Sunday, January 27, 2008

L'autre salon de the

Or, the tea salon that could've been.

This tea salon had everything going for it. A plentiful display of every pastry or cake imaginable as you walk in; a menu with pages and pages of different types of teas; cosy interior; chic clientele and waiters that were even more chic. I was ready to compare it to Demmer's in Vienna (the ultimate tea salon) or even Sketch in London.

But then I realized it was too cool for its customers.

After we sat ourselves, cleared our own table, and grabbed our own menus from the stack near the back, it was a good twenty minutes before someone came by to acknowledge us, much less take our order. I was ready to walk out after ten minutes of being ignored, but my boyfriend replied guiltily that we had to stay -- he had to use the facilities.

So stay we did, where we were treated to utterly contemptuous service. My favorite moment was when my boyfriend ordered a cappucino, reading directly off the menu. The waiter replied snidely "we don't do that." Then why is it on the menu? Yes, the tea was fine. But I can't say I enjoyed it. I had to get up to grab my own napkin, sugar and cream from the table in the back. Other customers were equally frustrated. At one point, the manager came through and doused the entire room in what smelled like Chanel No.5. Whether or not you like Chanel No.5 to begin with, it is certainly disgusting when it gets in your mouth, drinks, and on your food. Other diners began to cough, and you could hear people hissing "mais c'est degueulasse." I had been ready to leave for a long time, but after that I was outta there.

As we were leaving, an attractive gay couple came to take our seats. I warned them not to bother, explaining that the service was non-existent, and I was happy that they trusted me enough to walk right out of there. This place could be amazing, but if it continues to treat its customers like shit, there will be none left.

If by chance I went on a particularly "off" day, here's the address for you to try it out.

L'Autre Salon de Thé
45, rue des Tourneurs
31000 Toulouse
05 61 22 11 63
M: Esquirol



Emily said...

If this is the tea salon I think it is, give it another chance! The owner is a woman from California and she's awesome... I wish I could remember the name of her tea salon to see if it's THIS one for sure... were there delectable deserts displayed in the window??

Etienne said...

I don't remember desserts in the window, just the big overflowing table in the entrance (if you click to enlarge the photo you can kinda see it, but then there seems to be an empty pastry case on the right, too, so who knows).

I think they have another location in France. I also think that the matriarch was present; a tottering, petite senior with hair pulled into a straggly bun, she didn't look or seem American. We speculated that she might be related to the man acting as manager (the perfume-sprayer).

If it's not the same place, please give me the address of the tea salon you speak of! If it is the same place, I am glad to know that I just went on a bad day, because it had such potential.