Anyone who follows me knows I am a huge fan of afternoon tea. I've visited countless tea rooms all over Southern California as well as many around the world, as I always plan a tea or two when traveling. I thought I'd visited all the restaurants that offer tea in OC so when I recently discovered that W Cafe in Newport Beach offers afternoon tea I knew I had to check it out!
For those of you not familiar with the W Cafe it's a Mediterranean cafe located on the border of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa on Westcliff Drive with indoor and patio seating. Opened 4 years ago by Chef Wais Omar, former food and beverage manager of the Balboa Bay Club, the W Cafe offers gourmet international food including lots of healthy vegan and gluten-free options too. Currently, the W Cafe only serves breakfast and lunch but has quite a varied menu with both sweet and savory options. It's a very popular breakfast spot - well known for their donut french toast (yes, you read that right - DONUT french toast!) They also serve breakfast all day so if 2 pm breakfast is your thing this is the place for you. ;)
One nice thing about the tea that my friend and I both liked is that we each get our own individual selection of tea and tea pot. Lots of tea places make you share when there are only two of you which I don't like as I prefer black teas and many of my friends like green or white. We were also really pleased with the varied selection of tea from which to choose including black, green, herbal, white and even aryuveda 'wellness' teas! Your pot of tea is brought to the table with a variety of sugar cubes including the unique saffron and ginger cubes which I'd never seen before but added a hint of spice to our teas. It was also served with some lovely cinnamon & cardamom honey. They also bring you out the cutest sand tea timer to make sure your tea is brewed to perfection - another first for me, as I've never been given a tea timer but admittedly it did help to make sure our tea was brewed to the right darkness that we each preferred.
Afternoon tea at W Cafe starts with a kale salad with berries, almond slivers and a delicious champagne vinaigrette dressing. It was the perfect start as it was light and flavorful and got our palettes ready for the decadent tea items.
Once the tiered tea tray came out we couldn't believe how much food was included - every level was literally overflowing off the tray with yummy goodies! At only $35 I have to say this is a really great deal. Most teas in Orange County are considerably more expensive and I've never seen one that always include this much food.
The tea sandwiches weren't your typical run of the mill tea sandwiches. We were served four different tea sandwiches - Tomato Mozzarella w Basil, Cream Cheese Chive w Cucumber, Smoked Salmon with fresh dill and red onions, and Homemade Hummus on Pita Bread. They were all delicious and somewhat unique - even the cucumber sandwich had a sprinkle of spice which enhanced the flavor of the cucumbers. Being that W Cafe is a Mediterranean restaurant, it's no surprise that the homemade hummus on pita bread was one of our favorites. The smoked salmon with fresh dill and capers was also outstanding and worth mentioning. However, being that W Cafe is a Mediterranean restaurant it's no surprise that the homemade hummus on pita bread was one of our favorites. The smoked salmon with fresh dill and capers was also outstanding and worth mentioning.
We moved onto the scones and petite sweets which came in quite the assortment. The scones came in blueberry, cranberry and cinnamon apple (my personal fav!) and of course, came with a tray of your typical yummy spreads like lemon curd, jam and cream cheese.
Other sweets included light sponge cakes, pastries and fruit tarts. Delicious and more than we could eat after devouring the salad, scones and sandwiches. If you think afternoon tea at W Cafe is going to leave you hungry you're in for a bit of a surprise as we weren't even able to finish all of it and ended up taking the majority of our sweets to-go.
To top off the tea and cleanse your palate in between the sweet and the savory there is a fabulous assortment of fresh fruit including strawberries, pineapple, grapes and lots more - some even drizzled with chocolate. It was a nice touch to be able to incorporate a little healthy fruit with our tea items.
All in all, I was very impressed with the afternoon tea at W Cafe - the service was very attentive, it's a lovely space and the tea service left you not wanting much in terms of tea selection, presentation and quality. If you're a tea fan like me then I highly suggest you put W Cafe on your tea bucket list!
The W Cafe is located at :
1703 WESTCLIFF DRIVE
NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92660
It's in the same center as Gratitude and Haute Cakes with plenty of parking in the back and side of the center, which is unique for this area where parking can be a challenge. Also, because they have to prepare the specialty items for afternoon tea, you do have to pay when you make your reservation for afternoon tea. You can do this on the website.
Note: W Cafe recently expanded to Irvine as a fast-casual concept in the Hoag Health Center/Urgent Care complex, located across Sand Canyon from Hoag Hospital Irvine and near Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center. While they do have a full breakfast and lunch menu at this location they do not serve afternoon tea at the Irvine location. It is ONLY available at the Newport Beach location.