1513 West Alabama • Houston, TX 77006
713-904-3537 • bistromenil.com
For art lovers, taking tea at Bistro Menil is a wonderfully refreshing way to rest after spending a day viewing the exhibits from the Menil Collection, which consists of several buildings across a 30-acre property. While conveniently located on the sprawling campus, the restaurant’s modern interpretation of afternoon-tea service is notable on its own merit. Set in a space with contemporary pieces adorning the walls, the ambience of the bistro extends the experience of a day spent exploring the collection’s different displays.
In January 2016, Bistro Menil co-owner and chef, Greg Martin, introduced afternoon tea after hosting a successful tea for two of the restaurant’s regular customers. But rather than offer the traditional presentation, he wanted to bring a touch of style and panache to tea fare.
Guests who partake in tea, at $45 per person, start with their choice of a coupe of champagne or a glass of sweet Italian soda. “Even if [people] are just having tea together as friends, there’s a bit of celebration there,” Greg explains. “Champagne is always an appropriate starter for that, and the Italian sodas are still just as celebratory and fun.” Traditional scones are replaced with a demitasse cup of the soup of the day, followed by a three-tiered stand brimming with elaborate sweets and savories, all accompanied with the tea of the guest’s choice. Items such as the Nutella-filled brioche Toasted Chocolate Hearts are best savored warm, while others, like the Wild Mushroom and Walnut Pâté Crostini, can be enjoyed at any time throughout the service. “We didn’t want people to feel there was a specific order to tea,” Greg adds. “We want it to be celebratory and fun.”
Bistro Menil offers afternoon tea from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Greg recommends making reservations at least 24 hours in advance to ensure the best experience.