Cambridge Tea House (Facebook / @CambridgeTHouse)
1885 W. Fifth Ave. (map it!)
Grandview, OH 43212
Open Tues-Fri, 8 am - 4 pm; Sat & Sun, 8 am - 3 pm
Accepts cash and credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Date of Visit: Friday, December 10, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: My wife and I have a lot of fond memories of having tea in England. We've traveled there multiple times for school, and highlights of the trips include tea at The Orangery in Kensington Palace, The Pump Room in Bath, or curling up in the lobby of the National Theatre. In some ways, we're always looking to recapture those experiences back in the States. We already know that Columbus is a great coffee town, but I'm finding more and more that we're a great tea city, too. Tucked away in locations like Short North, Dublin, Bexley, and Marble Cliff are little teahouses demonstrating that there's more to tea than slam-dunking a teabag into a mug. I haven't explored many of these places, but I may not need to search much further after discovering the Cambridge Tea House.
You'll find Cambridge Tea House by heading west on Fifth Avenue, away from central Grandview. I'm actually not sure what part of town this technically is: Grandview, Marble Cliff, Columbus? It's part of a small, old-looking line of storefronts with a small parking lot. I initially thought the name Cambridge was maybe an homage to English tea, but I think the name really comes from the cross-street of Cambridge Boulevard, where the store is located.
The setting is small and intimate. Detailed stonework and brick, intricate patterns on the napkins and valance. Lots of pastoral images. There are a total of 4 booths, 4 small tables, and 1 bigger table. A small chandelier adds to the light pouring in through big windows.
A place like Cambridge Tea House brings certain adjectives to mind: quaint, cozy, dainty. And I use those nicely. The Tea House does not serve your calorie-packed, greasy spoon breakfast, but chances are, if you're headed there, you're not looking for that.
Instead, you'll find a setting that is comfortable and cozy, with a menu of pastries, quiches, soups, and other items that complement the tea service.
FOOD: First and foremost on their menu is the tea. They have a sizable tea menu, featuring herbal, green, white, black, and oolong.
And the best part about the tea service? They know what they're doing. The tea pot was served covered with a cozy, the mugs were heated, the tea served loose leaf at the proper temperature. We chose a Paris flavored black tea, which the menu says includes a blend of bergamot oil and black currant. It was just a little sweet, and a perfect complement to our meal.
The centerpiece of our breakfast was the Hot, Creamy Oatmeal. We added the fresh fruit on the side. Served with cream and brown sugar, and a side of toast and butter. Big points for presentation, as you can see.
The oatmeal is made from big rolled oats. It's thick, sticky, and a filling meal for the colder months.
My favorite of the meal were the cream scones with jam and homemade cream. The cream isn't quite like real Devonshire cream (it can't be because of different food regulations, as true clotted cream is made from unpasteurized milk), but the texture and flavor are still superb.
We also tried their quiche of the day, which was a red pepper quiche. Again, nice mix of flavors with the eggs, cheese, and peppers. Served with a side of fruit and their tea bread; that day's was a moist pumpkin.
SERVICE: Our service was very sweet and fitting with the location. It's a small crew there, including owner Mary Boesch and head chef Sarah. But they all clearly know their stuff, whether it's tea, breakfast, lunch, or other events.
OVERALL: I'm very pleased to have discovered Cambridge Tea House. The location is intimate, the details in decoration are delightful, and the food is a great match to the tea. Especially those scones; I keep thinking about those and the cream. I'm clearly focused on breakfast, but there's a lot more here: they have a promising lunch menu, they offer cooking classes and themed candlelight dinners, and best of all, they serve a proper afternoon tea. You can round out your own collection with tea, teapots, and accoutrement for sale. too.
-> my (614) Magazine January 2011 write-up, including Cambridge Tea House