Wednesday, May 23, 2012

House of Commons

It was all about my mom this past Sunday at afternoon tea at House of Commons, an English Tea Toom in the Riverfront area.

Our trek to House of Commons was a week-late Mother's Day celebration, as my mom was out of town last weekend. My mom loves all things British, and after reading many rave reviews, I've been wanting to take her to House of Commons for afternoon tea.

House of Commons lies in the Riverfront area at 15th and Platte. This particular afternoon, my husband and I met up with my mom after a quick trip to the Denver Beer Company just up the road.

I had made afternoon tea reservations for three about a week ago. The restaurant normally requests at least 48 hours notice for afternoon tea; otherwise their menu consists of an assortment of sandwiches, salads, and pastries.

Walking into House of Commons from a bustling Platte Street, we were immediately greeted by one of the women who worked there and seated at a table near the window. The restaurant is small, with space to seat maybe 20-25 people indoors, and a few additional tables outside.

Not surprisingly, House of Commons has a very feminine feel to it, with pastel walls and floral decor. The customers at the time of our visit were overwhelmingly female, including a bridal shower that occupied half the restaurant.

As my three readers know, my husband is a big tough guy, and I had to reassure him that he would end the meal with his masculinity intact.

We started off perusing the very long tea menu. House of Commons offers over forty teas, including many iced teas. My husband, at the waitress's recommendation, selected a white tea with lavender; my mom opted for a white peony tea.

I stuck with simple green tea. I have a hard time getting excited about tea since it's not coffee and it's not beer.

Green Tea

The tea was served loose in the respective pots, with filters provided to strain into the cups.

To nibble on, we were soon presented with this dainty and and beautifully arranged tower of fancy British tea staples.

Afternoon Tea Sandwiches, Scones, and Sweets

On the bottom tier were curried chicken salad and roast beef sandwiches. The curried chicken salad sandwiches were creamy and flavorful, with a sweetness from raisins thrown into the salad. I wasn't nearly as impressed by the roast beef sandwiches, which were a disappointing and boring combination of nothing more than a thin slice of roast beef and mayonnaise.

The second tier included classic cucumber and chive cream cheese sandwiches, as well as Irish cheddar and apricot jam sandwiches. I loved the sharp taste of the Irish cheddar, particularly combined with the sweetness of the jam.

Atop the third tier were bite-size scones served with Devonshire cream, jam, and lemon curd. I didn't care too much for the scones, though I generally think that traditional English scones, including these, are bland and too chewy. Fortunately, the tangy lemon curd and sweet jam contributed enough flavor to make them enjoyable.

On the top plate were sugar cookies with a chocolate center, lemon poppyseed cake, and chocolate cake. The lemon poppyseed cake was layered with a delicious citrus frosting that I loved, especially combined with the airy poppyseed cake.

Overall, the afternoon tea was tasty but it was extremely simple. For a pot of tea and a sample of finger foods and sweets, it felt too pricey. I would've been much more excited about this meal if it had cost $15 or so per person instead of $20.

Service was very good and very prompt. The waitress was particularly knowledgeable about the wide selection of teas available.

Afternoon tea at House of Commons was a lovely experience, but I don't get the urge to partake in afternoon tea very often, so I'm not sure if I'll be back.

Casual Dining

(7 of 10)

Pros: Wide tea selection, excellent tea, great service
Cons: Very expensive for the type of food served


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  1. been dying to go to tea time at the brown hotel (i think that's what it is called!) this place looks so fun! But girlie...