Name: The Abbey Garden Tea Room.
Location: 1312 11th St. in Fairhaven. 360-752-1752 and abbeygardentea.com. It shares the same building as CreativiTea, a glass-fusing and pottery-painting space. The tea room is in the back of the building.
Quick bite: Since 1998, Abbey Garden has offered hungry tea lovers a place to gather with friends and a chance to unwind from the pressures of the world.
I just wanted some tea and a good lunch the day I stopped in for the first time in some years. Abbey Garden offers soups, salads, a cheese plate, savories that include quiche, and what it calls teatime meals. There’s a selection of seven such meals, and I picked the Abbey Tea for $13.95.
The Abbey Tea comes with an individual pot of tea, which is covered in a cozy to keep your tea hot, three triangles of tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, and a scone with cream and jam.
You get a choice of black, green, oolong or herbal tea. I picked a black tea called keemun, which the menu described as full-bodied and malty. I’ve never drunk keemun, so I feared it might tip over to strong and bitter. But the tea, which tasted slightly smoky, was smooth and bracing.
For my tea sandwiches, I selected smoked salmon in a cream cheese spread; curried chicken spread made with mayonnaise; and watercress with cream cheese and lemon. The sandwiches were made with crust-less, pillowy bread. Each was delicious, although the smooth texture of the chicken curry threw me until I remembered this was a spread and so I shouldn’t expect chunks of chicken. My favorite was the watercress sandwich. Its lemony tang was refreshing, and the watercress added a bite that played off the cream cheese.
The fruit wasn’t anything special, just slices of orange and apple as well as a bland strawberry cut in half that made me long for the local berries of summer.
But the scone was something special. Slightly sweet, it was crumbly on the outside and moist on the inside. A daub of clotted cream and raspberry jam on a bite of scone, followed by sips of tea, made this the best part of the meal.
Side note: Like the tea you just had? You can take it with you because Abbey Garden sells its loose-leaf teas.
Ambiance: Comfortable and casual. Abbey Garden is described as a contemporary, British-inspired tea room but don’t take that to mean the eatery is stuffy. The space is decidedly unfussy, and you’ll find yourself relaxing during your tea time. Don’t know much about tea? That’s OK. The helpful staff will answer your questions.