Since my move back to my hometown in Connecticut, I have been looking for fun and interesting places to dine and write about. One of the first that was suggested to me was M-Bellish Tea Room in Milford. This small establishment is easy to find–right over the Devon bridge coming from Stratford. I would recommend a trip to M-Bellish, just for some of the tea.
The good at M-Bellish are primarily the tea and the hospitality. The greeting that I received when I entered was warm and bubbly–the woman who seemed to be running the tea room was active and present in the shop. I was very impressed by her. The tea was fantastic–I ordered the Wu Yi Oolong and took a deep breath as I took my first sip and enjoyed the dry, earthy flavors.
The most disappointing part of the experience at M-Bellish was the service. At the time I went, my sister and I were the only two people in the restaurant. It took the ONLY server about 10 minutes to come back to us for our tea order (everything else was pre-set, as we had ordered the Light Tea). It was another 15 minutes before our tea was brought to us, and then about another 15 before we saw any sign of food. By the time my sister and I were finished, it had been over an hour and a half simply to have tea and a light meal. I understand the atmosphere of relaxation, but this felt more like incompetence that purposeful time in between orders.
The food was decent, but not decent enough to make me come back for another $30 light tea. Next time, I might order a simple sandwich off of their to-go menu, or perhaps a salad. I was surprisingly pleased by the mandarin orange and cream cheese sandwich with walnuts on cinnamon-raisin bread was possibly the highlight of the meal, which included cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, and a particularly disappointing dry turkey with a bit of mustard sandwich. I appreciate white bread, and I love store-bought loaves, a starch I subsisted on during my college days when money was tight and a jar of peanut butter was the only spread on hand. I am, by no means, a bread snob. The ingredients of these sandwiches were fantastically fresh and perfectly proportioned, but the bread was clearly not fresh. This ruined the sandwiches, which in my mind, could have been saved with a good fresh slice of Wonderbread (baring the turkey sandwich, which was beyond repair).
The menu advertises the next course as a warm scone with clotted cream and preserves. The latter two, yes. Warm scone, no. Because I was tasting the scone after the sandwiches, I made sure that I was not making any unfair assumptions, and tested the temperature of the scones when they first came out. They were cold when they arrived at my table. However, the scones were fresher than the bread, however, and so I was pleased. The petit fours were mediocre. The strawberry tart was delicious if you took the strawberry off of the tart and ate it straight with the mint leaf–otherwise the custard was simply too overwhelming. The white chocolate strawberry petit four was very sugary, and the chocolate covered mini-cake had an overwhelming amount of almond taste to it. The meal, in my opinion, was not worth the $30 a person.
Again, the hospitality and tea will bring me back to M-Bellish, but I won’t be eating there again. As we were leaving, the hostess gave my sister and I both roses, and we purchased some tea, and because they didn’t have the tea that I had wanted, the hostess generously gave me a sample of a deep, earthy, amber-colored tea called Kali Cha, which I sampled the next morning with my peanut butter sandwich on fresh, whole wheat bread. Pepperidge Farm. Delicious.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at M-Bellish Tea Room. However for an establishment named for an element of detail, they need to pay a bit more attention, and honor that name, in both the food and the service.