Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Urban Tea Merchant - Sakura Westcoast Tea


I've already been to The Urban Tea Merchant for the "Classic Signature Tea Service" ($48), but I felt the need to write another post after my recent visit. This time I decided to try the "Sakura Westcoast Tea Service" ($30; min 2 people) in light of the sakura season. It's only available until April 30, but it will be back again next year. We were lucky to get a window seat with an unobstructed view of the cherry blossom trees in the courtyard. With the pale pink flower petals drifting down slowly, carried by a gentle breeze, the scene really looked like something from a dream.


Just like the "Classic Signature Tea Service", the "Sakura Westcoast Tea Service" started with a glass of chilled tea. The blend was a new green tea called "Sakura! Sakura!". (Yes with the exclamation marks.) It was light and refreshing, though not as fragrant as the 1837 white tea I had last time.


The tea service includes a $6 credit for tea which is a reasonable amount since most teas are around that price range. I noticed something about the tea that I hadn't noticed before; it didn't get richer no matter how long I left it in the pot. Then I realized that there were no tea leaves inside. The tea was brewed in the kitchen and new tea leaves were used for every refill. Even the milk was served warm with frothy foam. Talk about care to detail!


The following picture shows the amount of food for 2 people. I was very impressed with the presentation — such a vibrant clash of colours. I didn't think the portion would be enough for a satisfying lunch, but I was actually quite full from the food, especially after drinking a couple pots of tea.


Starting from the upper right in an anticlockwise direction:
savouries:
- open-faced smoked salmon & wasabi aioli with in-house ponzu jelly
- miso-maple glazed sable fish wrapped in butter lettuce
- spring rice roll with honey & balsamic, shiitake mushroom and crisp vegetables, topped with Japanese fish crackers
- crisp soba noodles with tangy seaweed salad and sesame crumble
sweets:
- tea-infused chocolate truffle, chevron strawberry, TWG Tea infused macaron
- green tea-infused melon, watermelon and tea jelly on seaweed

The plate was also decorated with edible spring flowers that added a nice touch to the presentation. Everything was so delicious that I couldn't pick a favourite. Though I should note that the macaron was the best I've had. It had a crispy shell, followed by a light and airy interior and a chewy yet not-too-sticky filling.


The Urban Tea Merchant is one of my favourite afternoon tea places despite the high price tag, and for good reason too. Every aspect of the experience was perfect from the taste and the presentation to the service. I would say this tea salon is the best choice for celebrating special occasions.

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2 comments:

Peter on April 13, 2012 3:04 pm said...

Hey, I've been there! But I didn't take any pictures so I'll have to revisit them sometime. Pretty pricy place, but nice nonetheless. Saw a glass tea pot I really wanted, but it was $350 :(

krispymilk on April 14, 2012 12:25 am said...

@Peter: How can you have afternoon tea at The Urban Tea Merchant and NOT take pictures?! The food just looks so pretty :) I agree it's quite expensive... but well worth the money (especially if you have something to celebrate).

$350 for a teapot?! It must be really fancy. I have my eyes on one of those Japanese cast iron teapots. I saw a nice one in Seattle, but it was around $160. Not as expensive as the one you want, but still more than I can justify spending on a teapot.

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