I have been going to T Bar for tea since I was a uni student (and they were in the David Jones food court), and one afternoon exploring in town I stopped by their store in Rundle Place for a snack. I love that you can both have their teas in store/takeaway and buy packets of their tea to brew yourself – T Bar was here before T2 and is still my favourite. On this occassion, I ordered an iced peach green tea and a lemon melting moment to dine in. The iced tea came out in a huge glass with lots of ice and fresh lemon slices inside – yum. The tea has a really lovely peach flavour without being too sweet; it’s well balanced with the sencha green tea flavour and doesn’t have an strong bitterness that some green teas have. The melting moment was buttery perfection – yes, it was small, but the luscious filling with a lemony tang and the crumbly, well-cooked biscuit were calories I won’t regret. The back of the store has a really nice seating area to enjoy your tea, and I’d love to come back for more substantial food and to relive my uni years again soon.
T Bar, Rundle Place, Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA, https://www.tbar.com.au/
#sweetweek continues in Sydney! The Rabbit Hole is such a delightful place – offering a huge range of organic teas, plus a cabinet full of sweets and a brunch menu, there’s something here for everyone. I started out with a cup of choc orange fudge tea (with soy milk), which was served in the cutest little cup, with a white rabbit etched into it – the handle was the rabbit’s fluffy tail! Adorable. Given the scent was so sweet, I added sugar to the tea so that the flavour matched my nose’s expectations – with this tweak, I enjoyed the quite large cup. The first sweet was a piece of lavender shortbread, iced and topped with edible flowers. The shortbread was so thin and crumbly that you could almost imagine all of the butter within. The icing added another level of sweetness, although I didn’t really pick up any lavender flavour. To match with the tea, I also had a chocolate orange whoopie pie (kind of like a soft Butterbing), which was the perfect pairing. The chocolate cake-bit was so soft and spongy, and the orange-flavoured cream inside had a great citrus flavour. Certainly not your traditional desserts, but lovely nonetheless.
The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, 146 Abercrombie Street, Redfern, NSW, http://www.therabbithole.com.au/
I’d never heard of Spats when my friend suggested we stop in, but was happy to roll with it given how similar our tastes are in dining venues. Spats announces itself as ‘Adelaide’s first and finest dessert lounge’, and not having a point of comparison, I’m inclined to agree. The store is wonderfully cozy, with dim lighting (chandeliers, candles!), red walls and velvet drapes creating a sense of quiet buzz that is rare in this world of wood and tile-floored restaurants. We were seated on couches under the stairs – despite being a small place, there’s plenty of space between tables for privacy. We ordered a sticky date pudding to share and couldn’t have picked a better dish on a chilly night. The slice of cake was just the right size to share, served with a large scoop of vanilla icecream and a jug of butterscotch sauce. The cake itself was so fluffy and was served warm, as was the rich butterscotch sauce which was quickly absorbed into the cake. I was delighted that the cake was light rather than dense and the chopped dates inside were divine. Great service, atmosphere and cake? Definitely a winning combination.
Spats Coffee Lounge, 108 King William Road, Goodwood SA, no website
It’s hard to keep up with all the new cafes opening in Canberra, but when I heard about Muse, a cafe/restaurant/bookshop, it went to the top of the list. We booked in on a Sunday morning and were all delighted by the space; despite the industrial feel with concrete floors, it wasn’t very noisy and fresh flowers added a nice style element. The menu had some exciting options, and I went with the most unusual – brown rice with avocado, beef tapa, chilli jam and a fried egg. As it came to the table, we could all smell the garlic rice aroma and I was delighted to see that the dish looked like bibimbap. I wasn’t disappointed flavour-wise – the beef was a bit sweet and tender, the fried egg was oozy and salty, and the garlic rice was a dream. I appreciated the fresh carrot to break up the heaviness of the rest of the dish. Our drinks arrived much later than our food, but I loved my fresh lemon and ginger tea – it was literally those two things in hot water and was the perfect digestive at the end of a lovely breakfast. I can’t wait to come back!
Muse, East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston ACT http://www.musecanberra.com.au/#welcome
One of the best things about visiting Tokyo is getting to catch up with old friends. On this visit, my friend suggested meeting at Afternoon Tea in Marunouchi, near Tokyo station. We arrived to find an elegant cafe with a great view out over the city – the tables had fresh green flowers on them and the seats were welcoming and comfortable. There’s also a lovely homewares store out the front of the cafe, which we spent some time browsing afterwards. There was plenty to choose from on the menu, but having already had lunch, we decided to stick with the drinks (although the scones sounded tempting!). After much deliberation, I chose the orange iced tea, which was an earl grey mixed with orange. It came out and immediately looked refreshing with a vibrant orange colour, a segment of orange and a sprig of mint on top. Given how warm the day was this was exactly what the doctor ordered. The flavour was stronger on the orange than the earl grey and was quite sweet. I couldn’t imagine a better setting in this city for afternoon tea or meeting lovely friends.
Afternoon Tea, 4F Shin-Marunouchi Building, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Japan http://www.afternoon-tea.net/
Stopping in at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms is becoming a Melbourne tradition for me. I am completely in love with their window display and their William Morris wallpaper, and I could happily spend days working my way through the tea menu. On this occassion, I met a friend and we managed to get a table without having to queue. The line grew quickly after we were seated, though, so you have to either time your visit well or be prepared to wait. I started with a pot of Buddha’s Finger tea – oolong with peach characteristics. The tea was strongly flavoured, and, as with all of their teas, best consumed fairly quickly, as it started to go bitter as it cooled. I couldn’t resist a big slice of cake, so picked the raspberry sponge as my snack – the piece was quite large and full of cream. The raspberries on top and throughout were plump and fresh, and added a nice tartness to the overall sweetness of the slice. The sponge was lovely and moist, and the raspberry coulis served on the side was divine. Everything here – from the cake to the decor – is lovely.
Hopetoun Tea Rooms, Block Arcade, 282 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC http://www.hopetountearooms.com.au
After an amazing dinner on Pontocho-dori, we wandered across the river to Gion, Kyoto’s famous geisha quarter, also famed for its tea stores. I had a real craving for icecream, and was a bit sad to see so many stores closed for the night along Shijo-dori, the main street. But when I spotted a couple of people walking along with soft serves in hand, we kept going and eventually found Ujicha Gion Tsujiri serving take aways. Yes! I hadn’t had many traditional-flavoured icecreams on this trip, so I picked the more exotic of the two options – hojicha, rather than the standard matcha. Hojicha is a green tea that’s been roasted over charcoal, giving it a more complex, smoky flavour. This was evident even from the colour, which was more a khaki than bright green. I absoutely loved it. The flavour had more bitterness than your standard icecream, but the roasted flavour really added a lot of depth and it tasted like what I imagine tea with cream would be like. The texture was rich and creamy, as soft serves should be, and I devoured the little cupful happily.
Ujicha Gion Tsujiri, 573-3 Gionmachi Minamigawa Shijo Dori Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto http://www.giontsujiri.co.jp/gion/store/kyoto_gion/#_=_