05 February 2010

Surely You Jest

I'm sure I've rambled enough here about my fond feelings for the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art, not the opera, I'll get there eventually.) Over the years I've spent hours wandering around that place, between school trips, visits with a group and solitary afternoons. I haven't decided what is my favorite section, though it tends to vacillate between Ancient Greek and Rome, European paintings and the musical instruments room. One thing I'd never managed to do was to try the Afternoon Tea at their Petrie Court. Recently my sister and I found a holiday Monday free to give it a go. It was between that and Alice's Tea Cup. I made the wrong choice.

The Petrie Court is beautiful. It's airy and is surrounded by bits of statue and sculpture. I have absolutely no complaints about the atmosphere. But Afternoon Tea is much more than that. Ideally it should be pots of loose tea accompanied by the three-tiered dessert stand groaning with finger sandwiches, scones and a variety of desserts. You think it's not going to be filling, but by the end you can't finish the last sandwich between you and your companions.

Here, though it was attractive in its presentation, something was glaringly obvious. Can you tell by the photo? It's space. Lots of space. One should not be able to see the bottom of the tiered plates until some eating has occurred. There just wasn't enough food. What food was there was good, but first of all, finger sandwiches should be close to the length of its namesake. There was a generous amount of cream and jams for the scones, but the clotted cream tasted a little off. The petit fours were good, and the staff must have sensed our dismay because they did bring out a plate with a few more. I don't blame them; I blame whoever plans this arrangement. I'd let it fly if it was like $10 or something, but no, it was over $25. What for?

My other complaint was that the tea,though good (I had Harney and Sons Darjeeling), was served in tea bags. That's more than fine in a diner, but not in the Afternoon Tea repertoire. Oh no.

I'll never stop visiting the Met. It's great. I will need some hefty convincing to have Afternoon Tea there, though.

Did I mention the food in the above photo is for two?