Tin Tulip Tea Room: A Pleasant Surprise for Lunch

Located inside the Cooper Street Antique Mall is the Tin Tulip Tea Room—a hidden gem in south Arlington with delicious food and an unbeatable ambiance.

I tried something different for lunch today. I visited the Tin Tulip Tea Room, located inside the Cooper Street Antique Mall and about a mile from where I live. With an hour to closing time on a Thursday afternoon, there were only a few diners, although I overheard the waitress say it’s much busier on the weekends. This quaint tea room is in the back corner of the antique mall. It’s semi-partitioned from the mall, offering people-watching amid the ambiance of antiques.

(Sign and entrance to the Tin Tulip)

You can probably imagine from the name that they’re not serving steak and potatoes. They have a small selection of sandwiches, salads, a few entrees, and desserts. They also offer the Tin Tulip High Tea if you need to get fancy, which includes a pot of tea, an assortment of tea sandwiches, scones, and poppy seed bread.

Since it was my first time, I opted for “The Tin Tulip Collection” Sampler. It consisted of a quiche, a Chicken Waldorf Salad, a fruit cup, a cup of soup, and a muffin for dessert. I also ordered a pot of hot tea—it’s probably best to share this with others, but I put a decent dent in it.

(Kipling’s Brew pot of tea and “The Tin Tulip Collection” Sampler)

This was my first time having quiche and Waldorf Salad. The quiche had a light, flaky crust with ham, bacon, eggs, and cheese. They served the Chicken Waldorf Salad on a bed of lettuce with wheat crackers. Like most versions, it consisted of chicken salad, apples, grapes, and pecans. I was surprised at these—both were very tasty!

The fruit cup had fresh strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew, blueberries, and blackberries. It had a thin strawberry or raspberry-based dipping sauce that was tasty enough to drink by itself. (Not that I did that, no. At least, not more than once or twice when no one was looking. One must have couth and manners while at a tea room and not drink the dipping sauce like a commoner.)

There were two options for the soup of the day. I chose the creamy mushroom soup. It was thick, hearty, creamy, and well-seasoned. I could have made a meal on a bowl of soup!

The pièce de résistance was the pot of tea. Served in an antique ceramic teapot, each one they use is unique. Mine was a canary yellow with a white top; another table had a teapot with a checkered pattern. This thing was heavy! What a fun element to the meal. I ordered the “Kipling’s Brew,” named after English writer Rudyard Kipling. Their menu described it as “a classic full-bodied English breakfast tea.” It certainly was, and hearty and quite filling in its own right. I indulged by adding cream and sugar—what a treat. Of course, what’s a pot of tea without tea cups, saucers, and doilies? When in Rome, as they say. Other pot of tea options included an Earl Grey and a few that were more fruity or floral. At only $2.95 per pot, it’s a bargain. For dessert, the sampler included a cranberry muffin.

While I expected this to be a light, delicate snack, it was a full meal. I barely ate anything for the rest of the day. This was classic comfort food that far exceeded my expectations. My only regret was that I only had an hour for lunch. It’s a lot of food to eat quickly, especially wanting to enjoy a pot of tea. (They have smaller plates than the sampler, though, and other beverages than a pot of tea.) Plus, one should wander the antique mall after eating as a dessert or even before as an appetizer. A tea room is well-suited for a long, leisurely lunch with a companion or small group. I wasn’t the only solo diner, though. It’s also a nice place to have a quiet lunch by yourself, and it was.

My bill was $13.50, certainly decent for the food quality and atmosphere. Tin Tulip Tea Room offers a unique dining experience in south Arlington. It’s something of a hidden gem and highly recommended. I’ll be back! I’m probably not the usual demographic for a place like this, which made it even more of a surprise and added to how much I enjoyed it. It’s worth the risk to go against the grain and try something different.

(Menu at the Tin Tulip Tea Room)

Tin Tulip Tea Room
(inside the Cooper Street Antique Mall)
4905 S. Cooper Street – Arlington, Texas

Blog post and photos by Jason S. Sullivan, 01-19-23

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