My husband and I are coffee drinkers. I do enjoy a cup of tea each night before bed, but never, ever would it occur to me to order tea at a restaurant, especially before noon. You can imagine our reluctance then as we entered the Elephant Room, a teahouse located in quaint Pawtuxet Village.
As soon I opened the door, I knew this was no ordinary place. It’s sort of a teahouse meets eco lounge. The décor is slightly new-agey: lots of texture, natural wood and plants while bossa-nova music croons in the background. The lighting is soft and comfortable, as is the seating — couches that seat two, and only two. It’s the type of place where you want to spend an entire morning with a good book or great conversationalist.
As we approached our table, I noticed a gorgeous French press go by me on a tray. Though the smell tempted me to order old reliable, I decided to take a chance with tea. I opened the menu and felt immediately overwhelmed by the choices: green teas, white teas, black teas, Oolongs and botanicals. Fortunately our knowledgeable server helped us make a choice that fit both our need to be caffeinated and our desire to try something different. I opted for the Halo, a blooming tea, while my husband got the earthy Pu-erh, pronounced … who am I kidding? I have no clue.
When the tea came to the table, it was a veritable feast for the eyes, from the gorgeous glass teapot that highlighted the plethora of colors each tea displayed, to the timer that allowed the tea to steep to the desired strength and the glass tea cup sans handle. Unbeknownst to me, my blooming tea did just that — blossomed. Once I dropped the small bud into the pot of steaming water, a gorgeous flower began to unfold. After five minutes, I had the most beautiful and one of the best tasting teas of my life. The aromas of peach and blueberry rounded out the floral flavors. It certainly didn’t need sugar or milk – blasphemy.
My husband’s Pu-erh, though not as pretty, was just as tasty; it was more of a woodsy tea with notes of cinnamon and goji berry. We truly didn’t miss the coffee, though we’re not ready to make a permanent switch.
Next we tried the crepes. Though there are other food items on the menu, the crepes sounded too good to pass up. Mario, the owner’s brother and crepe chef extraordinaire, suggested one of the specials: lavender ganache with light crème, earl grey glaze and caramelized orange peel. I’m not always a lover of lavender in my food so I hesitated, but Mario seemed very excited about his latest creation. We decided to give it a try, along with the savory – and somewhat safe – fig and prosciutto.
Mario was right — the lavender ganache was spectacular. Each flavor was distinct and noticeable without overwhelming the dish. The crepe went perfectly with my floral tea. The fig and prosciutto crepe was an excellent complement. The prosciutto provided just the amount of salty goodness. I’ve had cooked prosciutto on pizza or in pasta dishes and often the meat gets tough and loses its flavor. In this crepe, however, the prosciutto was lightly heated, not cooked – perfection. The figs and raspberry drizzle provided a sweet balance to the salty cured meat, goat cheese and walnuts. A lightly dressed salad sat atop the crepe, making this dish feel like a full meal.
After cleaning our plates and emptying our mini pots of tea, we left, albeit reluctantly. On the way out I noticed the “BYOB” sign, making my love for this place complete as I pictured myself enjoying a Halo blooming tea with a glass of prosecco.
The Elephant Room is so much more than a restaurant; it’s an experience – a delight for all the senses. Get there fast to reserve your sofa. http://www.elephanttearoom.com/index.html
The Elephant Room is at 2170 Broad Street in Pawtuxet Village.