I usually don't head towards the tourist traps in town and I have prided myself on steering clear of Fisherman's Wharf whenever possible (except for the occasional Buena Vista Irish Coffee). But with the discovery of Crown and Crumpet in Gharadelli Square, I may have to put up with the tourists for the occasional high tea.
Decidedly pink in its décor, Crown and Crumpet is not your typical frou-frou tea house. There are no Victorian lace doilies or too precious white tablecloths. I will grant an excess of chintz, but the atmosphere is fun and bright and inviting.
Lisa and I were charmed by the fact that along with the classic tea offerings, this establishment boasts an alcohol license, enabling them to serve sparkling wines as well as ports, Madeiras, and sherries. We started with splits of rosé Champagne and there was a definite desire to smuggle the deeply-etched Champagne flutes out in our purses.
Despite the inviting selection of savories on the menu (sausage rolls, welsh rarebit), we opted for the Tea for Two, enabling us to sample a larger selection of treats. Six different tea sandwiches included an open-face salmon, egg salad, potted shrimp, sundried tomato with goat cheese, cucumber, and herbed cheese. We both commented on the high quality of the bread and the ingredients in the sandwiches. Lisa has dined at more tea shops in San Francisco than I have and this was some of the best she had ever had. The tea selection was several pages long with white tea, green teas, fruit teas, and more. We decided on an Assam and the Crown and Crumpet house-blend. The pots were large and we easily could have happily shared a single pot.
Served with butter, jam, clotted cream, and lemon curd were freshly-baked and still-warm scones and crumpets. I don't ever remember an American tea shop offering fresh crumpets before and these were gobbled up immediately. Four scones were served; two with currants and two plain. About silver-dollar sized, at this point in our dining, we were getting full and we hadn't even gotten to our sweets.
In the center of the sweets plate was a bowl of fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries). Surrounding the fruit were miniature cupcakes, brownie bites, lemon curd and blueberry tartlets, almond cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. Quite honestly, with the two ample pots of tea, most of the sweets and two of the scones were packed up and taken home with us.
Attached to the tea room is a shop laden with enticing tschotskes; books, edible treats, jewelry, and whatnot. In the back of the shop is a sitting area complete with digital fireplace, inviting for intimate parties. This was not quite the hoity-toity Neiman Marcus under the Rotunda which would demand the wearing of an Armani suit, but at $21 a person for that dual tea service, Crown and Crumpet is more affordable, relaxed, and inviting.
I'll be back.
Crown & Crumpet
900 North Point Street, San Francisco, CA