Tea time at Tip­ple

GA Voice - - Eating My Words -

Per­haps you re­mem­ber the Ro­man Lily Café, which opened on High­land Av­enue in 1997 and closed 10 years later. Own­erchef Calavino Do­nati was a pi­o­neer. Be­sides open­ing one of the first busi­nesses in the Old Fourth Ward’s res­ur­rec­tion, she of­fered a unique menu of comfy dishes not un­like the Fly­ing Bis­cuit’s, but far more in­no­va­tive.

A cou­ple of years af­ter clos­ing Ro­man Lily, she opened Ur­ban Can­ni­bals, a deli in East At­lanta Vil­lage, with her spouse Do­ria Roberts, a well known mu­si­cian and ac­tivist. It closed af­ter a five-year run, and now the two have opened

Tip­ple and Rose Tea Par­lor and Apothe­cary (806 N. High­land Ave., 678-705-7995, www.face­book.com/Tip­pleAndRose)

in the space va­cated by Key Lime Sa­lon in Vir­gini­aHigh­land, next to Surin of Thai­land. (There’s no sign as of this writ­ing.)

What’s a tea par­lor? It’s ob­vi­ously a place to drink tea, but the word “par­lor” re­flects its ad­di­tional his­toric role as a place to so­cial­ize. We’ve all seen pic­tures of Vic­to­ri­an­era women in white gloves sit­ting around a white table­cloth mid-af­ter­noon, sip­ping tea poured from white pots and snack­ing on crum­pets and scones. My grand­fa­ther was a Brit and I re­mem­ber the rit­ual quite well. I did not wear white gloves at Tip­ple and Rose.

It is a cozy spot with brick walls and lots of wood ta­bles bor­dered by ban­quettes. There are shelves of teatime ac­ces­sories and apothe­cary items like syrups and soaps. It makes sense be­cause tea is medic­i­nal. The tea it­self and the rit­ual of the tea party—no, not that kind—are calm­ing. Of course, there are in­vig­o­rat­ing teas as well.

Tip­ple of­fers 84 va­ri­eties of tea. In­cred­i­bly, there’s a “sniff­ing bar.” You can open a small con­tainer and check out the bou­quet. If you sniff enough, you’ll get, you know, a tea high. I set­tled on a lovey-dovey rose tea from Sri Lanka. It was served in the clas­sic white pot with a white cup and saucer. The tray in­cluded a tiny hour­glass. Roberts in­structed me not to dare re­move the old­fash­ioned tea bag from the pot un­til the sand had emp­tied—about five min­utes.

There are plenty of nib­bles here—sal­ads, sand­wiches, and pas­tries. I sam­pled a salad of or­ganic greens tossed with lo­cal peaches, ap­ples, sun-dried cher­ries, toasted al­monds, and a lo­cal cashew cheese. I had half a sand­wich of house-made chicken salad and another of duck salad. Both were served on crois­sants from the Bread Gar­den. I rec­om­mend the duck. It has that lus­cious, earthy oili­ness that con­trasts well with the crisp bread and the other lay­ers of fla­vor like sun-dried toma­toes, toasted pecans, and Di­jon aioli.

I also tried a scone, my fa­vorite pas­try, baked by Roberts her­self. You can or­der fright­fully ad­dic­tive house-made le­mon curd or in­sanely rich clot­ted cream to spread on them. The scone was crumbly and a bit airy—flaw­less in its way.

Roberts and Do­nati are open­ing two new venues in the com­ing months. One will be a reprise of Ur­ban Can­ni­bals on a larger scale in the va­cated lo­ca­tion of Las Palmeras on 5th Street in Midtown. The other, Madre and Ma­son, will take over the lo­ca­tion of Cous­cous on Dutch Val­ley Road. It will fea­ture a fas­ci­nat­ing hy­brid of South­ern and Latin fla­vors.

In the mean­time, be sure to visit Tip­ple. It’s open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tues­day-Satur­day and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun­days. You can ar­range a tra­di­tional tea party by call­ing ahead.

Cliff Bo­s­tock is a long­time din­ing critic and psy­chother­a­pist turned life coach. www.cliff­bo­stock.com.

Tip­ple and Rose, which opened this month, has 84 va­ri­eties of tea and even a ‘sniff­ing bar.’ (Photo via Face­book)

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