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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Place to Raise Your Pinkies in Rockridge

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge The Tea Room is a new place in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood that offers afternoon tea. - ALIX WALL
  • Alix Wall
  • The Tea Room is a new place in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood that offers afternoon tea.

While fancy hotels in San Francisco are the places to go for afternoon tea, a new place has just appeared in Rockridge, allowing East Bay-ers to get their fill of scones with clotted cream and pastries: The Tea Room has opened recently on College Avenue.

Customers of the Great Wall restaurant — a place known for Chinese vegetarian dishes made with mock meat — will recognize the Tea Room immediately, as the restaurant has now been split in half (a curtain divides the two, though they each have their own entrance). The Tea Room itself has been given a significant upgrade with fresh paint and new seats.

Alice Wong, who is part of the family that owns the Great Wall, is running the Tea Room. She told SF Weekly that ever since she visited Victoria, British Columbia, and experienced the British tradition of afternoon tea there, it’s been a dream of hers to run a tea room of her own.

Her son Nicholas Luu helped get it up and running, and together, the pair decided upon Harney & Sons tea. The Tea Room offers around 15 different varieties, ranging from black to herbal to green, and bring samples to the table to allow customers to smell them before choosing. Pastries and scones come from San Francisco’s Native Baking Company, with Blue Bottle Coffee for the less tea-inclined. The scone dough arrives raw, so the Tea Room can bake the scones on-site, and the finished product can arrive at the table fresh from the oven. Luu came up with his own version of Devonshire cream — since he didn’t have access to British cows — mixing a bit of mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla into whipped cream.

Of course, there are a variety of sandwiches with the crusts cut off, like ham, brie and apple, curried chicken — which was garnished with toasted almonds and coconut — and the requisite cucumber. Fresh fruit rounds out the experience.

The “EntireTea” at $28 gets you a bottomless pot of tea, two sandwiches, a scone with preserves and cream, four pastries, and fresh fruit, which is quite a lot of food, but a pot of tea can be had with just a pastry or scone as well. We loved the orange-passion fruit tea, which turned such a vibrant pink color, and the pastries we sampled: a strawberry cream puff, a plum crumble, a raspberry cheesecake and a salted caramel brownie.

With so many coffee places in that part of town, and tea houses throughout the East Bay that specialize in everything from Chinese tea to bubble tea, the Tea Room is a welcome addition.

The Tea Room, 6241 College Ave., Oakland, 510-332-1367

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About The Author

Alix Wall

Alix Wall

Alix Wall is an Oakland-based freelance writer and certified natural foods chef. Her web site is


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