Friday, July 18, 2008

The Teatotalling Tea Party, at T2 Teahouse Macquarie

If you think he's heartbreaking in picture, just try and meet him in person. Romace (macey) is the redheaded, hilarious son of my oldest friend in the world, Amanda. Not only does he come up with random one liners every 5 minutes or so ("dessert is what we have after dinner"), he sports some of the most adorable cheeks you will ever see. He's a fairly discerning little chap, and I didn't just want to take him out for cupcakes anywhere, so off we headed to the T2 Teahouse in Macquarie shopping center. But before I tell you about all the glorious caking we got up to, there's a little thing I have to mention, very, very quietly.
Macey's face best sums it up: the only thing I don't really like about T2 is the tea. Most people enjoy the flavours that T2 offers, and the company has done a great job of making tea accessible to a coffee adoring culture, heck, they even use bonsoy here. Still, I haven't had a really fine cup of tea here yet, and i've tried about 6 or 7 different types and experimented with some T2 teas at home over the years. It's just not my brand, the flavours taste synthetic and the tea itself a bit dull, but that said, I do know alot of people that really enjoy their blends. If you're not really into tea then the brews will suffice, but if you've been drinking it for a while and are able to detect differences in quality, then this tea might not impress.
The range on offer is however, very impressive. Furthermore, how tea tastes is only half the fun, it's the art of drinking it in the right way, from that anglophilic spot in your heart, with all the little shiny silver implements, in a gorgeous setting, accompanied by the decadence of teenytinyprettysweetthings. The T2 Teahouse gets this so right. The drama created by the colourful pots and slashings of red against the imposing black backdrop certainly takes you out of the mood of a soulless suburban shopping center into a cavernous interplay between shadow and light. Macey loves cavernous interplays between shadow and light.
The banana cakes and carrot cakes, little muffin like jobs with fancy hairdos, are dense, creamy and luscious treats. The macaroons are divine. Even the two gluten free loaf breads are pleasant offerings, if only a little too sweet for me. There's baklava, friands, muffins, tortes..you get the idea.
Amanda enjoyed some gorgeous scones with jam and cream, they're little bite sized scones, not the big filling ones you normally receive, the daintiness of them is pretty kitschy. I have tried the little finger sandwiches they sell, which are absolutely wonderful in a rich type of way, they cut the crusts off though, so your hair will never grow curly.
The "Ultimate Chai" on their menu (do those inverted commas look snide? heh), is a favourite with many. They brew it with milk and a generous dollop of honey and serve it in a very tall glass. I've tried the rooibos here, the organic jasmine (which I ask them to make half strength) and the buddahs tears. They're fairly decent teas. If you have never tried tea before and want to take a chance, this is a relatively safe place to do it. The young staff are lovely and accommodating, you can tell them what type of flavours you do or don't like and they'll take the time to help you select a tea. Perie loves the white tea with mint. Every tea is for sale in the retail outlet directly opposite the teahouse, they also sell some of the covetable cups, saucers, teapots and strainers you are served with. The furniture is comfortable and regal, it's a beautiful space to catch up with friends or to read or write (or cram facts about the male reproductive system 20 minutes before your anatomy exam).
I love how whimsical the place is, you really do feel like you're somewhere special when you come here. It very faintly reminds me of my favourite tea place, Alice's Tea Cup in New York, in that it is so counter coffee culture. Coffee is usually about speed and buzziness. Tea is an experience, a ritual of gathering moments, something to be savoured over, something slow and redolent of times gone by. It's a beautiful anachronism, and one we seem to be coming back to. That's little Zac on the left, if he could read this post, he'd probably say the same about breast milk.


T2 Teahouse.
At: Shop 440 Macquarie Shopping Center, level 4, near the cinema.
Ph: 9888 3665

1 comment:

karen said...

Agree about the teas tasting a bit synthetic - I thought it was just me. I also find alot of the blends sickly sweet. I have found a favourite in the white jasmine though.