Silver Dove Afternoon Tea Is a Cozy-Meets-Classy Downtown Hideaway

The new tearoom is an intimate, independently owned operation, courtesy of two industry veterans with lots of cocktail experience.

A three-tier setup of afternoon tea savory and sweet treats and scones sits on a wooden table in front of a green velvet banquette.

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Two alums from acclaimed Fort Point cocktail bar Drink are now serving up a different beverage at their first ownership venture: tea. Patrick Brewster and Lee Morgan opened Silver Dove Afternoon Tea earlier this month in Downtown Boston, featuring afternoon tea service inspired by the British tradition. Think pots of tea from around the world, served with fresh scones and plenty of sweet and savory treats. And a few classic cocktails—the duo has plenty of bartending experience, after all.

Interior of a restaurant featuring green velvet banquettes, large half-circle mirrors, and wallpaper with birds and flowers.

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Why afternoon tea? “The short answer is my wife,” says Brewster. “She’s a hardcore Anglophile.” When the two were dating, they’d go to afternoon teas at hotels. “I always felt like there was a very special vibe to it; I just felt like the execution always fell short a little bit,” says Brewster. “I thought if you could get the right team together with the right expertise and the right attention to detail, you could make something really special.”

He eventually brought the idea to Morgan, who had been service manager at Drink when Brewster started as a barback there in 2016. It was Brewster’s first entry into the hospitality industry—he later went on to work at Idle Hour in Quincy and Mariel in Downtown Boston—but ever since his Manhattan childhood, walking around seeing restaurants everywhere, he knew he wanted to open something.

Two puffy British-style scones sit on a plate with two small bowls of condiments, a thick cream and a bright red jam.

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea’s currant scones are served warm, with strawberry jam and clotted cream. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

“When I got into cocktails, I thought I would open a cocktail bar, but I always liked really small, intimate places, and the economics in Boston make small [bars] really challenging,” says Brewster. Afternoon tea service, though? That could work.

A teapot and delicate cup of tea sit on a table in front of tiers of savory afternoon tea bites and scones.

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea’s custom tea pots show off the elegant logo, designed by co-owner Patrick Brewster. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Morgan, meanwhile, has been in the Boston-area hospitality industry for a bit over a decade, starting at the now-closed Voltage Coffee in Cambridge before getting into cocktails at Drink, the short-lived Sound Advice bar with ties to New York’s famous Death & Co., and finally Alcove, “where I learned a lot more about table service and more traditional restaurants,” says Morgan.

So, armed with a couple cumulative decades of experience, the duo has turned a former Tous les Jours bakery space steps from the Government Center T station into a cozy destination that seats a couple dozen, working with local firms Joe the Architect on the design and Cafco on the buildout. Customers enter up a small ramp, a relic from the previous tenant, but Brewster and Morgan have dressed it up by covering it entirely with pink and white roses. (The goal was to make it clear that it’s not just a grab-and-go coffee shop or bubble tea spot, says Morgan, the first two things that tend to come to mind when someone sees the word “tea.”) Lush green velvet banquettes line one wall of the long space, which is papered with a delicate floral and bird pattern.

Overhead view of a white plate with eight small tea sandwiches of four varieties.

On the opening menu, Silver Dove Afternoon Tea’s savory bites include, clockwise from top: asparagus canapés with radish, caramelized onion, and pecorino; coronation chicken with vadouvan, crème fraîche, and sultana; cucumber sandwiches with lemon and herb cream cheese and dill; and endive cups with pancetta, fig, pistachio, and goat cheese. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

On the topic of birds, what’s the meaning behind the silver dove? “I was trying to stick with the English theme,” says Brewster, noting that a lot of English pubs, whether in real life or in folktales, are named after animals. He wanted to keep it urban and name it for an animal that actually lives here, which narrowed his choices down to…rats and pigeons, “both of which people find gross.” But call a pigeon a “silver dove,” and all of a sudden you’ve got something fancy.

The interior of a small restaurant features an entryway with a wall decorated with faux pink and white roses.

