Small stone tables are surrounded by oversized art emulating stained glass on textured, autumn-colored walls. Himalayan salt candles cast a warm glow on the tin ceilings.
The royal Welsh rarebit ($9.50 at lunch with homemade bacon) was more inconsistent, with the cheddar, Havarti and Boursin cheeses not yet completely blended and the toast beneath them a touch dry. But the accompanying lapsang souchong tea-cured bacon offered a deep, rich flavor.
The English teaser ($2.95 at lunch) — three homemade scones served with a choice of two spreads — was a highlight. We chose the honey and lavender cream and the ethereal lemon curd — a creamy-smooth sauce, balanced between sweet and tangy. The scones were warm and dense, the perfect accompaniment to any of the 140-plus teas available.
The tea menu includes black, pu-erh, oolong, green, white, herbal and roobios teas, which are served hot or iced tableside (most $2.95 to $3.50). The Yorkshire Harrogate was brought to the table still steeping, with a timer indicating when it was ready to be iced. It was refreshing and flavorful — much like the experience of dining at The Monastery.
The Monastery Restaurant/Tea Sanctuary, 1844 W. 25th St., Cleveland, (216) 575-1832, Tue-Wed 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Thu-Sat 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Major credit cards accepted, wheelchair accessible.