Where to The Vintage Tea and Cake Company in Belmont, where you can sip tea in a leisurely manner and eat real tea sandwiches (no crusts!) and heavenly scones.
Why Because we all need to slow down a little and catch up with a friend or someone you love.
The Back Story Vintage Tea owner Adel Donegan, who is Turkish American and the daughter of a petroleum engineer, grew up in Colombia, the Middle East, and Amsterdam, then lived in England for 10 years, where she went to college. She studied film and worked on music videos and commercials in the UK. She began her tea business nine years ago out of her home, baking in a commercial kitchen, and catering parties for weddings and baby showers, carrying all her vintage tea cups and plates with her to every party. “When the living room got taken over by china,” she says, “I opened my own space.” That was six years ago. The Belmont location was a bakery only, where you could buy tea or coffee and confections from the case, but Donegan wasn’t licensed for seats. Right before the pandemic, she appealed to the zoning board and got 16 seats to host tea parties. Then everything closed down. Now, finally, Donegan is serving tea. It has a film set quality. You step into the shop and step back in time. One wall holds tea paraphernalia, and tables are set as if you’re visiting granny, if granny lived in Yorkshire.
What to Eat Every table gets a three-tiered cake stand holding pastries and fetching little sandwiches with fillings like egg salad, cucumber, or fig jam and goat cheese on honey-molasses bread. Vintage Tea’s now-famous scones are on the stand (they’re also sold at other shops, such as Brothers Marketplace in Weston and Tilly & Salvy’s Bacon Street Farm in Natick). The confections are all miniatures made by The Danish Pastry House in Watertown. These might include lemon squares, small fruit tarts, cookies dipped in chocolate, eclairs, and macarons in pretty hues. Donegan is baking the scones, which come with butter, jam, and clotted cream, and making mini quiches and all the sandwiches. Tea is by reservation, Thursday to Sunday until 3 p.m. ($30 per person).
What to Drink Each tea drinker gets a pot from a long list of teas supplied by the Tea Guys in Whately; loose leaves are tucked into muslin pouches in chubby round teapots.
The Takeaway Donegan still caters tea events, to which she brings all the vintage china and settings (she prowls consignment stores and occasionally gets a box from a customer desperate to unload old-fashioned cups and saucers). In the friendly shop, you get a delightful respite from real world worries. The song on the sound system is “What a Difference a Day Makes.” It might as well have been, “What a Difference an Hour Makes.” 129 Belmont St., Belmont, 617-470-4321, www.vintageteaandcake.com
Sheryl Julian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.