I don’t share my husband’s idea of indulgence. He has a passion for mountainous walks and I prefer spas. He has a penchant for sushi bars whilst I’m fond of afternoon teas. So for my birthday I was surprised that he decided to take me to afternoon tea at Teanamu Chaya Teahouse. He had obviously done his homework as this was the first time I had heard of this place. To my surprise the Teahouse was list as one of London’s Ten Best Afternoon Teas for 2015 by The Telegraph and also highly rated by Daily Mail, Evening Standard and Time Out to name a few.
Unbeknown to my husband, the Teahouse is tucked away in a residential area of Notting Hill so finding it was a little tricky. I could see my husband putting on a brave face as if he had everything in control! All credit to him, he got out the car and eventually found it on foot. Walking up to the Teahouse, was like waking up to a rich aunt’s townhouse for tea. It wasn’t just the exterior either. The Teahouse was cleverly been set up in the living room of a Georgian townhouse. As we walked through the doors I felt like I was instantly transported from the streets of Notting Hill to the backstreets of Beijing. It was the aroma of tea leaves and warm dim sum filled the air coupled with the plucking of strings of a Chinese classical piece. Seeing the other well-heeled patrons brought me quickly back to west London though. The owners had clearly thoughtfully sourced authentic furniture from China to decorate the Teahouse. Every detail and every feature had a place. It reminded me of the pieces we saw at Panjiayuan Antique Market.
It is recommended to reserve in advance as the capacity couldn’t have been more than 10 seats. You are asked to choose from two set menus in advance. The food was all vegetarian without the use of alcohol and made fresh on the premises. The open sandwiches and the patisserie selection are created uniquely infusing unusual flavours they work deliciously. The glutinous rice wrap takes longer to prepare and is traditionally cooked with a pork filling. I’ve cooked steamed glutinous rice parcels at home and they are a long laborious process, needless to say I don’t cook them very often.
The tea is served traditionally in the style of a tea ceremony with all the Gongfu pieces you would use back in China. Tea is brewed to perfection and there are staff on hand to explain and advise more about what to choose from their wide selection.
Teanamu Chaya Teahouse is a place that deserves a second visit. I cannot wait to go back again. It is a unique and dare I say, a hidden gem in London (quite literally!) but maybe next time I won’t take my husband.
-Wakame seaweed brown bread open sandwiches
– Garlic miso-pickled cream cheese with cucumber & shichimi pepper
– Kumquat ginger preserve and mature cheddar
– Chilli bamboo shoots on egg mayonaise
– Lo mai fan lotus leaf rice parcel
– Vegetarian dumplings with sze chuan chilli oil
– Snow skin marzipan with guava
– Szechuan peppercorn & peanut honeycomb
– Nutty choccy soft-set fudge
– Mango seed cake
-Warm scone with clotted cream & rose petal jam
Teanamu Chaya Teahouse
14A St Luke’s Road
London W11 1DP
Opening hours – reservation only
12 noon to 6pm. Saturdays to Sundays