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‘Afternoon Tea’ Category

  1. Yauatcha Tea

    February 18, 2012 by Dini

    Dim Sum Tea-time

    15th February 2012

    Walking through Soho, hunger panged at tea-time, having had an ‘experience‘ earlier in the day, I wanted to resuscitate my birthday’s dining experiences. What better way than going to Yauatcha for some calming afternoon tea and at least there, I had a Michelin star reassurance and a wooing promise of cake…

    Arriving at 15.30, I was surprised that five tables were occupied, with late lunches and those like myself wanting tea. I didn’t have the time or the inclination for full-on afternoon tea as already had a dinner reservation elsewhere, so opted for tea, dim sum and cake. Service was spot on, slick, attentive and friendly – just what I wanted.

    Condiments arrived at the table (these were complimentary: chilli, seafood, soy sauces and a delicious sweet pickled cucumber).

    I recall a few years ago when I dined at Ping Pong these were chargeable, much to my horror, if this has changed now (I stand corrected). My dim sum arrived promptly, before my tea in fact. These were from the A la Carte menu’s steamed section, the Har gau (£5 for 3) were plump with a juicy prawn filling.

     The billowy Char sui buns (£3.80) had a delicious, sticky pork filling.

    The tea menu showcased a plethora of options: Chinese, Taiwanese, Indian and Sri Lankan teas. I opted for cleansing tea (Silver Needle from Fujian, China, at £7.40 per pot).

    I knew this would be gentle in flavour and calming, as I’d sampled similar at Teanamu’s tea-house.

    To finish my tea experience, I opted for a Coconut Charlotte. To be frank, I could have opted for any of the desserts as the descriptions all sounded tempting. Whilst waiting, I took a quick look at the Pattiserie counter (for dining display and takeaway), which was an absolute delight, so many beautiful colours and delicate combinations.

    I was told that these were made off-site in London, at a hub for the Hakkasan group and delivered daily (morning and afternoon for service).

    When I recieved my Chalotte, it still had the card placemat, as from the counter. I would have preffered this to have been removed, so diving into it on the plate was easier and nicer on the eye.

     The Charlotte was like a white-chocolate génoise, with a coconut cream exterior and a mango filling that oozed out, when sliced. It was so light and decadent to eat, if I didn’t have a  dinner reservation, I’d have easily have ordered more.

    All in all, my day was resurrected, with good service, well executed dishes and calm. I think my experience could have only have been improved, by changing the music selection. Yauatcha had the music on very loud and it was very bass-heavy. Hey-ho, one can’t have everything, if the quality of food supercedes the music (as it did) I’m fine with that. I’m definately returning for more…

     
    Yauatcha: 15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1F 0DL
    Tel: 020 7494 8888
    Website: http://www.yauatcha.com/

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  2. Chaya Teahouse Afternoon Tea

    January 1, 2012 by Dini

    Sabi set tea

    High Tea with Teanamu

    Numerous visits in 2011

    I heard about the Teanamu Chaya Tea house via twitter. This was a lucky find, because I found a lovely tea house that offers me serenity and escapism at the weekends and because the host and owner (Pei Wang) is utterly charming. Pei, I’ll term as a ‘Tea Master’ is Singaporean of origin, but has travelled extensively around Asia in the quest to learn more about Tea. Everytime I visit the teahouse, I always come away learning new facts or just simply listening to his tales of wonder. I also take delight in taking a peek at the many tea’s he collects, such as vintage Pu Erh’s .

    The tea house is full of dainty tea sets, teapots and water vessels of all varieties. Pei holds both Tea Appreciation classes and Cooking classes here, to share and impart his worldly knowledge. He trained at the Cordon Bleu cookery school, so he uses his skills and knowledge from his travels to create unique, fusion sweet and savoury tea treats.

    I tend to go around lunchtime and order the Wabi Tea Set (which includes a tea selection, x2 savoury items and x3 items from the sweets selection, for £13). This set, is filling and ticks all the boxes for Lunch or an Afternoon Tea. It does get busy, now that word has spread, so best to book in advance. This also gives Pei notice, as to how many to cater for. Everything is made fresh for the weekend and he purposefully creates vegetarian dishes (so that he can cater to all, however is flexible to cater for allergies/intolerences too).

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    Some of my Savoury Favourites:

    • Lo mai fan with braised shitake mushroom and aduki beans, wrapped in lotus leaves. (Steaming parcels that I love tearing open with Korean chopsticks, unveiling the glutinous rice and juicy legumes.)
    • ‘Cheong Fun’ rolls with Vegetarian Char Siew (Slightly tricky to handle with chopsticks but a lovely dish using Quorn, with a kick from the red chilli garnish).
    • Homemade Oolong noodles with piquant Hunan style sauce, vegetarian dumplings and pickles (Silky noodles coated in the spicy sauce, with tangy pickles)

     

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    Some of my Sweet Favourites:

    • Chocolate fudge with goji berries (rich and truffle like in consistency, with a tangy burst from the berries)
    • Lychee Oolong tea sorbet with jelly (this is very sweet from the tea infusion, but the iciness of the smooth sorbet makes it sublime)
    • The rose petal jam served with clotted cream and scones (is outstanding, with an original twist to use rose petals)
    • My ultimate favourite, are the matcha macarons with yuzu buttercream (perfectly executed macarons that are light with a sumptuously oozing filling)

     

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    Alas, I’ve neglected to mention the star of the show, the ‘Tea’ (well apart from Pei, of course). Selections can be made from the menu, using descriptor cards or you can be guided by Pei. Options include Tisanes, Chinese and Taiwanese teas (you definately won’t be able to order a ‘Builder’s Brew’ here). I always end my set, with an additional bespoke Tisane called ‘8 Treasures’. Pei customises the recipe of this depending on the season and how you may be feeling (for instance whether you’re looking to be energised or relaxed). It’s a beautiful mix of floral and fruity ingredients that changes flavour, on every infusion.

    8 Treasures infusing

    8 Treasures infusing

     

    I think I’ve made it obvious, I really love this place. It’s a different take on high tea, not a staid formal tea that may be offered in a 4/5* hotel, but an enchanting and inspiring tea from the Orient. Perhaps, it is because I’m captivated by the whole drama of the tea ceremony, the nuances to be abided by. I somehow feel like I am transported to another place and not in London at all. Pei is a consummate host and guide into the world of tea and I am so pleased to have discovered his teahouse.

     
      
    Teanamu Chaya Teahouse: Coach House, 14a St Luke’s Road, W11 1DP
    Telephone number: 020 7243 0374
    Website: http://www.teanamu.com/