Tranquility Tea Room
2527 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks
805-418-9939 or www.tranquilitybaking.com
Tranquility Tea Room in Thousand Oaks is a little tricky to find, and the nondescript office building seems an odd place for a top-notch tearoom. But once you pass through the door, you enter a land of enchantment and wonderful teatime treats.
You might say that the adventure begins when you try to find its location. Technically on Thousand Oaks Boulevard near the Civic Arts Plaza, the tea room is accessed via a side street, on the second floor of a nondescript office building. (Be sure to check the website for a map and driving directions.) Kudos to the proprietor, who has transformed a set of corporate rooms into a pleasant space worthy of an inn in Yorkshire. Tables of different shapes and sizes are scattered about, bedecked with linens and lace and set with china in a variety of patterns. Chests, cabinets and whimsical antiques decorate the space as well. Hats abound, and a wardrobe and trunk are overflowing with costume accessories available for teatime dress-up.
Overall, it’s charming and cheerful — and the particular flavor of that charm and cheer changes throughout the year. One of Tranquility’s claims to fame is its seasonal themes, all elaborately realized with special decorations, menus and even games: Peter Pan, Fairytale Princess, Mad Hatter, Wizard of Oz and Christmas. Very festive, and fun enough to make a tea drinker want to visit them all.
Our party of four came during Peter Pan’s Tea Party, and was seated at the Tinker Bell table, in green and pink with lots of fairy-inspired trinkets. Those proved important for the treasure hunt, which had both the young and young at heart looking for a variety of Neverland mementoes (listed on a card at the table) hidden around the restaurant. Most patrons were likewise hunting, dispelling any awkwardness. We were a little uncomfortable using the bell at our table to summon our server — it just felt so imperious! — but we were assured by the kindly staff that it was both welcome and expected.
The tea menu is quite large with dozens of options (black, green, red and herbal) as well as lemonade. Customers get their own festive teapots. The food menu can be as simple as the Cream Tea, with tea and a scone, or as elaborate as the Deluxe Tea, which includes five sandwiches, three “dainty desserts” and a scone.
We ordered two Deluxe Teas and two Child’s Teas for the table, with chicken salad, caramel-apple brie, cucumber, curried egg salad and smoked salmon sandwiches. All were wonderful in their own way — very fresh, with soft, flavorful bread and delicately seasoned fillings. The currant scone was not too sweet or too rich, definitely biscuitlike but with a soft crumb — perfect with a sip of tea, even better with a dollop of lemon curd or fresh cream. The desserts — cheesecake petit fours, caramel cream puffs and rich chocolate truffles, plus two shortbread starfish and mini cupcakes for the child’s tea — were indeed dainty and delicious.
When staring down tiers of sandwiches and sweets, it’s easy to forget the tea. But Tranquility is adept at both liquid and solid refreshment. The tea poured from those gorgeous teapots was delicious. The red velvet rooibos tasted exactly like red velvet cake, the sweet flavor of stone fruit was perfectly balanced with the pekoe tannins in the apricot black tea, and the oolong was beautifully smoky.
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy Old World charm with a hot cup of tea and its traditional accompaniments, Tranquility Tea Room is an excellent choice. The touch of whimsy, with the themes and games and costumes, makes for a fun, even magical, time. We left thoroughly enchanted, looking forward to the next teatime adventure.