Swanky All-Day Cafe Ushers in a New Guard of Casual Dining to Beverly Hills
Four blocks east of the Peninsula Beverly Hills and the Waldorf Astoria on Santa Monica Boulevard is newcomer Velverie Cafe and Teahouse. The European-style cafe opens today in the glitzy 90210 zip code where service includes coffee, champagne, cocktails, an all-day menu, a modern-retro interior, plus a new spin on afternoon tea.
Velverie’s home is in the former Sfixio restaurant space with a coat of bright paint for the former dark exterior stationed next door to the nearly 30-year-old Da Pasquale Trattoria. With a capacity for 55 diners, the earlier hours have full-service breakfast and brunch with pastries from Eagle Rock’s Sugarbloom Bakery along with Pitchoun Bakery, or items like a cacio e pepe on toast, or the poached egg tartine with onion jam, French ham, and frisee on croissant toast.
For lunch, there are salads and sandwiches including a spin on B.L.T.s with smoked bacon, gem lettuce, Dungeness crab salad, and heirloom tomato. If heading in for dinner, the menu’s got roasted chicken, steak frites, and free-range chicken milanese. Or, check the prime ribeye for two, followed by crostata, olive oil cake, or pot de creme for dessert. Chef Junior Perez developed the menu and previously worked with LA chef Celestino Drago at Cafe Vida and at Santa Monica’s now-closed Fraiche.
Velverie is the work of first-time restaurant owner Chloe Strumpf, who until recently had a career in marketing and PR. Her father is a contractor who built the space, with her mother an interior designer helping with the design. General manager Charli Weie comes with plenty of experience from Rich Table in San Francisco and the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach.
Strumpf wants to shift ideas surrounding tea service, describing it as “a modern take on afternoon tea.” It’s priced significantly lower than at the nearby Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel. Three options are available — 10 tea options (steeped with white or brown sugar), cafe Luxxe coffee, or a glass of Anna Cava Brut — paired with canapes. If that’s not in order, flat whites, cappuccinos, and matcha drinks are on hand. As are cocktails.
Velverie’s cocktail menu rings familiar for Los Angeles, but some surprises like the after-hours cocktail with vodka, coffee liqueur, oat milk, amaro, and cocoa nibs. There are daytime beverages like the bellini-like belleza with peach and prosecco, or just go full-in with one called the neighborhood soiree with vodka, honeydew, Aperol, and prosecco. The wine list includes natural and biodynamic wines as well.
Velverie isn’t trying to be a fancy add to the legendary neighboring spots like Crustacean, My Chow, or Wally’s; its shift into Beverly Hills parallels Vartan Abgaryan’s daytime restaurant Tommy’s Beverly Hills. “If someone feels intimidated to walk in, we’re doing something wrong,” says Strumpf. “I wanted to create a luxury experience, but accessible to all. Velverie is not fast-casual, it’s not fine dining. Everyone can have a special time and not be judged.”