| Photos by Megan Parks |
As millions of devoted fans anticipate the sixth and final season of television’s classic British period drama, Downton Abbey, thoughts may turn to afternoon tea. At Downton Abbey castle, Lord and Lady Grantham enjoy their elegant tea service upstairs; Mr. Carson and the servant staff, downstairs. The English established tea as part of their culture beginning in 1840 by selecting the proper time of day, as well as types of tea and delicious food to accompany it. Whatever one’s station in life, tea has been a comfort drink for generations.
At The Ashton Hotel, “the jewel on Main Street, a historical gem” located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, the Afternoon Tea has been a cherished tradition since the inception and opening of the hotel. And, like Downton Abbey, The Ashton has a rich history. The charming 39-room boutique hotel is a marriage of two historic buildings. The six-story building, originally The Fort Worth Club, was built in 1915. It is the only Fort Worth building of Italianate style, which includes cast stone and wrought-iron balconies. The two-story Winfree Building was built in 1890 as a law office, later to be occupied by The White Elephant Saloon from 1896 to 1907. The two buildings were attached in 1937. The Ashton is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Tea Room is quaint and intimate with a soothing and relaxing ambiance. Each party has their own reserved table with light classical music playing in the background. Tables are appointed with linen tablecloths and napkins, and each guest is served with fine bone china from England throughout each of the four courses.
The menu selections are nothing short of decadent, beginning with a flute of fine champagne. Depending on the season, the first course might feature butternut squash bisque with crushed pistachio or roasted chestnut soup with sweet potato ribbons. Second- course choices include chicken salad with berry conserve or smoked salmon and capered mascarpone to name only two. Buttermilk and cranberry scones and Executive Chef Toby Tindall’s selection of holiday confections are choices from many offerings in the third and fourth courses. Favored treats include freshly baked scones and raspberry and chocolate ganache stuffed shortbread cookies.
Selection of teas include Orange Blossom Oolong, Cherry Sencha, White Pomegranate, Sweet Texas Dreams, Earl Grey Choice, and the two most requested teas on the menu, Coconut Assam and Vanilla Rose.
The younger guests can enjoy Teddy Bear Tea at The Ashton.
Afternoon Tea is offered on Saturdays from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM and costs $36 per person. This includes complimentary valet parking ($15 value), and 20 percent gratuity will be added for parties of six or more. Reservations are required one day in advance.
Seating times for Teddy Bear Tea at The Ashton are Saturday from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM for children under 12, and costs $18 per child. Reservations are required one day in advance.
610 Main Street, Fort Worth. Phone: 817.332.0100. Email: [email protected]