Introduce your kids to the joys of finger sandwiches and scones at the new Lovejoy’s Tearoom of Portland — just in time for Mother’s Day.
Little sandwiches, warm scones, dainty desserts, beautiful cups — all the small touches elevate high tea from a plain, old meal. It’s something I’ve appreciated for a long time. So when I heard about Lovejoy’s Tearoom of Portland opening up, I knew my family would have to try it out, including my son, Cruz, 4, who had never experienced a tea service before.
Lovejoy’s Tearoom of Portland is like a fussy English grandmother’s living room landed on NE Killingsworth, but in a good way. Lace curtains, spindly mismatched chairs, doilies on the tables, and dainty, fragile tea cups all give the space a slightly kitschy charm. We had dressed up for tea, as had many other patrons who donned hats, fancy dresses and even gloves.
We made a reservation for noon the day before we planned to go. Pro tip: When I made the reservation, there were same-day spot available as well, so don’t panic if you want to reserve last-minute. (Unless you’re planning a Mother’s Day trip, then book ASAP!) My husband grumbled a little at the thought of going for lunch, convinced he’d never be filled up with finger sandwiches.
He needn’t have worried. The menu gives several options, from light snacks to a multi-tiered spread guaranteed to fill up someone who had been working in the garden all morning. My husband and I each chose the hearty Queen’s Tea, which came with two sandwiches of our choice, cabbage salad in a punchy caraway dressing, spring greens, a scone with preserves and Devon cream, a crumpet with lemon curd, fruit, a petit four and a shortbread biscuit, $29.95 per person. I tried the cucumber and cream cheese, and turkey chutney sandwiches, while my husband went for the salmon and cream cheese, and pickle chutney and cheese. We delighted in eating our way through the layers, and found ourselves quite full when the plate of petit four arrived.
The extensive loose tea list varies from black to green to decaf to herbal choices. I choose the strong black afternoon darjeeling and the kids loved the decaffeinated chocolate truffle tea with sugar and cream.
We ordered each kid a Wee Tea, which included a cream cheese and jelly sandwich (or any sandwich from the list), a scone with preserves, fruit, a lollipop, and a petit four, $18.95 each. Adela complained about not liking any of the sandwich options, but we ordered her the jelly and cream cheese anyway. She loved it once she tried it. Cruz, having just eaten numerous stalks of roasted asparagus the night before, asked for the chicken and asparagus sandwich. But the canned asparagus on the sandwich creeped him out. (He did eat some of the sandwich after I scraped off the offending green stuff.) Both kids especially loved the warm scones, slathering them with cream and preserves. And they devoured the ample portions of pineapple, strawberries, honeydew and blackberries.
I had made the mistake of not laying out clear expectations for Cruz before we got to the tearoom. He’s usually on his best behavior when we go out to eat, but the minute we were seated he started playing with the fragile plates and cup. I hissed at him to please leave the plates alone. But what really saved our trip was the fact that our tea and food came out so quickly. He was just fine once he had a buttery scone to eat, saying, “I call this place Scones and Tea!” So everyone was won over by Lovejoy’s Tearoom of Portland — from hungry husband to antsy 4-year-old.
3286 NE Killingsworth St. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am- 6 pm. Reservations recommended. 503-567-7888. Lovejoysportland.com.