Our 27th Spot:
Sip Tea Room
721 Lincoln Way San Francisco, CA 94122
If this address sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve already been here! (Ay-yay-yay.) And I only realized it, as we were already in the City looking for parking! Ha. I knew we’ve been to a tea house on Lincoln, but I don’t know whyyy I thought maybe there was another one on the same street!? It didn’t dawn on me til the very last minute, that this tea spot could very well be in the exact space as the one we visited on December 2nd, 2014 (Spot 6). Anyhow, it wasn’t a waste of time as this spot had new ownership as of a year ago. VERY different experience from the last time. Meaning = no gray/brown curtains that are supposed to be white. Yuck.
Very minimal décor. We looked all around us to take in the huge differences from what was there before. Yes, of course it was much cleaner. The tables + chairs and chandeliers looked the same. There was a huge chalkboard on the back wall, when you first walk in, that I liked. What I didn’t like was how us standing at the front door was an afterthought.
They finally sat us, and I sneaked a quick pic of the table. The small water glasses lined in the middle of the table were cute. What stuck out like a sore thumb was when they set this old USED jar of honey on the table!!?! I think the Queen would be very displeased. Sure, it was definitely a more casual setting than what would be laid out for the Queen… But that jar belonged in a pizza joint, NOT at afternoon tea. And don’t even GET me started on putting out all kinds of things to flavor your teas… If you have to set out sugar, cream, AND honey- your tea must not be very good. Which it wasn’t. But, more on that later.
They offered 3 levels of tea service (not including the one for children). Funny to see “coleslaw” on a tea menu, but whatever. I didn’t go for the works today, and settled for the middle range. This one didn’t come with the coleslaw and sweets; also, a small pot of tea, as opposed to a large. There were 10 tea sandwich selections and surprisingly a good number of vegetarian options! We were happy to see that. I went for something that was interesting and something I wanted, for my 2 options.
For tea, although there were 17 different kinds, I still felt like it was slim pick’ns. To be fair, there WAS an eclectic selection…different than you would see on other tea menus (like: chai + sencha). There just wasn’t anything that was appealing for my individual liking. I went with the Honeybush…
The tea was okay. It smelled better than it tasted. They bring it to you boiling hot, which is a no-no. Then say, “oh, it has to steep another few minutes”. 😐 Ugh, no. Don’t do that to your customers guys!! You’re leaving it up to US to professionally guess (yes, I meant for that to be an oxymoron), when these teas- YOUR teas, are to be ready?? Bring it to us ready, at the temperature each specific tea should be, and to the desired steeping time that you would like to present it. That made no kind of sense to me. Honestly, it was just something hot to wash down the food I had so as no to choke.
Even tho I know (per etiquette) the scone is 2nd course, I like it first. P.S. We didn’t get our food on cute tiers. Each of us got plates with everything squished on, like you see here. [Find out how I feel about this from Spot 2.] Sooo, I didn’t even know how to take picture of this food…
What was cool about this spot (if I may finally say something positive about them), is you were able to select the scone flavor that was served to you. On that big chalkboard, there are all the scones they offer listed. Then, checkmarks by the ones they have that day. The scone texture was nice: crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. But boy did they lack flavor!! Like- there was nothing there!? I had a Traditional Currant Scone. Even WITH the fixings, it was so uneventful!! And by the way, whatever those “preserves” are supposed to be…it looked like someone swished it in their mouth first then spit it out on the serving dish. (Sorry for the visual, but you know I keep it 100.)
[Here’s my best shot of the food, sorry.]
So- I chose their Baked Ham, English Mustard, & Tarragon Butter (something interesting) tea sandwich, as well as the Sip’s Curried Chicken (something I wanted).
This is how dedicated I am to yall, I haven’t had pork in almost 2 years!! But I looove tarragon, and I don’t generally see a sandwich like this on most tea menus. (sigh) It was just okay. The bites that actually had mustard were nice, and I think they were using that new invisible butter (sense the sarcasm) cuz I didn’t see any in my cuts of tea sandwich… (arms up) The ham was overwhelming, and it wasn’t even good ham.
At least the curry was better than ‘okay’. Woo-hoo, something above average! Smh. It still wasn’t fascinating per se, but it was edible. The raisins made it interesting, and kept you going for more.
Overall, it was a below average experience. The service wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t call them “warm” either. OF COURSE, the girls I took with me made it a tolerable tea time! We had a few first-timers with us, so that was exciting!! So many better places in the City to have tea, and maybe that’s where I’m coming from with this review. I never feel bad for being brutally honest, because that’s what I would want to hear if I’m having to spend money for food. Check out our most recent raTEAng to find our favorites in San Francisco, and go show them some love! I know we have 4 more to add, but we still have a couple spots I’d like to visit before the new year!! I’ll update our full list after. (high-five)
Thank you to our continued followers + readers! We hope these posts help with creating fun + memorable dates, and fill your bellies with mouthwatering tea + food!! Aaand, for not holding my honesty against me! 😀 Until next time…