A few months ago, a new restaurant opened in Chinatown, this time a tea parlour that serves Taiwanese fare in a 1920’s glamorous setting!
The tea list consists of two cold and nine hot teas, with flavour descriptions such as having a slight taste of “yams.” They served the tea in a ceramic cup, already brewed, but also bring you a small teapot with tea inside (empty) and a large carafe of hot water, so that you can reserve yourself tea (I had another four servings… and it didn’t seem like it made even a dent in the water!)
I have to say, the lady that was my waitress was fantastic. The menu is large and quite ecclectic, with small bites, dumplings and different types of animal jerkies to start. She did an excellent job of navigating me through the menu, giving suggestions and making sure I didn’t over-order!
She suggested I try both the eel with tomato and the whipped cod roe on prawn toast to start, as those were her favourites (and two starters are good for one person).
I went for the tomato with smoked eel, which was incredible. Funnily enough, while I like eel, what was really good here was the tomato, apparently it comes from France and is much more flavourful… either way, the taste of that sweet tomato in the chili oil was such a treat! The texture of the eel was also good, but I didn’t find it especially noticeable next to the tomato.
Then, I went for the Xian Bing dumplings, pork dumplings pan-fried and served with a vinegar and chili oil. The waitress warned me that they are made with a tiny bit of broth, so to be careful when i bit into them… which I did tentatively… and they still squirted, a lot! The second dumpling squirted halfway across the room… oops. But the taste of the dumplings was good, pork with a bit of spring onion and coriander, with a nice pan-fried taste of the pancake outside.
The chilli egg-drop crab was something else… white and brown crabmeat in the shell, served with salmon roe, egg drop sauce, red chili, fermented shrimp, and garlic, the sauce was as delicious as the crab was, having a thick, but almost tomatoey consistency.
The waitress had recommended the white rice with this dish (and I listened, instead of ordering the mushroom glutinous rice), and she was right, there was no need for a flavourful rice with this dish, but more of a base or palate on which to eat these tasty bits.. Yum.