An Oak Cliff mom-and-pop known for its showpiece specialty cakes has added a new facet, namely a sweet little tea room with sandwiches, coffee, and tea.
Potpourri of Silk is a quirkily named cake shop founded in 1996 by husband and wife Constantino and Criseida Barreiro, in a charming house at 317 N. Zang St. Their cakes include flavors such as strawberry, chocolate, lemon, and Italian cream, with decadent fillings such as pineapple and vanilla pudding, and frostings made with butter and cream.
Growing up in those circumstances gave their son Andres a passion for the culinary arts. He attended the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin, graduating with a degree in the culinary arts and specializing in French cuisine. He paid his dues working in French restaurants in Florida, Dallas, and Montreal, then returned to introduce a new concept for Potpourri of Silk.
From 10 am to 4 pm, they serve a menu of carefully made sandwiches, $8 each, that includes chicken salad with spinach and house-made aioli; pork loin with arugula, Swiss cheese, and Dijon mustard; roast rosemary beef; and a classic tea-room veggie sandwich with cucumber, dill, and cream cheese.
All sandwiches are served on pain de mie, the perfectly square, finely grained white bread that they bake in house, and roast their own meats.
Sides include a daily salad, pasta salad, and fruit salad. There's also a soup of the day ($3.50 for a cup, $6 for a bowl), and a coffee bar with Lavazza Italian espresso and local Cavallini coffee and fine teas.
And of course, you can, you must, get a slice of cake for $3.
The idea for the tea house came from Andres, who was inspired by similar concepts he saw while working in Montreal.
"It's really a tea house more than anything," he says. "All our sandwiches and soups are made in house. But we're also going for a bit of a French pastry thing, which I saw a lot of in Canada, but that you don't see here at all. We're almost more of a food store and gourmet shop."
There are teapots, cake toppers, party accessories, paper straws, coffee beans, flavored syrups, and loose leaf tea. But there are also cakes to go, breads, and other pastries made onsite including muffins, cupcakes, tarts, cookies, and pies, including adorable 4-inch individual pies in seasonal flavors.
There are maybe two dozen seats, and the location has a charming Old World feeling with couches and curtains on the window.
"We've always wanted to keep an elegant feel. That's why we kept our name," Andres says.