The members of Williamsburg’s mushrooming waterfront hotel district have naturally attempted to curry favor from locals, via destination restaurants and bars. The Wythe kicked things off with Reynard and The Ides. The William Vale one-upped them with Leuca and Westlight. And The Williamsburg Hotel is readying to join the fray with Harvey, along with a watertower-situated drinkery. Yet instead of merely staging a booze and views face-off, the newest luxe lodge has an ace up its sleeve in an English-style afternoon tea service, not currently offered by its nearby competitors, nor even readily available in the surrounding neighborhood.
Curated by Stefen Ramirez of Brooklyn’s own Tea Dealers, the selection extends well beyond the expected Earl Grey. Ceramic pots spout streams of Korea’s pan-fired, pineapple-accented, organic Woojean Green, grown in bamboo groves in the Jiri Mountains, as well as malty and creamy Doomni Single Estate Assam—the highest tier of orange pekoe—and slightly bitter Genou matcha from Uji Japan, grown and stone-ground by farmers in Kyotonabe City.
High tea also allows for Adam Leonti (of Brooklyn Bread Lab, and the chef behind Harvey) to show off his estimable baking skills. White china tiers support cucumber, brie and pesto sandwiches, not the cottony crustless kinds, but substantial, double crème-bound heros, tucked into whole grain, freshly-milled loaves. Customary scones are infused with white chocolate and sage; downy domes of brioche are studded with pearl sugar and cherries; and a panoply of other, unique sweets jockey for position, from rye chocolate chip cookies to buckshot-sized sweet potato doughnuts to pannetone pineapple bread pudding.
Whether or not Brits embrace the tea program as a bit of home away from home, it’s certainly a welcome addition to Williamsburg.
96 Wythe Ave, (718) 362-8100
High Tea Service available on Fridays-Sundays from 12-5pm, for $40pp
Photos by Sasha Turrentine