Where: Savannah, Georgia Style: 1920s apothecary cum tearoom Tea Selection: 10 loose leaf teas by Harney & Sons, 5 specialty drinks Teatimes: Monday to Saturday 11 to 6; Sunday 11 to 3 Reservations: 24-hour notice required for 11 to 4 seatings Monday through Saturday; otherwise, walk-ins welcome Contact: 912-525-5880 Cost: $20 Afternoon Tea Destination Tea Tip: Invite the fellas to the Gryphon. It’s ideal both for the ambiance (after all, the building was designed by a fraternal organization) and because you can spontaneously order brunch or lunch items along with your afternoon tea, to satisfy the hearty appetite.
Destination Tea Notes: By now, our followers know we adore the romance of taking tea in a historic venue, but we say the Gryphon’s afternoon tea menu merits our praise independent of its architecture and interior design. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) runs the Gryphon, weaving past and future together by employing SCAD students to design, cook, bake and serve in this historic space. Our young waiter proudly answers our questions about the building. We learn Freemasons originally designed it as a Masonic temple (ballrooms still remain on upper floors), whose construction was completed in 1923 and deeded to Scottish Rite, at which time the Solomon brothers opened an apothecary on the ground floor, which finally in 1998, was converted to a tearoom. The afternoon tea here focuses on doing the traditional elements well, from quality teas to freshly baked and prepared scones, tea sandwiches and pastries. On a return visit, several of our reviewers express how amazing it is to discover a beautiful afternoon tea experience that costs only $20 per person. And at both of our visits, there are definite gasps as our server presents the dessert course. Finding that the Gryphon’s pastries are as delicious as they look, we dub them the star of the Gryphon’s afternoon tea.
Eclectic decorating choices, combining vintage lighting fixture, gorgeous stained glass, and patterned multi-colored fabric wallpaper — designed by a SCAD student.
On our first visit, our booth table was once the site of a 1923 apothecary ice cream parlor counter.
On our return visit, gorgeous bouquets of violet, fuschia and white in brass mint julep cups as centerpieces
Did a SCAD student design and make our napkin rings? We think so! We are each invited to choose a tea and happily deduce that these are Harney & Sons flavors.
We choose one pot of Caribe and one of English Breakfast.
Generous pitchers of honey for sweetener
Our third tea is individually served – Indian Spice Chai
Enamored of our fresh floral bouquet, and examining the choice of specialty drinks, available to substitute for a pot of tea.
For our larger party on the return visit, we chose four teas which our servers kept on the bar, keeping our cups filled and allowing us to try some of each tea throughout the meal.
We recommend the Ooh La Lacoste, so yummy: Harney & Sons Earl Grey Tea with lavender, vanilla and steamed milk (aka London Fog Latte).
Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets
On our first visit, our two growing tween reviewers elect to add a spinach-mushroom crepe with side salad to our afternoon tea, giving us an opportunity to explore the brunch menu and determine that freshness and scrumptiousness are universal qualities of the Gryphon kitchen.
Afternoon tea curate arrives.
Cucumber and chicken salad finger sandwiches
Warm orange blossom scones are served with yummy mock Devonshire cream (we’re told mascarpone factors into it), jam and fruit
On our first visit, French macarons, dark chocolate cups, pecan tart, raspberry tea cakes and apricot windows each divinely blend just the right amount of sweetness, moistness and indulgence.
On our second visit, the savory course is again two delicious finger sandwiches in double portions (Cucumber Cream Cheese on White and Curry Chicken on Pumpernickel), followed by a Black Forest Scone with cream and jam.
On our return visit, six desserts are presented for two to share, which works perfectly for us. We split each in half and go on a fabulous tasting escapade through their homemade Hazelnut Raspberry Tart, Blueberry Lemon Tea Cake, White Chocolate Cheesecake, Blackberry Chocolate Tart, Passionfruit Mousse and Banana Cream Pudding.