Seeing in the New Year with an All-Time Food Hero: Jamie Oliver!

Well hello New York, are we recovered yet? While still feeling a little ropey our end, we were all out of bed and at work yesterday morning to loyally serve our customers the only real cure for the New Year blues: great British comfort food! We’re open tonight, as every night, until 10.30pm, so if you’re feeling the need for something to clear the cobwebs and warm the soul, nothing does the job quite like Shepherd’s Pie and Apple Crumble.

Shepherd's Pie: the best cure for the New Year's blues. Eat in, or order out; our fleet of British delivery boys are waiting to take your call on 212-989-9735!

While on the topic of Britain’s superb culinary record (our favorite topic), we’d like to share our best Christmas present with you. Jamie Oliver has had a more profound effect on the British dinner table than any other person in living memory. Best known this side of the pond for Jamie’s Food Revolution, he has had twenty cookery shows on British television, and fifteen cookery books, at least one of which will be present on the vast majority of British bookshelves.

A fresh-faced Jamie, at the very beginning of his prolific career. My, how he's grown!

We were ecstatic to pull a copy of Jamie’s Great Britain from our stocking this Christmas. As a celebration of modern British cookery, it is unrivalled, providing stunning renditions of all the classics, as well as paying due homage to immigrant influences which have dramatically broadened our culinary culture over the years (Keep Korma and Curry On!).

The recipes, artwork and food photography are all top-notch and we highly recommend it!

Guiness Lamb Shanks with Mashed Potato and Mint Salad. Heavenly!

First rate artwork, celebrating British food and colloquialisms in equal measures. How many do you recognise?

To whet your appetite, here’s a clip from the accompanying TV show of Jamie visiting a traditional British pub in Wakefield. Deep in Yorkshire, he shares a pint of ale with the locals and discusses the county’s most famous culinary export: Yorkshire pudding.

Beg, borrow, or steal to get your hands on this book. British cuisine is perfect to get you through the winter months. And if you don’t want to make it yourself, our doors are always open (well, until 10.30pm), and we’re more than happy to bring the food to you!

Here’s to a Happy New Year!


The British Invasion
Tue 26 Apr 2011 @ 08:52 | story by Ashley Van Buren

Royal wedding fever has made its way across the pond to America. To prepare for Friday’s festivities, I sat down with Nicky Perry, who introduced New Yorkers to delicious, home-style British food and a proper cuppa when she opened her first shop, Tea & Sympathy, in 1989. Two year later, she added Carry On Tea & Sympathy, an emporium of British-imported food stuffs, China, and British-themed paper goods. She followed that act up with her fish and chips shop, A Salt & Battery, all located next to each other on Greenwich Avenue in New York City’s West Village.

In addition to putting British food on the map in America, Nicky Perry and her staff (which includes waitresses who have worked in the shop for 16+ years, and chef who proudly told me he’s been in the kitchen since day one) have turned the cuisine and the restaurant into a destination spot for tourists and a hang out for locals. “We don’t hire the staff, they hire themselves,” says Nicky. “They have to love each other and the customers because they look after each other here and that shows.” In a restaurant that has ten tables and twenty seats, everyone is forced to develop a close relationship, even if it’s with the stranger at the next table during teatime, so everyone is dedicated to making it work in close quarters and keeping up the convivial atmosphere.

In honor of the royal wedding, Tea & Sympathy is pulling out all the stops. Nicky informs me of all their plans: “We’re going to decorate the street with bunting, we’ve commandeered the French restaurant [Lyon] on the corner, since we’re so tiny, and they’re going British for the day and we’re serving a British breakfast and broadcasting the wedding live on a large screen near the bar, which will play on a loop all day. All of the stores on the block even got into the act by decorating their windows and giving in to our incredible raffle, which is raising money for the royal couple’s charity. It’s nice to see every local shop getting into the spirit of it all.”

