Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party

By our calculations, this was our ninth year in a row to celebrate tea together for Valentine's. And this year when my husband had asked where I wanted to go, I quickly said "Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party in Atlanta," and we decided to go on Valentine's Day itself.

When we got there early we had a little time to kill, and I took a few photos of signage. I asked Alex if he thought most readers of this blog would know who Dr. Bombay was. I was stunned to learn that *he* didn't know, so I decided I'd better share that info here: Back when the comedy "Bewitched" starring Elizabeth Montgomery was on TV in the sixties, Dr. Bombay was an eccentric, fictional warlock who occasionally was called upon to help the family. He was usually summoned with a cry of "Calling Dr. Bombay, Calling Dr. Bombay, come right away!" So, to name a tea place after Dr. Bombay struck me as quite unusual and something I wanted to explore, more out of curiosity than anything else. The fact they refer to their "Afternoon Tea" as "High Tea" told me this was not going to be a traditional tea room, and the food had gotten mixed reviews online. The shop was located in character-rich Candler Park, and since both Alex and I like to people watch, I knew whatever sort of teatime they offered, we would enjoy. And we did—sort of!

We were greeted by a friendly, jeans-and-ballcap-clad fellow with a British accent who welcomed us, pointed us to our booth, and took our order for tea. We decided on a pot of Darjeeling, and shortly it arrived. My teacup was Bohemian—sort of like the place itself, I thought! The tea tasted fine, but the leaves were in a large teabag, left in the pot, so I ended up using my teacup's saucer when I removed the bag after the tea had brewed to proper strength.

Then came the "High Tea" tea tray, which I knew from the menu online wouldn't be quite the variety to which we were accustomed, but that was fine because I knew what we were getting.

The two sandwiches we each got weren't in tea-sandwich shapes like I'm used to seeing, but the bread was fresh and the pimiento cheese and egg salad were actually pretty tasty. That was good because we had both skipped lunch and were starving!

Next, we tried the gigantic chocolate-chip scones. My husband went first. "Umm ... hmm ... kind of dense," he said. I found mine too crumbly and after a few bites, moved on to the sweets.

I must confess I was disappointed that what tasted like cake-mix cupcakes and a brownie bite were so hard and tasted old. Their sweets I saw online looked delicious and fresh! Perhaps they were having an off-day?

Like the college students we saw hunched over their laptops, Alex said he would go back to Dr. Bombay's for a cup of coffee if he is ever in the neighborhood again. For now I've checked this one off my "Bucket List" of tea rooms to visit, but I would be willing to go back one day if I hear the tea service and food have improved. I like eclectic. I like edgy. I especially liked seeing the neighborhood characters that wandered through, one of the main reasons I wanted to visit! I saw lots of potential here, and the world certainly needs more good tea places, including some that aren't frou-frou in nature so they will attract a younger generation of tea lovers. So while the eclectic tea place with the funny name didn't quite meet my expectations, I still very much enjoyed experiencing it with my sweetheart. Still a bit hungry, we wandered down the street to share a delicious turkey burger from the Flying Biscuit Café and headed home happy as clams, another memorable Valentine's Tea behind us.


  1. Well Angela, quite an adventure for your VD tea. My husband knew right away who Doctor Bombay was, I didn't. (he played a butler on an episode of Andy Griffith) I would have been disappointed to see undainty fare and stale to boot as well!
    We tried another tea house in Florida called Tastefully British yesterday. Food was good but I won't be blogging about it, disappointment there too. On-line the place looked fabulous, but then pictures can always make a place look like something it isn't.
    Glad your day ended happily.

  2. The pimento cheese sandwich sounds good ... I have a fascination with pimento cheese right now. I don't know why. LOL! I so agree with you that the world needs more good tea houses ... we have so few here in Huntsville! :)

  3. How funny Angela !!!!
    I loved the review and your outing sounded like a FUN Valentine's get away.

  4. Hello Angela,
    You are a brave girl to head off to a iffy place for Valentine's Day! But I like your spirit! "Give it a good go and then you'll know!" is my motto.
    I loved Bewitched! I had the Samantha doll too. I do remember Dr. Bombay very well, but he did not pop into my head when I saw the name of the tea shop.
    Too bad about the food though. The idea is good, and having a British server helps too! Maybe then will get a clue and improve their fare?
    Thanks so much for sharing about it.

  5. I didn't remember Dr. Bombay until you mentioned Bewitched and then a picture of him popped into my mind. Thanks for the memories! Too bad about the sweets, but I'm glad the sandwiches were good at least.

  6. I always say at tea room and the menu reflect the personality of the owner/manager. This one sounds like an example of that. I have experienced many different tea rooms and have learned from each one. Some I have returned to and some I have not and will not. The name of Dr. Bombay's probably gave you a good clue it would not be a fancy tea. But hey! You had fun and spent the day with your sweetheart. You can't ask for anything better than that!

  7. Love the name of the tea house. Sorry it was hit and miss, but at least you had a good time.

  8. Hey Angela, this looks like a Tea Room to try! I enjoyed your review, (maybe it was 'off' because of Valentine Day crowds?) Your photos (as usual) were Great! And the 'Bewitched' reference really made me smile as it brought back childhood memories...Congratulations on your Nine Year 'Tea' Anniversary, how wonderful! Have a great Valentine Week, Joanie

  9. Perhaps you should have twitched your nose like Samantha and made better tea and treats appear, Angela. I say every experience has a bright spot and having your sweetheart at your side was surely the best part of your day! Call it the Valentine Tea Adventure.

  10. Happy belated Valentine's Day! Thanks for the interesting review... and the reminder about who Dr. Bombay was. (It's been awhile since I've seen Bewitched!)Sounds like another memorable tea experience.


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