napkins with which to delicately dab your lips. Depending on the day, there are two or three seatings; weekend reservations are harder to come by, so plan in advance rather than popping in. Five courses are $35, a filling ceremony that includes tea sandwiches (cucumber with mint crème fraîche on brioche, egg salad on rye), scones with Devonshire cream, chocolate-covered strawberries and a pot of freshly steeped loose-leaf tea.