West Palm tea house celebrates ritual with flair

Leslie Gray Streeter, Palm Beach Post, May 27, 2014

Being Irish, Audrey Farrelly knows a thing or two about beer and pubs, which aided her in her run as the manager and heart of Clematis Street’s O’Shea’s Irish Pub. But the Irish also value their tea, she notes.

“It’s very relaxing. If something’s wrong, you have a cup of tea,” says Farrelly, who bought the Serenity Garden Tea House in West Palm Beach last summer. “It’s a welcome. Friends come over, you pop the kettle on, sit around and gossip and sort out the world’s problems.”

Serenity Garden offers a full afternoon tea, featuring a cup of soup (the tomato soup is excellent), perfect little tea sandwiches like cucumber and egg salad — with the crusts cut off (but of course) — fresh scones and tiny desserts like macaroons and demure red velvet cupcakes.

There was only one cupcake on the three-tiered plate stand, but we pretended we thought we saw the Royal Family coming down Dixie Highway and swiped it when our friends weren’t looking. (OK, we didn’t. But we would have.)

Speaking of royals, you can also get the Royal Tea, with Champagne added.

The cost of the high tea is $19.95 (a 6 percent sales tax and a 20 percent tip are added). In addition to high tea, individual teas are served with a classic touch (pottery teapot, snug in a tea cozy). An ample range of specialty loose teas is offered, starting at $6.95 if purchased by the ounce. They can be enjoyed at the tea house or taken home for later.