One recent rainy evening – and there’s been a lot of those, huh? – Beer Boor and I met up for afternoon tea at my request. Gotta love friends who indulge your whimsy, right?
I chose Cha An not just because it’s been on my radar for a while, but because after my research into where we should go, I couldn’t find a place with a justifiable cost to their tea service (that I hadn’t already been to and/or that seemed like something I’d want to eat). Cha An’s tea service (served until 7pm) is only $18, comes with tea (and apparently, as many infusions as you’d like; even after we’d paid our check and were just lingering over our tea while chatting, the waitress came to ask us if we wanted another infusion!), and … well, just keep reading. The above: our two tea choices; I went with silver needle as I’d had it before and enjoy its light taste, while Beer Boor went with Dragon Well, a green tea that I found to be fairly light as well, not too bitter. Our tea was infused one cup at a time, ensuring that it never went cold.
The first part of our tea service: two mini bagel sandwiches. Beer Boor remarked to me that he didn’t realize bagels were a part of Asian cuisine, and I shrugged. These weren’t entirely NY-bagel-like, though still good, nice and chewy. The left was smoked salmon, mustard cream and watercress; I enjoyed this one though the fillings were uneven (the watercress entirely in the back, the salmon entirely in the front, the mustard cream oozing everywhere). On the right was a mini bagel boasting raspberry cream, which was light, almost like a butter really, with only the faintest taste of raspberry to it. Both sandwiches were quite dense, leading me to give up eating pretty quickly – I didn’t want to fill up on them and not have room for what was next.
What was next? Trays of goodies, of course! Lovely baked goods that made my face light up at the sight of them – yum!
I didn’t photograph Beer Boor’s entire tray – after he’d gloated when the sandwiches arrived, “You don’t have to take a picture of mine, nyah nyah!” I figured he didn’t want me to, so hmph – but there was one difference the waitress pointed out to us. In the center of his tray was snuggled a green tea cake, whereas in the middle of mine was
a passion fruit cake. Of course we still split both! and the green tea cake was slightly bitter from the green tea, very moist, also dense – and I liked it quite a lot, though some bites bordered on almost too bitter. The passion fruit cake had bits of fruit in the center, and was also very moist. I liked the crunch on top, but much preferred the green tea to the passion fruit.
On the right was a heavy cake, almost like a pound cake but not quite as buttery nor sweet… just wonderful. I really enjoyed this piece and gobbled it all down before even realizing it was gone. Hehe! The macaron next to it, however… well, the shell was way too thin and delicate to comfortably be a true macaron, as it shattered in Beer Boor’s grip and dissolved in my mouth immediately. Oddly, in the very center of the cream in mine, there was a bit of what tasted like preserved lemon peel; it was bitter and bright-tasting, which was pleasant for all of 30 seconds. I ate half of the macaron, and put it down to finish the meal – a sort of palate cleanser, I suppose.
Chocolate scone on the right, and on the left a tea-scented scone. Both were very good, with a crunchy crust from huge sugar crystals that coated them, and even better with the blueberry preserves and whipped cream we’d been given to spread on each. Moist, and very tasty. I liked, and I know Beer Boor also enjoyed them greatly.
Yvo says: Cha An is a lovely place to spend a rainy afternoon – solo (with a good book, perhaps?) or with a friend. Our service was lovely, everything we ate was tasty, and while some of the other items on the menu appear a bit pricy, I’m sure they are tasty as well. I will definitely be back when I need a peaceful moment to myself.