Archive for the ‘green tea’ tag
Cha Cha Thé 采采食茶文化
Add: 23, Ln 219, Fuxing S Rd Sec 1, Taipei / 台北市復興南路一段219巷23號
Tel: (02) 2781 8289
Hours: 11:30am~10:00pm (afternoon tea 2:oopm~5:30pm)
Price: [Lunch] 790~990 NTD (+10%), [Afternoon Tea] 480~580 NTD (+10%)
Cha Cha Thé, one of my favorite spots in Taipei, is an elegant teahouse / restaurant by Shiatzy Chen. It is a center of calm admist the dizzying Taipei Eastern district, with beautiful interior design, tasteful merchandising, and soothing tea with dainty little bites to match. A perfect place for a quiet tête-à-tête.
A selection of merchandise is gracefully displayed on the walls.
Pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris 青木定治
Address: B2 Bella Vita, 28 Song Ren Rd., Taipei 台北市信義區松仁路28號B2樓
Tel: (02) 8729 2867
Price: [Cakes] 180~200 NTD, [Macarons] 80 NTD
If a pastry chef is ranked up there with such great figures as Pierre Herme, Jean Millet and Gaston Lenotre, you know for sure that he’s got something. Sadaharu Aoki is known for beautifully infusing Japanese ingredients and sensibilities into French confections, creating pastries, breads, and desserts that are a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. But as I sat myself down and dug into these alluring cakes and macarons at his new outpost in Taipei, I was disappointed.
But to start, the gorgeous display of macarons had me staring and drooling for quite a while.
I first tried bamboo, Aoki’s green tea rendition of the classic opéra. The biscuit and buttercream are infused with matcha powder so that the opéra becomes a stack of alternating green tea cake, chocolate ganache, and matcha buttercream. Not too shabby at all, but clearly not as stellar as what I would expect from a masterpiece that has garnered much fervent acclaim from food lovers in Paris and Tokyo. Surely it was a matter of quality consistency at the Taipei branch…?
Bamboo (Opéra au thé vert) 綠竹蛋糕, 190 NTD
Bamboo (Opéra au thé vert) 綠竹蛋糕
I then tried Valencia. A dramatic crown of candied kumquat sealed in a crystalized sugar web is immediately eye-catching. Beneath it is a citrus mousse with orange zest, a layer of chocolate cake, a milk chocolate mousse, a caramel-hazelnut praline, all on top of a crunchy almond crust. It’s a nice contrast of flavors and textures and is admittedly very beautiful. Still, I was not blown away.
Valencia 瓦倫西亞, 200 NTD
Cassis. Not much to say about this.
Cassis 黑醋栗蛋糕, 190 NTD
Lastly the macarons. The two I tried, raspberry and genmaicha, weren’t as good as the ones from Salon de The de Joël Robuchon right upstairs in the same building. The ganache was hard and its texture didn’t quite blend in with the shells, which were rather dry.
Front: raspberry macaron, back: genmai tea macaron
Am I about to equate Sadaharu Aoki with mediocrity? Of course not. I still have high hopes for his pastries in Paris and Tokyo, and am also willing to give the Taipei outpost another try perhaps a few more months later after it’s more established…
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Nakamura Tokichi (Main Store) 中村藤吉本店
Address: 10, Ichiban Uji , Uji-shi, Kyoto / 京都府宇治市宇治壱番十番地
Hours: [Tea Shop] 10:00am-6:00pm [Cafe] 11:00am-6:00pm
Price: [Set Meal] ¥980-1,100 [Desserts] ¥720-800
Uji, a tranquil and charming town 30 minutes outside of Kyoto, is known for having the best green tea in all of Japan. Among the many tea roasters and sellers, 150-year-old Nakamura Tokichi is especially well-known not just for serving excellent tea, but also a range of tea-flavored desserts that will delight even those who are not in the habit of tea drinking.
Nakamura Main Store
Cute little things in the garden
Brightly colored table mats
For lunch, we ordered a set of tea soba and a set of tea udon, each also including a bowl of seaweed-seasoned rice, pickles, and a cup of tea jelly dessert. The tea flavor was almost indiscernible and the noodles, while decent in flavor, are not really a destination in themselves. The miniature dessert, on the other hand, was a delightful cup of tea jelly, sweet red bean paste, and glutinous rice ball. I was absolutely convinced that I had to try their full-size desserts before I leave Uji.
Tokichi Udon Set 藤吉うどんセット¥980