The scones are there, with Devonshire cream and house-made jam, but forget the bergamot-flavored Earl Grey, let alone pedestrian orange pekoe. The afternoon tea served from noon to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday in the Lobby Bar at Aria is a blend of just enough tradition to comfort, just enough edge to excite the senses.
What’s in the pot has been given careful consideration with a range of flavor profiles from Art of Tea. Sakura is a delicate white tea, floral and fruity, and created as an homage to Japan’s cherry blossom season. Its opposite extreme is Immortal Nectar, a pu-erh, aged and fermented to produce a very dark color and earthy flavor. In between are Peach Oolong; Moroccan Mint, Jasmine Pearls and Eisai’s Choice Sencha green teas; the lightly sweet Golden Monkey; and, for traditionalists, English Breakfast.
Finger sandwiches are served, made with ham and horseradish. Egg Mimosa is a creamy, chive-flecked creation in a hollow eggshell topped with frisee and adorned with crisp fingers of brioche. Smoked salmon is rolled and served on squid-ink shortbread with trout roe and herbed goat cheese. A many-layered Pompadour Viennois pastry (similar to puff pastry) is flavored with rosemary and sprinkled with salt flakes.
Desserts include shortbread with fresh raspberries and vanilla cream, a green tea opera pastry with gold flecks, a hazelnut financier and a violet-cassis macaron.
Tea service is $45; the Royal Tea Tree, with the addition of an ounce of osetra caviar and glass of Schramsberg sparkling wine, is $140. Other sparkling wine and mimosa drinks — including a refreshing glass of sparkling wine infused with Sakura tea — are available.