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Best Afternoon Tea Denver 2005 - House of Commons

Yorkshire native Jessica Avery has created a stark, sunny space that shines in contrast to the ambience of coffeehouses we've become so accustomed to in this town, where folks can find a dark spot to swill caffeine and palaver on nearly every street corner. Her House of Commons is a welcoming space where you chat in hushed tones, though not necessarily with your pinkie extended, as you sip an entirely different kind of caf -- chosen from a variety of aromatic Taylor's of Harrogate teas -- in the descending light. Adding to the makings of a right proper afternoon are Avery's food offerings -- lovely scones with double Devon cream, tiny petit fours, cucumber sandwiches and Parkin, a Yorkshire specialty that involves baking spiced oatmeal with treacle into a chewy, crumbly, sticky, caramelly mess of perfect goodness. Brilliant!

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I have to disagree with Barbara here. I found the service to be friendly and timely. Tea was prompt and expertly brewed, the scone appropriately sized (not sure what Barbara was expecting in terms of tea time food; not American portions, I hope) and any additional requests were handled just fine. The tea room, far from being inelegant, is cleanly designed and simple, though not spartan. Perfect for a midday break.


Nice, but over priced, and inelegant. The tea was good, however, when I asked for more hot water, they threw some tea bags in the pot of a different flavor than what I had originally ordered, and never made it back to our table so I could get that fixed. The quantity of pastries with the tea was pretty sparce. Another table had tray upon tray delivered to their table. We had to ask for more pastries, and instead of bringing a new tray, she acted like we asked for something unusual, asked what we wanted, and then brought some out on a plate and transferred them to the dirty tray we just emptied. Other than the multi-level tray, and dainty portions, everything was just average. No different than service at any neighborhood cafe. For nearly $20 a head, I expected something elegant, and was disappointed. The atmosphere is stark, and the portions are small. If you go there, order from the menu, at $6-7 per person. You'll get more food, and the same service, for half the price of the afternoon tea.