I’ve had many afternoon teas in China, including the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai. So I was curious to know how a Chinese inspired restaurant in New York City inside the Waldorf Astoria New York would do tea…
The Waldorf Astoria New York is located on Park Avenue in Midtown East and just a few minutes walk to many of the city’s major attractions. It’s an easy walk to Grand Central, Rockefeller Center and shopping on Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue.
It’s also located by office buildings, so you’ll find the area filled with office workers from nine to five on weekdays.
La Chine is one of many dining options inside the Waldorf Astoria New York. This restaurant serves cuisine from various regions of China. And in the afternoons on Thursdays through Sundays, La Chine is the place to enjoy afternoon tea.
Other than the window facing the street, there is no spectacular view. But inside, the restaurant’s interior has an upscale feel with modern furniture and plenty of fresh flowers.
There’s a huge selection of teas at the Waldorf Astoria New York. Being a Chinese restaurant, there are plenty of Asian teas to choose from, along with black and herbal teas. I had my usual Earl Grey which was in a tea bag. I was surprised to discover that, especially considering the price of the afternoon tea.
There are two options for afternoon tea at the Waldorf Astoria New York. One is La Chine Tea and the other, Imperial Tea. La Chine Tea (shown in this review) is a classic afternoon tea with scones, savories and sweets. Meanwhile, Imperial Tea has slightly different savories and the addition of five dim sum items.
The Savory – (five varieties per person)
Five savory items included the Waldorf Salad, Smoked Salmon Napoleon, Blue Crab Deviled Egg, Butter Poached Lobster Roll and Serrano Pear Crisp.
The Waldorf Salad, which is known to have been first made in the Waldorf Astoria New York, consists of apples, celery, walnut and grapes and served in these cute holders.
The savories were well-made and the highlight of the afternoon tea.
The Scone – (two scones per person)
An apple cinnamon and traditional scone arrived first, separate from the afternoon tea tray. They were warm, a bit too crunch and tiny! They could fit in my hand when making a fist.
It was served with a minuscule dollop of Devonshire cream, strawberry preserve and lemon curd. While the scones and accompaniments were a bit of a disappointment, it interestingly came with honey made at the rooftop of the hotel.
The Sweet – (five varieties per person)
The sweets on the menu change often but when I visited I had a Raspberry Cremeux, Chocolate Financier, Miniature Baba, Seasonal Fruit Tart and a Pumpkin Spice Macaron. Each were beautifully decorated and super Instagrammable.
Afternoon tea is served in a unique three tiered tray. A black framed square tray allowed for rectangular plates to sit between the sections. The delicate tea cups, plates and pots were white with gold designs.
Another unique aspect was the chopsticks (for if you were to have the Imperial Tea) and the fork, knife and chopstick holder.
On a Sunday afternoon, every table was full. I was told it would take a moment for them to start serving the tea. Little did I know, it really would take a moment. Or many moments. Throughout the entire experience I had to wait and keep checking to make sure they remembered to take my order, refill tea pots, and even to bring the check.
Though service was very slow, staff were still friendly. But if you’re not one to wait, this tested my patience.
WiFi wasn’t available in La Chine, but you can access WiFi if you’re a guest of the hotel. Or you could probably try asking for a password to one of the meeting networks.
Social Media Aspect
The Waldorf Astoria New York is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They do a great job reposting guest content and updating followers with news.
I really wanted to like this afternoon tea. The savories and sweets were delicious and the ambience was ok. Service was the slowest I’ve received for afternoon tea. But I think I could go again and give it another try.
Cost: $68 per person for La Chine Tea (in this review)
Tea Time: Thursday to Saturday 12 – 3 pm, Sundays 12 – 4 pm
Waldorf Astoria New York
301 Park Ave
New York, NY 10022