On a mission to conquer every brunch place New York City has to offer in the next four years, I set out to Blank Slate Tea on Madison Avenue on a sunny Sunday morning with friends. The interior was relatively small with only a few tables, and the tight space was decorated with floral walls, vases with roses and pink sofa seats. While sitting in the restaurant, it becomes clear that every aspect was intentionally designed to be its own unique Instagramable moment.
While Blank Slate Tea may be known for its selection of premium teas, matcha drinks and varied afternoon tea menu, it also serves many quirky brunch dishes. I ordered the blueberry lavender waffle for $10 and an iced rose tea latte with oat milk for $5.25.
The rose tea latte was the perfect shade of millennial pink, sweetened with natural raw sugar and topped off with dried rose flakes and a floral paper straw. The Belgian waffle came shortly after, with a dollop of sweet cream, a handful of blueberries and orange flower petals sprinkled on top. The food looked like art, objectively beautiful, but I was a little disappointed by the size of my waffle — it was about the size of my tiny hand. However, I would soon realize that even the small serving would be too much
As any millennial knows, the camera eats first. After getting my perfect snap, I dug into the waffle. Like a classic Liege waffle, the batter was very thick and sweet, but the blueberry cream and Earl Grey syrup on top added even more sweetness. While I temporarily enjoyed the sugary decadence, every extra bite felt so pungent with the taste of candied flowers that I almost couldn’t continue.
To wash down the sweetness, I took a sip of my latte, but that only added to the sugary floral aroma. Around the last bite of the waffle, I felt as if I had consumed a bottle of perfume. I didn’t finish.
Other dishes include the avocado toast for $9 and the za’atar roasted veggie salad for $13. The presentation was once again aesthetically pleasing. The toast was topped with turmeric, lemon, radishes and sprouts on country bread, adding bursts of pink and yellow onto the green canvas. The salad was a blend of heirloom carrots, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, beets, arugula and chickpeas, tossed in a pomegranate vinaigrette and topped with a seed-dipped avocado. I didn’t know salads could be so pretty.
While the avocado toast boasted strong flavor with its colorful toppings, it was nothing more than typical avocado toast. I was neither disappointed nor amazed by the dish. The salad was incredibly difficult to mix and eat as it was topped with two whole large carrots and an avocado. I was forced to eat each element separately, but the flavors were good.
Overall, the interior of the restaurant and presentation of the foods were beyond pretty — they were gorgeous. I filled my camera roll and flooded my social media accounts with pictures. However, the real objective of getting a nice, filling brunch was not met. Portions were small for the slightly hefty price, and it was clear that the toppings weren’t added to make a nice flavor profile but rather to elevate the dishes. Blank Slate Tea satisfied my eyes rather than my empty stomach.
Email Joyce Shin at [email protected]