Cheap Eats: Tipple and Rose Tea Parlor and Apothecary

Loose leaf teas and light bites at the new Virginia-Highland tea house

Wednesday September 9, 2015 04:00 am EDT

Teahouses are few and far between in Atlanta. For those living in town, Tipple + Rose Tea Parlor and Apothecary is a Goldilocks-like find. Nestled away in the former Key Lime Pie salon space in Virginia-Highland, the shop blends approachable urban vibe with vintage coziness. The Tipple + Rose experience is a world away from the St. Regis' über formal tea service and is much more convenient than Woodstock's quaint Tea Leaves and Thyme yet more serene than quirky Candler Park's Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party. Opened a month ago by Urban Cannibals owners Doria Roberts and Calavino Donati, Tipple + Rose is an easygoing, everyday getaway.

VINTAGE RECLAIMED: Inside Tipple + Rose, wooden floors and exposed brick walls set the vintage tone. Rescued and up-cycled pieces such as chairs reupholstered in posh fabrics and a giant antique scale fill the space. Vintage cameras peer down from shelves chock full of local products for sale: spices, stoneware mugs, soaps, pickles, bitters, and syrups. The lovely tearoom is also an apothecary, hence the bathtub full of locally-made bath and body products for sale.

ELEVENSES: Chef Calavino's treats range from light bites to salads and sandwiches. A crumbly green apple and cheddar scone ($2.99) is cake-like with delicate savory and sweet flavors. The vegan-friendly fruit salad ($6.99) is a jumble of peaches, apple, tart sundried cherries, toasted almonds, and cashew cheese served on a bed of mixed greens dressed with Matcha lemon vinaigrette. There are many wrap and sandwich options. The scene-stealer here is made with tea-brined duck ($9.99), which is roasted and pulled in-house, sundried cherries, and buttery toasted pecans tossed in a light Dijon aioli all on a flaky croissant.

HAVE A CUPPA: A five-page tea menu explains the characteristics of each varietal. If that is not enough information, Roberts built a wooden sniffing bar which holds boxes filled with all 84 teas. Smelling the many teas is like taking a virtual aroma voyage around the world. Roberts has an infectious enthusiasm about teas. She is even studying to be a tea sommelier. Don't hesitate to ask questions about your personal or shared pot for two. Like your tea effervescent and fermented? Locally brewed Golda Kombucha is on tap. The lavender lemonade accentuated with a sprig of fresh thyme is zingy and invigorating. Try a cup alongside the arugula, cherry tomato, and goat cheese frittata ($7.99).

TEA AND CRUMPETS: Tipple + Rose offers high tea daily for $25 a person with advance reservations. The three-course experience includes a pot of tea and comes in one of three styles: Southern, traditional, or vegan. Tiered cake stands hold layers of dainty, crustless sandwiches, sweet and savory scones, and a topping of fruit and pastries. It's hard to choose between the fresh cucumber, housemade Boursin, and arugula triangles on the traditional menu or Calavino's crave-worthy pimento cheese on the Southern menu. Accoutrements with tiny silver spoons include bacon jam, marmalade, and clotted cream — think silky whipped cream meets butter. Bartering may happen within your group to decide who gets the last lemon curd cream tartlet.

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