Cafe Rundown IV: A New Harmony

27 Jul

158 Broad Street, Middletown, CT

860-344-9649

Website

Monday : 11am-2pm;  Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-3pm; Sundays: Closed

Daily special quiche with harmonized salad

Quiche and sandwich, with a limonade. About $25

Tuna Melt

Sweet Harmony is a fantastic cafe and bakery just a stone’s throw away from the Downtown Business District.  Locals know it’s there, but because it’s such an unassuming building a few minutes away from Main street students often don’t.  Although it might take some planning to get there due to their restrictive hours (see above), I definitely recommend checking it out.  It’s not the type of place to bring your whole crew for brunch and play-by-plays of last night though (check out O’Rourke’s or Eli Cannon’s for that).  Instead, go alone for a peaceful cup of tea and some hot rosemary focaccia in the afternoon, or meet a friend that you haven’t seen in a while and browse the foyer, which is filled with locally-made gifts and paraphernalia.  Better yet, ask that pretty girl from work out to lunch and pastries (and pick up the tab).

Everything at Sweet Harmony is light, thoughtfully prepared, and made to order.  They don’t serve anything greasy or diner-like, but you won’t be hungry when you leave.  Portions are significant but certainly not hulking.  The menu contains a range of fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps, quiches, and soups every day, along with an insert of the daily specials, charming specialty drinks, and desserts.  A vegetarian friend pointed out that many of the salads contain meat.  Luckily since most dishes are made to order, you can ask for vegetarian versions– the veggie sandwiches that are on the menu are pretty good, too.  Vegans are unfortunately out of luck.

You can also order whole cakes and other desserts for pickup.  These don’t come cheap, but with a few friends pitching in you can spend less than you would on a Friday night at Typhoon… and get anything from a cookie dough with white chocolate mousse cake to a key lime cheesecake to a 30 layer crepe cake with Marscapone cheese.  Why not get a cake for your next friend’s birthday, or in honor of nothing at all?  (Dear readers, you can eat cake whenever you want!  http://xkcd.com/150/)

Best stuff on the menu: Harmonized salads (get any salad with goat cheese, honey-roasted pecans, and dried cranberries), the unsweetened raspberry iced tea (which has whole raspberries in it), the limonade with fresh lime zest and a touch of cranberry, iced Vietnamese coffee, Rosemary focaccia, the daily quiche, pretty much all the sandwiches and salads are great, Amaretto cake, cream puffs, chocolate fondue for two.  You can view the cafe menu here and the cake menu here.

Student Discount: No.  Graduates get free drinks on graduation weekend.

Middletown Cash: No.  And since they are not in the DBD, no DBD gift cards either.

Price: On the high end of the cafe scale, definitely.  For the meal above, (and we split the drink) we paid $24, around $12 each.  If you’re looking to save money make sure you sit inside; a minor gratuity is occasionally added for outdoor dining.

Service:  The waitress is an absolute sweetheart and all the staff are very thoughtful.  They will refill your iced tea over and over again, bring out several types of salad dressing if you’re not sure which one you want, bring you an extra dish of potato salad at no extra charge if you snarfed the first one down in 30 seconds, and write a nice note on your check–which comes in an enameled dish with big old-fashioned carnival mints–when it’s all said and done. 

This being said, the service is intentionally leisurely.  You’re not going to get in and out in an hour.  I like this about the place, but since it’s only open during lunch there’s really no time to go during my lunch hour (tried that once and it didn’t work so well).  That leaves the weekend.

There must be a reason Sweet Harmony is only open for 3-4 hours a day, but I don’t know what it is.  I imagine they’d do just fine if they were open for breakfast some mornings.  Also, it’s perfectly acceptable to charge $15-20 for a decent afternoon tea service and this would be the perfect place to have one.  (*hint hint*)  They DO host several dinner events during the year, so check when these are if you’re interested.

Atmosphere:  The cafe looks just like it sounds; the decor is lovely and ladylike, the tables have doilies on them, and decorative teacups are sprinkled over the shelves.  There are comfy armchairs, lace curtains, and soft lamps.  Faux flowers crawl on the exposed brick of the fireplace, and wrought iron cafe chairs linger outside in the summer.  It’s probably this pretty tea room aesthetic that attracts older ladies and gentlemen for late lunches here.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw a cat in the window (though unfortunately I’m pretty sure there isn’t one).  You wouldn’t look out of place in a dove grey suit and a boating hat or a sundress and enormous movie-star sunglasses… but, you know, this isn’t a fashion blog… yet…

WiFi: I don’t know.  It doesn’t seem right to bring a computer.  This isn’t so much a place to work as a place to relax in a pleasant space with good company.

Enjoy!

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One Response to “Cafe Rundown IV: A New Harmony”

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  1. Forage « Wesivore - July 28, 2011

    […] stressed about packing everything up and making their train or flight… (maybe show your love with a cake?!) Best wishes to all of you wherever you’re headed!  Safe and happy […]

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