The Boston Phoenix
November 6 - 13, 1997

[Food Reviews]

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Tea Tray in the Sky

Whimsy and frangipane in Porter Square

by Nancy Kalajian

One of the brightest new additions to the area between Porter and Harvard Squares, Tea Tray in the Sky takes its name comes from the Dormouse's song in Alice in Wonderland. The theme is whimsically rendered in a surrealistic mural near the entrance, painted by artist Julian Landa, and teapots are everywhere in the décor, from handmade ceramic creations for sale to brass teapot-shaped knobs on the cabinets. Then there's the tea itself: more than 70 varieties are listed on the handmade-paper menu, from chai (strong Indian black tea blended with steamed milk, spices, and nuts) to a very delicate Chinese white tea. The teas are made with filtered water and served in individual pots ($3.75 to $4.50) or larger pots for sharing ($5.50 to $6.50). The sandwiches and desserts, served with gold eating utensils, are as extraordinary as the teas. Strips of smoked chicken and roasted plums on a bed of mixed greens, with two slices of focaccia, is $5.75; tea-cured gravlax with dilled crème fraîche, slices of cucumber, salad greens, and focaccia is $7.50. Look for freshly made desserts, too: gingerbread with elderberry preserves (75 cents); ground-almond frangipane with fruit and crème fraîche ($3.75); toasted bourbon-soaked pound cake with roasted peaches ($5.50). Every Tuesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m., there's a free thematic tea tasting.

Tea Tray in the Sky, located at 1796 Mass Ave, in Cambridge, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Monday. Call (617) 492-8327.


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