Vacation did not result in the culinary creations I’d hoped — mostly because the kitchen where I stayed wasn’t up to much more than soup and sandwiches. So, I thought I would take a stab at writing a restaurant review. I did a little research, and picked a well-spoken of tea room on the Arts and Crafts Trail.
It is open from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The dining rooms are small, but the upstairs room has tables large enough for six or so. The decor is reminsicent of a typical southern tea table — lace tablecloths, porcelain tea pots and cups, antique furniture.
I had hoped that the Wild Plum Tea Room would serve an English (or thereabouts) tea. I was expecting a pot of tea and a choice of little sandwiches and/or cakes, served on a tiered plate. Sadly, this is not the place for that sort of “tea.” But it is still a sweet little place for lunch.
The menu is small, offering lunch plates of salads and simple sandwiches, and a soup of the day. The signature tea, Wild Plum Tea, is served hot or cold, and there is an assortment of other cold beverage available.
I had the Wild Plum Tea, hot. It came by the cup, garnished with an orange wedge and a little cinnamon stick in the bottom of the cup. It was very good, a citrus tea that wasn’t too sweet. I learned from the waitress that the “secret ingredient” is frozen FiveAlive (a citrus concentrate), added to brewed black tea and sweetened to taste.
I had the Wild Plum Medley for lunch. This was a cup of the soup du jour — sherried tomato bisque — with chicken salad and pasta salad. It came with two tiny walnut mufffins served with a dollop of plum jelly.
The sherried tomato bisque was divine! Tarragon, oregano, rosemary, basil all blended with a simple tomato base to create a surprisingly complex taste. (I’ll be attempting to recreate it as soon as I get home.) The pasta salad was a basic version of any pasta salad, made with whole wheat penne and pesto. The chicken salad, however, was anything but basic.
At first glance, it was white meat chicken with celery, grapes, and some sort of dressing. Upon tasting, I discovered that it had a subtle and not unpleasant taste of — egg nog. Whether it was a sprinkle of nutmeg with the mayonaise and cream in the dressing, or something else, it was surprising. And very tasty.
For dessert, they had a brownie sundae, a flourless dark belgian chocolate torte, an apple cake, and a pumpkin bundt cake. The chocolates seemed to heavy for midday, and I overheard a “regular” say that the apple cake was much too sweet. So, I chose the pumpkin cake. And I was very glad.
The cake itself was almost a savory, so true was the pumpkin taste. This was balanced with the sweetness of homemade whipped cream and caramel drizzle. Perfect!
The service was average, the atmosphere was nice. The total for lunch, tea and dessert was less than $20.00 with tip. Would I recommend the Wild Plum? Yes, for two or three ladies looking for lunch. But not for families with children, large groups, or anyone looking for a real tea.