The Silver Dove entryway features a floral wall. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Those embarking on afternoon tea at the Tremont Street nook will find a set menu ($48 per person, or $56 with one alcoholic drink) that includes one pot of tea, with options such as a mildly smoky lapsang souchong from China or a second-flush Darjeeling from India’s Castleton Estate. The menu also includes currant scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream; they come out first, served warm. “In developing the menu, I went to England and went to way too many afternoon tea services,” says Brewster. “One of the features I really liked was when they brought the scones out warm.” After the scones: four savory items and four sweet items. (Of note, Silver Dove’s kitchen is entirely gluten-free.) Still thirsty? Additional pots of tea and cocktails can be ordered a la carte.

The opening food menu includes coronation chicken, “a very classic recipe,” says Brewster, with vadouvan (a savory spice blend with Indian roots), crème fraîche, and sultanas. It’s a dish Brewster saw at every afternoon tea service in London, he says, but nowhere in America. The chicken and the cucumber sandwich will likely stick around as menu staples, along with the scones, but the other savory dishes and the sweets will rotate every month or so. Asparagus canapés and endive cups are also on the opening menu on the savory side. And don’t worry about getting too “carbed out” immediately, says Brewster: One thing he and Morgan realized while doing research was that you quickly get overloaded with bread at most afternoon teas, leaving no room for pastries. At Silver Dove, the savory bites are open-faced, leaning heavier on the vegetables and other ingredients than the bread.

A plate of four types of afternoon tea pastries, including bright yellow layer-cake squares, sit on a plate in front of a background of pink and white roses.

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea’s opening menu includes four sweet selections, counter-clockwise from front left: raspberry and almond mirlitons; coconut-almond cake with white chocolate mousse and passionfruit glaçage; cinnamon and ancho chili chocolate mousse bombes with dark chocolate glaçage; and vanilla macarons. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

On the sweet side, Brewster and Morgan brought in talented pastry chef Giselle Miller to consult on the opening menu. Her gorgeously plated and seriously delicious desserts have graced menus from Menton to Deuxave to Café ArtScience and beyond. She spent a couple months doing recipe development and training with Silver Dove head baker Aliyah Bilal-Gore, says Morgan. Those familiar with Miller’s desserts will definitely recognize her touch on opening menu treats like the passionfruit layer cake, a coconut-almond cake with white chocolate mousse and passionfruit glaçage.

A delicate glass of a foam-covered espresso martini perches atop a classy green velvet restaurant banquet, with afternoon tea service visible in the background.

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea’s espresso martini: vanilla vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and optional hazelnut cream. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Brewster and Morgan make use of their cordials license—a weird Boston quirk between a beer and wine license and full liquor—in a lineup of classic cocktails that fit the classy day-drinking mold. There’s a Pimm’s cup and gin and tonic, “which obviously fit with the British vibe,” says Morgan, along with an Aperol spritz. “And we’ve learned that you must have a spicy margarita and an espresso martini: not an option.” A couple other drinks round out the list, plus a selection of wine, cider, and beer.

Silver Dove is serving afternoon tea from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with the weekday hours also offering the opportunity for an abbreviated experience. Petite tea ($22) includes all the savory options and the macaron, while cream tea ($16) is tea and scones. Reservations are available via OpenTable (and you’ll definitely want to book ahead for the weekends).

Photo of a restroom door in a restaurant. Near it, two pieces of artwork depict British queens, and a video screen shows sheep grazing in grass.

Head to the restroom, and you’ll see art depicting Queen Victoria (on the left, by Mika Klos-Shakaid) and Queen Alexandra (by Mike Hammecker). The queens each played a role in popularizing afternoon tea. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Tea-lovers will find versions of afternoon tea at a number of Boston hotels, but give Silver Dove a try for that friendly small-business feel. “We’re independently owned, and Patrick and I are here every day,” says Morgan. “It’s important for us to have that personal touch and be hands-on.”

Afternoon tea service is set up at a wooden table in front of a green velvet banquet, with a half-circle mirror in the background.

Afternoon tea service at Silver Dove includes tea, of course, as well as scones, sweet and savory bites, and, optionally, a cocktail. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

24 Tremont St., Downtown Boston, 781-203-1223,