Russian Tea Experience by Vitaly Paley
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Three Seatings: 12pm, 12:15pm, 2:30pm and 2:45pm
Looking for something unusual to do with the ladies, we decided on Headwaters Russian Tea experience and we were not disappointed. The food was great, open faced finger sandwiches and not too sweet sweets were the perfect accompaniment to the interesting tea selection. Not crowded at all and ambiance was calm. Felt like we were having afternoon tea in someones library. Also got a little culture lesson from our waiter.
The food was excellent, and the service was prompt. The server was knowledgeable about all of the items presented, as well as the listed teas. Overall a very good experience!
Compared to my only other experience (a formal high tea in Dublin), I was expecting a little bit more attentiveness on the part of the server. He seemed a bit rushed to take care of the four occupied tables in the tea room/library (excellent setting for a tea, by the way), which is odd because all he had to do was present the food tiers (once per table), and refill hot water. I was hoping that he would at least pour our first round of tea.
I was also disappointed that they leave the tea leaves in the pot the entire time. The tea was significantly over-steeped by the end of our meal, which could have been fixed with a filter in the pot to remove the leaves (and increased our enjoyment of some very well-curated tea selections).
Again, I have limited experience with tea service, and we did enjoy everything overall, so take my criticism with a grain of salt. These two small things would have made it feel even more special.
It was a great experience but likely a 'one and done' because of the cost. I'm glad we partook in the experience because I learned some things about Russia and also experience new food and teas that I've never tried. I would definitely recommend it to others if it was within their budget.
I brought three guests for what I hoped would be a special experience. We sat for a full 10 minutes before the waiter even visited our table. There were no staff members in the room and the hostess desk was unstaffed. I had to corral a bartender in the restaurant to get someone to serve us. After our order was finally taken we waited and waited. It was 40 minutes after we arrived for our 2:30 reservation when I asked the waiter when the food would come. Shortly thereafter we were finally served food which had obviously been prepared in advance so why it wasn't served earlier was a mystery.
Vitaly Paley once had a single exquisite restaurant. Now he has many sub-par eateries that seem to have been put together by a soulless restaurant consortium. One would think that even lacking quality and charm the businesses would at least be better run. It's a sad fall from grace.
The setting was lovely but most of the food served was not fresh. Pastries were dried out and many of the savory items appeared to have been sitting out for a long while before being served. After bringing out the food, the server was notably absent, never returning to refill tea pots or check in on our experience. Very Disappointing, especially for the price paid!
We had a lovely time. The atmosphere was comfortable and relaxed and the server knowledgeable. The Georgian Caravan tea was perfect with the Russian specialties. Very fun sampling all the savory and sweet small bites. Surprisingly filling by the end as well.
Several years ago I went to a Christmas tea here at the Heathman. The tea was held upstairs in a small room. It was the most glorious tea I ever had. The food was delicious and the tea was grand. My daughter is visiting from back East and will leave today so I thought this Russian High tea would be a good send off. It wasn't. The food was bland and sitting down there in the library very dull. No music and no ambiance whatsoever. For a price of $25.00 per person this would have been fine. But we spent with tip almost $100.00 for two people. Ridiculous. Sorry but no more.
Really delightful experience. I am from out of town and my friend is a Portland local, and neither of us had done this before. The tea options were fantastic and interesting, and the food was delicious. We both tried something out of our comfort zone, enjoyed everything, and would definitely recommend!
The service was excellent. The tea was good, as was the desserts. The savory food bites were okay, but not that exciting. I was most disappointed in how the tea was prepared; just simple white teapots and hot water. The samovars were not incorporated at all. I wish there was slightly more unique elements incorporated for the expense.
I’ve attended many tea services and found this one just okay.
The food was delicious and the tea was lovely. But it was a bit overpriced in my opinion. Our server was absolutely wonderful though.
Overall it was a great experience. Service was great and the space is magnificent. The food was good but not excellent. The kids carrots were nasty and the peanut butter sandwich pretty horrible. The adult serving was yummy with a good variety. I lived that the desserts were not overly sweet.
It’s a lovely “experience” and the staff is wonderful, but it is ridiculously over priced. Three of us with tip $150.00 (more with parking). Definitely a bucket list. I always wanted to enjoy tea at The Heathman. The food is fine, but certainly not superior, and certainly not plentiful. There are many tea rooms in the Portland area that serve as good if not better food/tea for half the price.
