by erin thursby
Situated near the center of the 5 Points strip, Cozy Tea will remind you more of Avondale than it will funky 5 Points. Maybe it’s just a marker of how the neighborhood is changing.
An eclectic English tea room, Cozy Tea serves up more than just tea. It’s starting to become an alternative lunch spot. The pacing can be slow, which is the complaint I’ve heard most often from the work-a-day crowd that only has so long for lunch. The owner brought up that problem before I did when I was talking to her, and mentioned that they’ve got a better handle on it. The atmosphere and enjoyment of a tea room is not generally fast paced, so they suggest you mention you’re on the clock, that way they can speed things up a bit.
I don’t object to the pace myself, after all, a tea room is supposed to be a bit of a throw-back to a bygone era. But it’s understandable that they’d have to make adjustments.
But I am digressing from my main point: the food. The scones are the best I’ve had in Jacksonville. They triggered a flood of memories taking me back to a breakfast I had in England when I was no more than six years old. Cozy Tea’s scones are crumbly but not dry, served with rich, fresh and sweetened cream, along with a lovely cherry preserve made in-house.
The item people are sure to come back for at lunch is the chicken curry pastry. It’s a flakey French-style pastry topped with toasted sesame seeds and stuffed with a yellow curry and chicken mixture. I’d call it medium hot, mitigated by the bread around it.
Other popular items for lunch include their quiche and their salads. When I’m there next for lunch I may order the tarragon egg salad tea sandwich or the smoked turkey organic greens and bleu cheese chutney tea sandwich.
They also serve afternoon tea. I love this because I hardly ever eat a mid-day meal until after the lunch rush, when many places close in that lull before dinner. Cozy Tea is good option for food after lunch hour but before dinner. You can choose from full afternoon tea, a light afternoon tea, an even lighter cream tea or a tea with one of their chocolates as a snack. Full afternoon tea is quite a lovely affair. It includes tea, a scone plate with fruit, quiche, soup, salad and a dessert plate for $17.95. The less involved and cheaper versions would be good if you’re not looking for a long meal. The cream tea is a nice, lighter lunch at $7.50. It includes two scones, fresh fruit, whipped cream and jam.
There is a split plate charge of $3.50 per plate, something you might want to be aware of if you’re trading bites. There’s also a split teapot charge at $1.50 for every additional cup requested. The teapot charge isn’t unreasonable because the teapots are a decent size.
There are a dizzying array of teas, which can take a while to pour over. They offer so many different types of teas that you might want to commit yourself to a category (ie. fruit teas or white tea) and then make your decision from there.
Don’t forget dessert, and you can always order some of their gourmet chocolate truffles to go. Either order them out of the case out front or you can have a few pieces with your tea.
Shika, the owner/cook/proprietor, is of Indian heritage and she does some amazing things. If you’re lucky you might get the chance to sign up for their first Friday of the month Indian dinners. These dinners are much in demand and get booked quickly.
Next time I need to buy a gift, I might well be seeking out Cozy Tea. If you know a friend who loves tea, they have all sorts of specialty tea knick knacks you can buy, like cups that are made to hold tea bags and drain them. The tea pots themselves are worth a look since they’re reasonably priced.
If you have the time to do high tea after lunch, or you have a long meeting that could be spiced up with a touch of curry over doilies and tea pots, take it to Cozy Tea.
by erin thursby