Whistling Kettle concentrates on tea, light fare

A rainy autumn afternoon is the perfect time for tea. That’s what dining companion Lisa and I though
Ham and roasted pepper quiche is served with kettle chips at The Whistling Kettle.
Ham and roasted pepper quiche is served with kettle chips at The Whistling Kettle.

TROY — A rainy autumn afternoon is the perfect time for tea. That’s what dining companion Lisa and I thought as we headed down Broadway in Troy to the Whistling Kettle.

It’s in a refined, generous space that has been occupied by several restaurants, some longstanding. There are tables and booths on both sides of the cavernous main room, separated by the hostess station and retail area.

If you’re lucky, you can get a seat right in one of the wall-sized front windows, and if the weather is good you can sit at a table on the sidewalk. A private room has been opened, almost doubling the space.

Most of the menu is given over to tea, more than 130 kinds, not including seasonal varieties. As for the food, choose from such light fare as panini and club sandwiches, sweet and savory crepes, soups and salads, and of course, tea sandwiches, including smoked salmon and cucumber, and curry chicken ($9). Almost everything comes with a side of kettle chips; add $3 to swap for soup or salad. Meal-type items hover around $10, scones are $4.

There is a quiche of the day, several kinds of featured hot and cold teas, and soup specials. Lisa chose seasonal baked green apple tea, and in a very short time a piping hot ceramic pot appeared. “It’s got a green tinge,” said Lisa, pouring the golden tea into cups that looked somewhere between a mug and a teacup. It smelled like fall, we thought, and Lisa said it was like cider without the sweetness.

The Whistling Kettle Tea Shop & Cafe

WHERE: 254 Broadway, Troy, 874-1938, www.thewhistlingkettle.com

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

HOW MUCH: $39.86 with tax and tip

MORE INFO: Credit cards: Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover. Wheelchair accessible. Children’s menu and gluten-free menu available.

Lisa had ordered the build-your-own afternoon tea ($16), which lets you choose one savory — a sandwich or crepe, a soup or salad — and a sweet — cake or scones. The courses came out at once on a three-tiered iron serving tray, with space for plates. The tray has a small footprint, leaving plenty of room for cups and pots. All of our food came out at one time.

I ordered the quiche of the day ($10), an adorable small, whole pie in a flaky, tidy crust that gets points for being thin. The flavor of the day was smoked diced ham and roasted red pepper. All of the components were delicious, the eggy part just right. I wished the kettle chips had a bit more salt but I finished them anyway.

Lisa started with the middle tier, a cup of creamy spinach and feta soup with mushrooms and potatoes. The feta melted nicely without making it salty at all, she said, and declared it “very delicious.”

Her turkey, brie and cranberry crepe (normally $10, accompanied by chips) looked like a package wrapped in thick brown paper, bulging a bit in the middle with intriguing brown spots from the pan. Until you open it you have no idea what’s tucked inside.

In this case it was deli-style turkey, and lots of it, melty brie cheese, cranberry chutney and slivered toasted nuts. Lisa was expecting more cheese, which might have brought the whole thing together, but she said it was good and that the cranberry chutney tasted homemade.

Last was the pumpkin scone. It was sweeter and cakier than other scones I’ve had, and heavily spiced with nutmeg and cloves. Scones come with cream and jam, and I thought the rich thick cream had the taste and consistency of cheesecake batter, not a bad thing.

Watch for seeds in the jam; I buy seedless myself. Taken together, the scone and cream and jam had a lot of flavors, a bit confusing to the palate but highly satisfactory.

Our server performed admirably, she was just friendly enough, cheerful and confident in her knowledge of tea.

The tab for our pleasant afternoon tea, with tax and tip came to $39.86. Upon further thought, any time is a good time for tea.

Categories: Food

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