Christmas Russian tea- we knew it would be different than usual Christmas high tea but most Of the tea treats just weren’t tasty
Love the atmosphere but liked the English Tea menu better. Many things on menu that none of us liked.
The best Russian tea I’ve had across many cities and one of the top tea services in general. Food was subtle and delicious. The tea selection was excellent. Chef Vitaly graces us with a peek into his Eastern European heritage with the menu.
The Georgian Caravan tea is a house specialty and is a must. The huckleberry (?) jam is a wonderful accompaniment to the tasty, lightly smoky black tea blend.
I was nervous about taking my family to the Russian tea service after reading multiple poor reviews, but we had a delightful time. We went on Christmas Eve and were seated right away (11:15am reservation). Our server was prompt, knowledgeable about the tea/food, and very sweet with our children. She did seem a bit rushed, but she was attentive, coming by to ask how we were doing and re-filling more hot water into our tea pots without prompting. We loved the decor and appreciated the comfy chairs. We had plenty of space at our table for four, which was nestled in a corner next to the beautiful staircase and towering bookcases. The food was wonderful (and I'm pretty picky). Standouts were the Georgian Caravan tea and chocolate peppermint Pu’erh tea and the blini + steelhead caviar, khachapouri, various buterbrodi, and the steopka. We appreciated the children's tea service options, including warm chocolate milk or hot apple cider instead of tea if desired. We never felt rushed and overall had a lovely experience.
Service was not great. Food was quite good. They sat us in a spot that was not meant to have a table in it- so it was traffic heavy and every time a guest entered, a burst of cold air came in with them. It was not comfortable.
The Russian High Tea is wonderful. I love the tea and food.
The holiday tea experience has gone downhill! There were pretty decorations but the non-holiday music blaring in the background obliterated any feel of holiday cheer. The food was okay, if Russian food is to your liking. Most of the people in my party didn’t find it too appealing. I won’t be back.
It took over an hour after we were seated to be served any food which was basically cold food. We were the first to be seated and the last to be served. It was expensive. We have been attending holiday tea there for years and will not return. I don't like the new remodel or the holiday decorations. I really liked the big, beautifully decorated trees in years past.
fantastic experience! will definitely book again if it’s available next year
The food was delicious, but the service was poor and the ambiance and holiday vibe were totally missing. We were seated at 1:15 and our food didn't arrive until 2:21. What gives? It's a fixed menu, nothing hot, nothing made to order and it's pretty much the same menu as last year. How hard could it be? I had to get up mid-meal to go feed the parking meter because we were in a 2 hour spot. Surely 2 hours should have been enough time for tea? Sadly, the tea was tepid and when we asked for more hot water, it was lukewarm. I don't know what was going on at the table next to us, but the manager came out to apologize for something and comped their service for a party of 5.
I attended the tea last year and the experience was delightful; the tree, the decorations, the service, the presentation of the food, the overall hustle and bustle of the room. It feels like the Russian Tea Experience has sold out and is more interested in packing people in and taking their money, than providing a truly magical experience. I was very disappointed with this year's tea service and would not recommend it, nor would I go again.
First,our reservation was for 12:15. We checked in and were told they were not ready for us and we had to wait until 12:30. Once seated, our service was abysmal. When I made the reservation I let them know my friend was allergic to seafood and we needed NO seafood. She is also pre diabetic, so when we were there, she asked the waitress if she could have only 2 desserts but have another savory or two to make up for it. The waitress took our tea order and assured my friend her request would be fulfilled. Twenty minutes later, we had no tea nor water, and our tiered serving tray came out...with seafood, and NO desserts for my friend and no extra savories either. We asked the waitress at that time to correct our order and please bring us some tea. She brought our tea. We finally flagged down another waitress to correct our order. She replaced the seafood with two other items, but still no dessert for my friend, nor additional savories in lieu of dessert. So, we had to flag down another waitress. I could go on and on, but I'm sure that by now you get the gist. We've been going to Headwaters for Russian tea for 4 years and this was by far the worst tea experience we've EVER had. I asked for the manager and was told he wasn't in at the moment.
Quick comments. The decor upgrade is ok, but the chairs are too low for the tables, the lounge is not very cozy, and the two large paintings on the wall opposite the entry are truly disturbing. The wait people’s attire was unattractive and dull. Too little attention is given to the preparation of the tea, we had to ask how long the tea had steeped and how much more time was needed. And the answer received indicated that the server didn’t really have much knowledge about teas. We enjoyed the Russian eatables, but suggest the the quite wonderful eggplant roll be prepared with somewhat less oil. We loved the fact that as the last seating off the day we were not rushed off, but could continue our conversations.
