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Tea at The Lambs Club

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Thursday Oct 4, 2012
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Life in Manhattan is sometimes like a Hollywood romance from the Thirties - and especially when listening to the songs of Cole Porter and Noel Coward while happily sipping tea in the Empire Deco splendor of the Stanford White-designed Lambs Club in the theatre district.

Named for Charles Lamb, the renowned 19th-century London drama critic and eminent essayist, The Lambs Club, located in The Chatwal New York, recently introduced an Afternoon Tea service featuring Grand Crus teas from the esteemed house Le Palais des Thés.

Now that autumn has arrived with an earlier gloaming, the upstairs dining room at The Lambs Club with its floor to ceiling French doors overlooking 44th Street is a lovely sanctuary for an afternoon tryst with tea - or a tea tryst for two.

Created in Paris in 1987, Le Palais des Thés combs the world’s tea plantations for their selection of all-natural flavored teas, single estate teas, and their limited edition "Grand Crus" teas. Debuting at The Lambs Club are two Grand Crus teas: Darjeeling Mission Hill and Thé Noir Jukro.


Chef/owner Geoffrey Zakarian and his executive and pastry chefs have created a savory and sweet tea service menu, perfect for pairings with Le Palais des Thés teas. According to Zakarian, many of the recipes on the Afternoon Tea service menu at The Lambs Club derive from his mother’s recipes.

Egg salad, for example, is served on whole grain bread with gem lettuce. The tête de moine, a Swiss cow’s milk cheese, served with housemade red currant jam, arrives on the plate fashioned like a white rose in the morning dew. And the tuna tartare with preserved lemon dressing is nothing less than a gift from the sea and a reminder of summer’s saline pleasures.

What to sip with such a bounty of flavors? The Darjeeling Mission Hill, a vegetal black tea with a fragrance like mown grass in the late summer, has an herbaceous flavor that makes it a wonderful complement to raw vegetables and cheese - and tuna tartare.


Pastry chef Bjorn Bottcher has done stints at Badrutt’s Palace in St. Moritz, as well as David Bouley’s Danube and Bouley. For tea at The Lambs Club, Bottcher serves a cannelé, the French pastry with a soft custard center and a dark caramelized crust redolent of rum and vanilla, that is the epitome of divine richness - and a perfect complement to Le Palais des Thés Grand Crus tea, Jukro.

Grown in South Korea at a family farm, Jukro is a black tea with a bouquet like a vanilla-chocolate biscuit and a finish in the mouth that is as smooth and elegant as chocolate silk.

"Pairs well with the Sacher Torte" reads the Afternoon Tea menu - and who were we to argue? Bottcher’s torte, served with a fleck of gold leaf, is a sublime finish to an afternoon tea at The Lambs Club - not unlike a clinch and a kiss on the silver screen.

After an afternoon tea at The Lambs Club, you’ll leave feeling as giddy as Fred and Ginger.


DETAILS:

Afternoon Tea: 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm
The Lambs Club @ The Chatwal New York
132 West 44th Street (btwn 6th Ave and Broadway)
New York, NY 10036
212.997.5262 reservations@thelambsclub.com

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A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.

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