Breakfast at Lora's Tea Room in Cranford

I have blogged about "A Toute Heure" in Cranford recently. In addition to this place there are a couple of other restaurants in this neighborhood called "Centennial Village". So when we checked it out we also found "Lora's Tea Room". Originally we thought they were more like a British style tea place. But that evening they were closed and so we decided to come for breakfast.

So today, after our early morning workout at the Westfield Y we went back to the Centennial Village. It turns out Lora's is more a Russian style (or at least Eastern European) tea room and not a British one. Not that that's bad, just different. It starts with the decor. It is an interesting combination of somewhat tastefully arranged kitsch (including the obligatory samovars) with a rather sterile and sober overall atmosphere (industrial ceiling with fluorescent lighting and similar floor). But this is actually pretty authentic. ;-))

In addition to traditional breakfast dishes like omeletts and eggs Lora's also serves blini. Blini are an Eastern European version of crepes, thin pancakes that are rolled up and filled with fruit, jams or other fillings. The cheese blini at Lora's are filled with farmer's cheese. In Austria you would call this dish "Topfenpalatschinken". Our waitress specifically points out that they are using farmer's cheese and not cream cheese. In addition to being less fatty we really like farmer's cheese much better. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get here and quite expensive. In many European countries a product very similar to farmer's cheese (typically known as "Quark" or "Topfen") is a staple food that is used for a variety of dishes and is also quite cheap.

So without a lot of deliberation my wife decides on the cheese blini. I go for the vegetable omelette. The blini are really excellent, with a delicate and nice flavor profile. They come garnished with some fresh strawberries and the farmer's cheese tastes as expected. My omelette is a positive surprise. This is truly a vegetable omelette with carrots, mushroom, peas, corn and celery. All the vegetables seem to have been nicely sauteed and seasoned before being worked into the omelette. This adds a very pleasant flavor component. The omelette by itself is fluffy and light. The whole thing is done with a lot of attention to detail. The toast is pretty good also and the butter comes nicely presented in its own little vessel.

But what is really important is the tea. For a tea room a bit disappointing they only do have a limited selection of open tea leaves. We go for the Earl Grey for two. For $3 you get a large stylish china pot of tea, nice glass tea cups and and filter to pour the tea through. The tea was quite excellent. Open leaves and the china pot make a difference. You get a much more delicate but clearly pronounced taste and the bergamot which characterizes the Earl Grey can vigorously express itself.

Overall we were pretty happy with this breakfast and will certainly visit Lora's again to enjoy the tea service for a lunch or an afternoon snack.

They do have nice outdoor seating but only serve the lighter stuff (pastry) out there. You won't get entrees or the full tea service.

Another gripe I have: They put their coffee after it is brewed on a heating pad and it seems to sit there for a while. That is a total faux pas for me. It kills any interesting flavor in the coffee. Unless you have a huge turnover and brew coffee fresh every 5 minutes a thermos vessel is much more acceptable and retains the coffee's taste profile. But then it is a tea room and not a coffee place. So maybe that is acceptable there.

Signing Off - The Westfield Blogger


Anonymous said...

HI, I live nearby and want to try Lora's. Do you know their hours and days open? Also, you mentioned $3 for a pot of tea but nothing about how much for the blini's and omelette. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You can view Lora's Tea Room information at JerseyMenus.com.

It lists the hours and menu.