We have taken our granddaughters to tea at Christmas for 3 years. This year we asked the 14 year old when she would outgrow the tea experience, her response was "Never". We feel the same, it's a wonderful Holiday tradition!
We were one of the first to be seated and we watched other tables be seated and greeted by their server before ours came over. We ordered and again watched others get served who came after us, Food was mediocre for the cost, bread stale on my daughters food. Inside her ham sandwich was not a spread of butter but a huge cold pat of butter smashed in the middle. We were never offered more hot water for our tea until after we were done eating and had to ask another server for the check.
Had a great Russian Tea experience at Headwaters! Lovely tea service with delicious food and beautifully festive atmosphere! A must have experience for the holidays!
Two friends and I finally fulfilled our wish to go to have the Russian Tea experience. To be honest, other than the company it was disappointing. The hostess was condescending, the waitresses were fine, the food was okay but not knock your socks off and some of it seemed a little stale. The room was lovely though. All in all it was a lackluster experience and certainly didn't live up to our expectations.
The setting for the Russian tea was lovely, especially at Christmas time. I found the pastry to be quite expert and delicious but some of the savory items would have benefited from being served warm. I have eaten my own weight in piroshki and would like to state that a cold pirozhok is not pleasant eating. My group enjoyed the butterbrody and eggs, but again, the khachapuri and eggplant rolls would have tasted much better if they were warm. That would not be difficult to accomplish. We enjoyed the tea selection very much. Overall it was a pleasant holiday experience but would be greatly improved with some simple changes.
We have been here before and found that the food and service was excellent, but this year the food is very low quality and the service not much better, waitress not even dress up. We have decided not to return. I would not recommend it to any one.
The service was as good as ever, always so attentive. The tea itself, the white peony, was mild and flavorful. Really enjoyed it. All of the food, savory and sweet, was tasty. I especially liked the halvah! While the new look and holiday decorations were smashing, oh, we missed the two story Christmas tree!! It is wonderful that the tea room is quiet and relaxing. Happy holidays.
At $145 for high tea & champagne for two people, this should be a magical experience but the recent refurb has left the fireside room feeling a bit soulless and never addressed a major design flaw: cold air rushes in from the front door straight through the restaurant & into the tea room. The food is good but not extraordinary.
This is such a lovely room, especially if your lucky enough to get in front of the fireplace. Actually anywhere in the room is gorgeous.
The Service is amazing, engaging and very interesting people. Our host Mr. Paley is so very charming and loves what he does to a very high level.
I would like to see more savory pieces in the mix, the sandwiches were amazing and not soggy, however as I
moved up the tier it was not the case. I am speaking of the Russian Tea mix.
The choices of tea's were so very delicious, the option of champagne which I will always take was Very delicious, and overall we had a Wonderful time and certainly got enough to eat and drink.
Service was very disappointing. Water for tea wasn’t hot even after requesting hot water twice. Hot water for tea is a basic necessity for a tea service. Notifying ahead for an allergy didn’t have any impact. Staff needs allergy awareness training. Decorations certainly not what they were in past years. Overall the experience fell very flat. Many more unique experiences in Portland.
Unlimited hot water for the delicious loose leaf tea. Service was great and the ambiance was relaxing, elegant, and cozy. Food was really good, but for how much you're getting, it was very pricey. I'm glad I experienced this and would recommend to experience this at least once in your life, but not sure if I'll be going here again anytime soon because of how expensive it was.
I enjoy high tea service. I've had it at the Mandarin Oriental, which is amazing. This one is pretty good, but I found I may not be a fan of Russian tea service. I didn't enjoy all of the foods. I think its a matter of personal preference and not at all a reflection of their food quality. I'd go again if perhaps they had different foods to try.
I love the new renovation. I will totally be back.
The food was fun and inventive.
The ambiance was warm and inviting.
Service was as best it could be with one server.
The tea (sencha) was bitter and too many leaves. I had to ask them to do it over and it still was too much. This was a bit off putting considering it was a "tea experience".
We've been here twice and my children really enjoy it. It's great to experience the world's cultures through food and this is a lovely opportunity to loosely introduce children to Northern/Eastern European items while enjoying some quality time and a cup of tea! (or the vodka flight which was delicious too)