An afternoon at Chado Tea

L. and E. took me out for an afternoon at Chado Tea in Hollywood.  Earlier this year, they gifted me with 3 delicious white teas from Chado: Rohini Estate silver tips (India), Avongrove Estate silver pearls (India), and Yin Zhen silver needles (China).  I am still enjoying those teas!

I didn’t know what to expect from Chado Tea, especially when I found out it was located inside a shopping mall!   I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a urban chic tea room decorated in rich hues of brown and wood paneling.  Unlike every other tea room I’ve visited, all the employees at Chado Tea were male, which is unusual in my experience.  I rarely see male customers at tea rooms, let alone employees.

We shared 4 types of tea: Keemun Sechrna (a Chinese black tea), an iced white raspberry champagne tea, butterscotch black tea, and an expensive Chinese smoked black tea that I cannot remember the name of.  I have to say that I didn’t like any of the teas!  The one I liked best was the butterscotch tea.  All the teas tasted bitter to me and the expensive smoked tea tasted like a leather shoe.  The Keemum did not taste “chocolaty” or “smooth” as described in the tea menu.  I was disappointed in their teas since I enjoy Chado’s white teas when I brew them at home.  Is it possible that they did not brew the the teas at the proper temperature?!  That doesn’t seem right.  😦

Close up of the kitty cat guarding the teapot!  Besides sitting pretty, its job is also to catch drips.

Photo by E.

Our first course was the scone.  Chado offered 3 varieties: plain cream, ginger apricot, and cranberry orange.  I enjoyed their scones which were warm and slightly crisp on the outside and biscuit-like on the inside.

Scone course: Scones with jam and homemade Chado cream with fresh strawberries

The sandwich course was next.  I appreciated that they used tea in their sandwiches–it’s a great concept that I wish more tea rooms would employ but regretfully I didn’t really taste the tea.  Their sandwiches were okay but I had a gripe for each one …

Sandwich course (clockwise, left to right):

Smoked salmon open face on dark rye bread with cream cheese, slice of lemon and dill (gripe: the cream cheese layer was almost non-existent so it was a little dry.  Also the slice of lemon should have been paper-thin so it could be eaten without feeling like the enamel was peeling off my teeth!)

Limerick: English cucumber served on buttered bread and decorated with cream cheese and green onions (gripe: the bread did not seem buttered so it was a bit dry.  I really liked the addition of the cream cheese and green onions garnishing the outside edge of the sandwich but it was garnished only on one side!  Perhaps the chef intended each bite to be different but I felt cheated of cream cheese and onions)

Punjab Egg salad: Eggs marinated in Lapsang souchong tea, with mayonnaise and green onions (gripe: Using tea eggs in an an egg salad is a brilliant idea!  But unlike Chinese tea eggs which are flavorful, I didn’t taste the tea here and thought the egg salad was bland.  Maybe some curry powder or salt would have helped!)

Chado Souchong chicken: Smoked chicken, cranberry and mayonnaise spread (gripe: It was aesthetically pleasing, but again bland!  Tea houses in general need to learn how to make proper chicken salad from my friend, T., who makes THE best chicken salad and an even BETTER curry chicken salad!  T., you need to open your own tea room!  I’ve been spoiled by your chicken salad).

Dessert course: Chocolate cake, lemon cake, banana walnut cake, and shortbread cookie

Finally, dessert.  The cakes were decent–moist and not too sweet.  I even enjoyed the thin shortbread and I’m pretty picky about shortbread.  All in all, I had an enjoyable experience at Chado Tea.  I was a bit surprised that they did not offer a fruit course (just a few sliced strawberries in the cream) but it wasn’t bad for $18/person.

“I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.”

― Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

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