You’ve heard of English high tea. There are ornate Chinese tea ceremonies. And, tea is also a big part of Japanese culture.
But, if you’d like to relax with a pot of tea, served Persian style, try a cafe that’s located above an art gallery (you can take your tea down and browse the gallery).
The Lotus Cafe & Gallery is located inside an old house on 124th Street. Handmade Persian carpets surround a few solid-wood tables. And tea is served on rustic wooden trays, with hard saffron candy cubes. It’s the crystallized yellow candy that transforms a tea break into a ritual. It dissolves slowly in the cup. The bright red tea and yellow crystals are beautiful to look at.
The red hibiscus tea (ask for it to be served strong) is wonderfully sweet and tart, and a squirt of citrus brings out the sour notes. It’s a great complement to a rich Iranian dish, such as the Gheimeh, a stick-to-your-ribs lamb stew served in a broth of tomato and lime sauce.