(THE SUNDAY NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Nestled at the end of Soi Thonglor 15 in Bangkok is The Tea House, a sanctuary offering folks a break from the urban bustle. It boasts an impressive glasshouse, the most refined tea and flavourful temptations both sweet and light.
Opened late last year, the tearoom is decked out with antique furniture, chandeliers and porcelain and has the vibe of French classicism with its canvas wallpaper adorned with European artworks. The design concept is by celebrated clothing designer Somchai Songwatana of FlyNow and the antiques on view come from the collection he shares with his co-owner, Karavee Wuthipong.
This is their third The Tea House. The first at F&N in Hua Hin and the other at Somchai’s Chang Chui “creative space” in Thon Buri have both enjoyed success, but Bangkok customers wanted one closer.
“Many customers asked us to open a branch in downtown Bangkok because they couldn’t get to Hua Hin or Chang Chui very often,” says assistant manager/designer Mintra Tiranaparin. “The Thonglor outlet can accommodate 40 diners and serves only premium Mariage Freres French tea and light meals.” That extends to eight choices – Marco Polo, Earl Grey Imperial, Rouge Bourbon, a L’Opera, Sur le Nil, Blanc & Rose, Darjeeling Himalaya and Vert Provence. Each costs 220 baht (S$9.25) a pot.
“The executive selection – which is available only at this branch – is Vert Provence,” says Ms Mintra. “It’s a green tea blended with fruit from Provence, so it has an intense flowery scent – the mellow aroma of lavender and the sweetness of rose petals.”
The afternoon tea set for two costs 950 baht. With two glasses of sparkling wine added, it is 1,550 baht. You get a tea of your choice and a three-tier tray holding two croissants, two butterfly-shaped mini-palmiers, three choquettes, chocolate crackers, Earl Grey and passion-fruit macaroons, and five pieces of cakes that change according to the chef’s recommendation.
The day I visited, there was a chocolate tart, pointe cocoa, pointe apricot, feuillantine and red-berry cake. The sweets are also available in larger sizes, costing 90 to 120 baht apiece.
“The raw materials come from Europe and the recipes from French pastry chefs,” says Ms Mintra. “We use the finest cheese from Poitou-Charentes in central western France, which has a fine taste and is made using traditional methods.”
Also worth trying are the smooth and creamy custard Maxi Flan (120 baht), paired with the best-selling Blanc & Rose – a blend of white tea with tender oriental rosebuds – and Apple Turnover (90 baht), which is pure-butter puff pastry filled with Granny Smith apple from Normandy. There is coffee too – affogato, espresso, Americano, latte, cappuccino and caramel macchiato – available both hot and cold for 60 to 140 baht, and a refreshing Italian Soda with strawberry or mango passion (120 baht).
Also recommended is the Point Fruits Rouges Milk Shake (140 baht), a blend of red berries and milk topped with whipped cream and a small piece of pastry.
The savoury dishes include Smoked Duck Breast Salad (250 baht) with juicy and flavourful meat in red-berry sauce with imported, organic salad-leaves amid walnut and pomegranate seeds and balsamic dressing.
Perfect for sharing are Salami Pizza Tortillas (220 baht). The thin crust is stuffed with salami imported from Burgos in northern Spain, baby-tomato sauce and cheddar, Parmesan, gouda and mozzarella cheese.
Meat lovers must try the Tenderloin Beef Croissant (220 baht), for which the juicy and smoothly textured tenderloin is smoked over longan wood. You can also have the croissant stuffed with Iberico ham (290 baht) or Northern Thai-style spicy sai oua sausage (170 baht).
The Tea House is at the end of Soi Thonglor 15 off Sukhumvit Soi 55 in Bangkok. It is open daily from 10am to 7pm. Call (090)-645-9519.
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