Smith & Hsu
Add*: No.33, Section 5, Zhong Xiao East Road, Taipei 台北市忠孝東路五段33號
Tel: (02) 2747 4857
Price: [tea] 180~690 NTD [afternoon tea sets] 235~1120 NTD [salads & sandwiches] 160~220 NTD
There’s not much to complain about Smith & Hsu other than the fact that it’s almost always packed. Though the original aim of the tea shop is to create a space where one could enjoy tea in a comfortable and relaxed environment, Smith & Hsu is so popular that you can barely get a peace of mind. Irregardless, this place serves soothing tea and delicious scones, so why not give it a try?
*Multiple locations, check website for more info.
Upon seated, we were presented with a myriad of tea samples on a tray. It’s an amusing and somewhat overwhelming experience as I opened bottles after bottles, smelling blends after blends with intriguing names like “Pearls of the River Nile“, “Exquisite with Raspberry“, and “Rose of the Orient“. Can’t decide what to pick? Don’t worry, it’s part of the fun.
Once my fickle mind is settled, the chosen blend came in a cute little tea pot, perfectly steeped.
There are also a few cheaper options to choose from for those who just want a “cup” instead of a “pot”. Here’s a Osmanthus Dong Ding Ooling 桂花凍頂烏龍蜜茶 (130 NTD).
Kir Royal Fruit Tea 皇家基爾水果冰茶 (130~160 NTD).
Smith & Hsu has the reputation of having the best scones in town. If memory serves correctly (I tried the scones almost 2 years ago), these buttery delights, accompanied by Devonshire cream and jam, were indeed very satisfying with crispy crusts and moist centers. There’s also an English Afternoon tea set (1120 NTD) which includes the additional cakes, cookies, finger sandwiches, but the general consensus is that these are not especially worthwhile.
When in the mood for something more substantial, choose from their selection of sandwiches and salads. Though I’ve personally never tried this, I heard the Sandwich with Smoked Chicken, Mango, and Cream Cheese is quite delicious. Here are the tuna salad, and the grilled chicken salad:
If you don’t mind the crowd, Smith & Hsu is a nice go-to place for tea, scones, or a light meal. Just make sure you call ahead and reserve a table.