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.
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