Tulip & Tea by Asha Gomez is now open in Conyers

Tulip & Tea by Asha Gomez is now open in Conyers

Photography by Paul McPherson

Two-time James Beard Award nominee Asha Gomez has shifted her focus from cooking to entertaining. The founder of the now-defunct Cardamom Hill restaurant — known for its Kerala-style fried chicken — moved to Conyers and opened Tulip & Tea (1805 Parker Road Southeast)and retail, education and tea space. There, she sells floral arrangements on a weekly subscription basis, offers cooking and floral design classes, and serves elaborate high teas on Fridays and Saturdays.

“I’ve always loved flowers. My mother was a great artist. There was never a day without fresh flowers in our house,” says Gomez. “I always seek out afternoon tea experiences no matter where I travel in the world, whether it’s Ireland Or Rome or London.”

Gomez, the author of two cookbooks, closed her Cardamom Hill restaurant in 2014 for financial reasons and sold her event venue, The Third Space, to focus on her health. (She suffered nerve damage in her right arm and is unable to cook as much as she used to.) “I wanted to create a space where I could sit quietly and do the things I love (like) flowers and tea,” she explains. . “I’ve evolved into opening up this space. I’ve focused on things that make the table beautiful and enhance the dining experience.

Photography by Paul McPherson

Asha Gomez, founder of Tulip&T

Photography by Paul McPherson

Photography by Paul McPherson

I have partnered with Zline to sell complete kitchens (cookware, knives, oven, stoves) from Tulip & Tea. Her shop also offers candle stems, coffee mugs, wine glasses, and more. She also has a custom line of loose leaf teas called House of Goretti that will be released next month. To make the tea, I worked with Methical Coffee, based in Greenville, South Carolina. There’s the “ultra-masculine” Earl Gray named after her father, Jasmine made with Chinese green tea, and a chai blend that requires 50 iterations to perfect.

“In India, everyone stops in the afternoon to drink tea and eat snacks. There were chai shops everywhere you turned. Coming up with a tea line came naturally to me,” says Gomez. “Chai was a ritual experience that was My focus. It adds so much beauty to my day.”

High tea at Tulip & Tea costs $75 per person, plus tax and tip. Reservations are required and include a 90-minute experience with a frequently changing menu. Unless it’s a special event, Gomez prefers to limit each tea service to four to six people. “There are no tiered cake stands—that’s a very European approach—and tea is universal,” she says. At the start of tea, guests can enjoy a madeleine with spiced cream while the staff talk about the tea options. Other meals might include tea-spiced carrot cake, potato cake, cucumber sandwich with butter, samosas, and cashew nut cake.

To maintain multiple revenue streams, Tulip & Tea will include a full-line flower and plant store starting in the spring. Gomez will soon lead a floral design basics class and a wreath-making class in the building, but she says her goal is to bring “floral rock stars” into the space to teach. (Gomez has studied flower arranging on a farm in New York and the United Kingdom.) She also teaches experimental-style cooking classes that include a meal. “I had to create an environment that made sense for my financial well-being and my inner well-being,” she says.

Photography by Paul McPherson

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