Restaurant review: You Better Not Try to Order Coffee Here
Tealuxe Serves up Great Tea and Dishes, and Even Better Prices
By Jillian Berry
ASSOCIATE ARTS EDITOR
108 Newbury Street
0 Brattle Street, Harvard Square
Tealuxe is a “tea bar” with locations on Newbury Street in Boston and Brattle Street in Harvard Square. The Newbury Street location is quaint, with tea-related quotes lining the walls and clean lines complementing rich woods. The caf is split into two sections with “to go” options available upstairs and a small dining room downstairs.
Tealuxe prides itself on having over 100 varieties of tea from around the world. In addition to black and green teas, it serves herbal, oolong, chai, organic, iced, and bubble teas. Chances are they’ll have anything you’re looking for. With so many choices, be prepared to read a lot of descriptions; ask the helpful staff if you have any questions, as this is not a place where you can just order a cup. And don’t even think about trying to get coffee — there isn’t any.
Tea in the dining room comes in either an individual pot or a party pot for 2-3 people ($3-$8 based on size and selection). To make sure the tea is perfectly brewed when you take that first sip, the servers bring over an hourglass that lets you know when the tea is ready. Their English Breakfast tea is strong and fresh. The Evergreen Estate Ceylon is a black tea with a hint of vanilla, which gives it a wonderful aroma. This tea is similar to the English Breakfast, but with a little bite at the end. The Silver Needle tea is a white tea, which tends to be much weaker and subtler than a black or green tea. I recommend this tea with dessert, as it has a slightly sweet taste. All the teas are excellent, and the freshness keeps the wonderful flavors strong.
While most people just get tea to go or as loose leaves, Tealuxe offers a great light menu. The menu consists mostly of sandwiches, which come with a salad or potato salad. It also features a few other dishes, however, including the traditional British complement to tea — crumpets ($3.95). If you’ve never had crumpets before, they are a cross between an English muffin and regular muffin. Tealuxe serves these moist disks with butter (or Devon cream for an additional $0.75) and jam. They also offer a fruit and granola parfait ($3.95) with seasonal fruit and vanilla yogurt, which is fresh and not overly sweet.
There are many different sandwiches ($6.95), and most are served fresh and warm from the grill. The sandwiches are all perfectly sized for a light but filling meal. The Chai Masala contains chicken, tomatoes, and cheese topped with a tea-infused curry sauce. The sauce is amazing — it has a sweet curry flavor with a hot touch at the end. A spicier dish, the Sonoma, is topped with chicken, pepperjack cheese, and salsa. This sandwich is not Texas hot, but has enough flavor to make it delicious. The Southie is Tealuxe’s version of a BLT, with three pieces of bread to make the sandwich more substantial and very good bacon that is not overly fatty.
Tealuxe has a nice dessert menu with cakes, scones, and key lime pie. The key lime pie is a great deal at $3.75 a slice. It has a yellow filling (the sign of a true homemade pie) and is topped with a layer of cream and served with fresh whipped cream on the side. The filling is sweet yet tart, and the cream lightens this filling dish. The crust, however, is too thin, and I was unable to get enough in one bite to taste it.
Overall, Tealuxe is a magnificent jewel. The service is good: I was impressed that when I requested no onions on my sandwich, not only were they absent from my sandwich, but from my salad as well. Plus, Tealuxe might just be the best deal on Newbury Street, so you don’t need to feel bad about buying something nice for yourself while you’re out. In any case, definitely step into this relaxing and fun tea bar.