As for the wedding day food, Nicky isn’t cutting any corners, “We’re making Devils on Horseback, smoked salmon quail Scotch eggs, and samosas, lamb chops and mint gravy and kedgeree, which is very hard for us to make, and I’m not going to make any money off it, but I want to make it proper,” says Nicky. “For dessert, we’re doing Eton mess, and bread and butter pudding … and champagne, of course!”

If you can’t make it to Tea & Sympathy’s stateside celebration of the royal wedding, use Nicky’s menu as inspiration, search the recipes on for more ideas, and check in with our forum topic dedicated to sharing at-home royal wedding celebration menus.

While I talked with Nicky, an elderly British woman came in with a present she had been meaning to give Nicky for ten years. It was a small, vintage tea tin. Inside the tin was the tea company’s motto, which Nicky read out loud: “Celebrated for great strength, delicious flavor, and uniform good quality. Once used, always used.” Without missing a beat, Nicky remarked, “It’s like Tea & Sympathy, darling.”

If you are in Manhattan on Friday, April 29th, the festivities kick-off at 6:00am at Lyon (118 Greenwich Ave NY, NY) and go between Tea & Sympathy (108-110 Greenwich Ave) starting at 10:30am and Lyon throughout the rest of the day (and well into the weekend). From tea and scones to bagpipers, pop musicians, and even a bit of a block party, a British invasion indeed.

The Telegraph – coverage of Tea & Sympathy’s Royal Wedding festivities!

For your perusal, the very kind words of UK newspaper The Telegraph on our Royal Wedding celebrations:

Do New Yorkers care about the Royal Wedding? You bet. Nicky Perry of Tea and Sympathy leads the charge
By Melissa Whitworth | April 20th, 2011

Having a cuppa with Nicky Perry, owner of Tea and Sympathy (Circe Hamilton)

Nicky Perry has been serving Sunday roasts and cream teas to homesick Brits in NYC for the last 20 years. Her restaurant, Tea & Sympathy, is a beloved expat institution, here in Greenwich Village. In fact, it’s the only place in the city where you can get a decent cuppa.

“I’ve done more for British food in America than Jamie Oliver – where’s my MBE?” she asks. Local rumour has it that when the British Consulate here gets a call they can’t deal with, they redirect it to Perry.

My friend, Circe Hamilton, a British photographer who has been living in NYC for 19 years says, “Perry is the local mayor, her reputation precedes her and she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s never afraid to shout at her punters and get them all in line. I love a woman where you know what she thinks immediately. It’s very comforting knowing there’s a little bit of England around the corner.”

On the 29th April, Perry and her friend, fellow-Brit Penny Bradley, will be hosting the street party to end all parties in celebration of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  They plan to close down part of Greenwich Avenue outside their restaurants, and have the celebrations spill out onto the streets.

Bradley is the co-owner of Lyon, the French restaurant next-door to Tea & Sympathy. Her business partner, François Latapie, has agreed to be British for the weekend (as long as Penny helps him celebrate Bastille Day later in the year with a few games of Pétanque).

The restaurants will be serving full English breakfast, kedgeree, Spotted Dick, Eton Mess, Brown Windsor soup and Pimm’s. Perry has been trying to hunt down the menu they’ll be serving at Buckingham Palace on the day, so she can recreate it for her New York customers. In the meantime, she has her chef baking Prince William’s favourite pudding, a kind of  chocolate biscuit cake with raisins.

Next door, Nicky is selling Royal wedding memorabilia: tea towels, football scarves, teapots, cups and saucers (alongside Marmite, Walker’s crisps, and the city’s biggest collection of Cadbury’s chocolate).

Nearby shopkeepers will be decorating their stores with Union Jacks and bunting. In fact, at the moment there is a huge Andy Warhol-style painting of the Queen in the window of the local chemist. A charity raffle will include a return trip to London courtesy of Virgin Atlantic, and clothing donated by Elizabeth Hurley. A Pearly King and Queen will perform songs in the evening; there will be Morris dancers. Perry has spent $1800 on bunting.

At Lyon there will be two large screens where live coverage of the Royal wedding will commence at 6am (because of the five-hour time difference).

“It’s going to be a right Royal knees-up,” says Perry.

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