What do you get when you cross a spa with a tearoom?
You may envision ladies in spa robes, fresh from a facial, sipping cucumber water while the tea steeps and noshing pastries and petite sandwiches from a three-tiered tray. The spa concierge hovers nearby to accommodate every whim. Sound about right?
Edit your vision to remove the spa robes, facials and concierge and you’ll have The Roswell Teahouse — a different sort of spa-tearoom hybrid. There’s no puttin’ on the glitz here in this modestly decorated 1920s home in historic Roswell. Expect pampering by way of your belly.
Drawing upon her 20 years in the cosmetics and spa industries, culinary degree and tea studies, Roswell Tea House owner Carine Bourgeois creates a unique experience for tea enthusiasts — one that nourishes the body and soul with healthful and satisfying foods.
Ingredients are mindfully selected and sourced. Salt and sugar sneak into recipes only occasionally. Olive, coconut and sesame seed oils replace butter. Produce is local and organic when possible. In fact, the restaurant partners with the Local Food Stop, a community-supported agriculture program, to buy unsold produce that is incorporated into soups and salads each week.
Tea sourcing also receives high priority here. With a selection of more than 100 teas from around the world, The Roswell Teahouse relies on importers that buy from small tea farmers, most of which farm organically.
The loose-leaf tea menu rivals popular tea outposts in both selection and pricing. Find everything from green, chai, oolong and black estate teas to pu-erh and rooibos teas. In keeping with the designation of a “wellness tea house,” the restaurant offers teas for common ailments such as hot flashes, aging and allergies.
Pair your tea selection with an afternoon tea service ($20-$33) to receive that three-tiered tray of pastries and sandwiches. A chicken curry salad sandwich makes its required appearance with striking curry flavor and chicken that is pulsed a bit too finely. Standard smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches arrive on the tray, but it’s the edamame sandwich I’ll remember. The cooked edamame blended with cream cheese and cumin results in a savory hummuslike spread, a flavor that lingers.
Follow the sandwiches with the tier of cream puffs, apple strudel and pizzelles, or do as I did and skip straight to the top tier of buttery scones and tart lemon curd. The lemon curd, which I spoon straight into my mouth, delights with smooth but bold lemon flavor — the perfect adornment for the crumbly scones. If you don’t opt for the afternoon tea service, order the lemon curd — er, scones — a la carte.
Even if you choose to order from the menu in lieu of the tea service, you can still enjoy a pot of tea ($4.50) served in miniature Japanese cast-iron teapots. Be adventuresome and pair it with the signature cold cherry soup ($3.95 cup/$5.95 bowl), which an employee tells me is a love-it-or-hate-it item. A vaguely pink soup made of cream, sour cream and powdered sugar conceal plump cherries flavored with cinnamon, cloves and lemon zest. Unsure if I fall into the love-it or hate-it camp, I can’t resist tasting and retasting the soup — watery and thin but fat with clove-scented cherries.
Or try the conservative route with one of the chicken salad sandwiches ($9.95) on gluten-free bread or one of several wraps, all accompanied by a mixed-greens salad laden with succulent berries and colorful peppers. The chicken spinach wrap panini ($9.95) is a satisfying choice that oozes with an abundance of smooth warm goat cheese.
The tea house also offers heavier options such as the vol-au-vent ($12.95), a Belgian-style pot pie, swimming in a curry cream sauce with large chunks of moist chicken, mushrooms and mini ground-turkey meatballs. The rich yellow-tinted sauce masks the mealy texture of the meatballs and adds heartiness to the dish.
Whether you are looking for hearty or healthful, there are plenty of options to nourish your body and soul at the Roswell Teahouse. Though not groundbreaking, the food is satisfying and the tea selection superior. Next time you’re looking for an afternoon of pampering, ditch the spa robes and nourish your inner beauty instead at The Roswell Teahouse.The Roswell Teahouse 108 Magnolia Street, Roswell. 770-643-5813. Food: Wellness tearoom Service: Friendly and ready to talk tea Best dishes: Salads, afternoon tea service, scones with lemon curd, chicken spinach wrap panini Vegetarian selections: Thai coconut rice bowl, assorted sandwiches and salads Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover Hours: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays Children: Yes, a princess tea service ($14) offered for children Parking: Yes, small lot with additional street parking Reservations: Yes, required for afternoon tea service Wheelchair access: Yes, side entrance Smoking: No Noise level: Low to moderate Patio: Yes Takeout: Yes