The Jakarta Post
Smoked salmon and bagel stack at The Blue Box Cafe in New York, United States. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)
Like other fans of the classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I can vividly remember the film’s opening scenes: the empty streets of New York, a yellow cab stops in front of the jewelry shop and Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) in her black dress, stepping out of the cab.
When I read an article about the opening of The Blue Box Café in November last year, I instantly remembered the opening scene, visualizing Golightly eating her breakfast slowly in front of the shop.
Nestled inside Tiffany’s Manhattan flagship store, The Blue Box Café is the first retail dining restaurant of the jewelry brand, allowing fans to actually have breakfast at Tiffany’s.
So when my short trip to New York was confirmed, I informed my friend who lives in the Big Apple and she volunteered to make a weekday lunch reservation at The Blue Box Café. Reservations can only be made via Resy and should be made 30 days in advance. Alas, my schedule was only confirmed around three weeks prior to my arrival, resulting in us being placed on a notify list.
Around two weeks before our desired time, my friend received a notification, saying that there might be an empty seat for two, but it disappeared within a few minutes. Notifications were received a few more times, but our reservation was only confirmed less than 24 hours before our preferred time, requiring me to change my schedule at the last minute for the sake of having breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Due to last-minute schedule changes, we were in a rush to get to Tiffany’s. It was Monday afternoon and the Tiffany’s shop on Fifth Avenue was packed with visitors. We took an elevator to the fourth floor, where the restaurant is located. Once the elevator doors opened, we hurried to the restaurant, passing Tiffany’s home and accessories section. The host greeted us and directed us to our table. My excitement returned as I entered the blue-themed restaurant.
The restaurant is small and can only accommodate 40 people. At that time, almost all the seats were occupied. I noticed that most of the guests were females, but no one was wearing black dresses or white pearls, instead, they wore casualwear.
Breakfast set at The Blue Box Cafe. Priced at US$32, the set comes with complimentary fresh fruit, a croissant and choice of tea or coffee. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)
All the servers seemed to be in a rush. Fortunately, a female server quickly attended to us, informing us that the breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea sets were available all day. The breakfast set is priced at US$32 and comes with complimentary fresh fruit, a croissant and choice of tea or coffee. Meanwhile, the lunch set is priced at $42 and includes a starter and main course. As for the Tiffany Tea, it’s offered at $52 and comes with finger sandwiches and small desserts.
The options were quite limited though, so I settled for the smoked salmon and bagel stack, while my friend chose coddled egg soft polenta.
While I was waiting for my breakfast to arrive, I took in my surroundings and noticed that the Tiffany’s iconic light medium robin egg blue color was everywhere, including the marble wall, slipcovered chairs and plates. It is a truly Instagram-worthy place, especially for those who love Tiffany’s collection.
After waiting a while, my food arrived. The bowl of fresh fruits contained berries, figs and melon. Meanwhile, the croissant was served with fruit jam, Nutella and butter. The golden colored croissant was soft and airy on the inside. Unfortunately, it was served cold, resulting in a chewy texture.
Not long after I finished my croissant, the server brought out the smoked salmon and bagel stack. Featuring stacked bagel slices, the portion was considerably big for Asian standards. The glossy bagels were topped with a generous amount of smoked salmon, tomatoes, sliced red onion and capers with cream cheese on the side. The flavor was decent, a combination of salty salmon with a touch of sourness from the capers. The bagel was hard, but the edges were crunchy. It was quite a task to cut the salmon and bagel all together, requiring me to eat it layer by layer.
My friend’s coddled egg was smaller. She had to ask the server for bread, however, the server failed to inform her that it came with an extra charge.
Overall, the food was acceptable, but it was not worth the 30 days in advance reservation. For the prices, I’m certain that there are other places in New York that serve better breakfast or lunch.
In regard to the setting, The Blue Box Café is a fun place for girl’s day out or afternoon tea. The ambiance is classy yet cozy; it's not as intimidating as you might think. Moreover, if you're lucky, you may get a table near the windows, allowing you to see Central Park from afar.
The major turnoff is the reservation system. The guests sat next to us shared that their reservation was only confirmed an hour before their desired time. If you have a limited time in New York and want to experience breakfast at Tiffany’s, I’d suggest you to do what Holly Golightly does: get yourself a cup of coffee and a Danish pastry and eat it in front of the store. (kes)