The new location of the Steeping Room on North Lamar opened on Monday. Steeping Room is one of my favorite brunch locations in Austin. I’m thrilled to have a location closer and, well, less associated with the Domain. Unfortunately, the Steeping Room is easing into its new location, which means no brunch for now. They want to get everything running well before they start serving the most important meal of the week.
I took this as a sign that I needed to branch out and try nonbrunch meals. I went in for afternoon tea on Tuesday after a doctor’s appointment. The rainy weather and the gloom of doctor’s office seemed to cry out for a hot cup of tea and a scone. So I obliged.
The atmosphere at the new location is a bit less cosy and a bit more strip mall. But there’s an upside to “less cozy.” The tables at the Domain location are so crammed together, meals often feel communal. At the central location, you can have a juicy gossip with your fellow diners without including the strangers on your right and left.
The tea pots at the Central location are metal, which isn’t quite as charming as the ceramic pots at the Domain. However, they seem to hold much more tea. I was drowning in Monaco Premium well before the tea pot was anywhere near empty. I asked for almond milk with my tea, though soy is also available. The scone, as always, was wonderful. Some baked goods aren’t yet available at the new location, but the vegan scones were effected.
I enjoyed my afternoon tea so much that I came back for dinner with my husband. We split a pot of herbal tea between us. My husband got the vegan soup of the day and a (nonvegan) scone, a great deal at $5.75. I had a tofu and tempeh bacon sandwich and cashew Caesar salad. The dressing on the salad was nicely tangy and it came with, wonder of wonders, croutons. Vegan croutons are so rarely available, this was a real treat. The tofu in the sandwich was the Asian-style marinated tofu they use in their tofu scramble. I was expecting something a bit more like a tofu club sandwich, so the Asian flavors of the tofu and the basil vegenaise took some getting used to, but eventually I warmed up to it. Midnight found me polishing off the leftovers in front of the fridge. (The sandwich usually comes with arugula, but they were out that day.)
The restaurant was a bit empty both times, so even though they’re still working out a few details with missing ingredients and baked goods, now is a good time to visit.
My friend Megan at Henry and Zelda really loves the Steeping Room, too. Check out her posts about it here.