On a quiet residential road near Notting Hill, the beautiful Teanamu Chaya Teahouse exists, hidden amongst towering Victorian houses. The Teahouse is actually Pei’s (the owner) house and we were warmly welcomed inside his small and cosy kitchen area with five tables in it. On arrival, we were given a list of probably thirty teas to choose from. As you can imagine, it was an extremely difficult decision to choose the perfect tea. Which is why it was useful when Pei asked if we wanted any help choosing, which we definitely did! But, not before he asked us two questions. Firstly, if we ever got cold hands or feet, even in summer. It was asked to find out if we were a Yin or Yang person, of which I discovered, I am a Yin because I have continually cold feet and hands all year round. And secondly, if we have any flavour teas we particularly like, to which I answered chai. So, as a cold handed Yin who likes Chai tea, I was recommended the exotic Lychee tea, with an added star anise and cloves, for a chritstmassy taste. It was delicious! I will definitely be going back for that…and probably buying some Lychee tea leaves next time I’m there.
We ordered the Dim Sum which contained two dumplings (with a chilly on top that I ate whole, not quite anticipating the strength of the chilly, queue coughing fit and watering eyes) and a leaf parcel with soft, sticky rice and nuts. Again, delicious! For desert, a mango cake, with a runny mango sauce lightly drizzled over the top. Mmmmmm… interestingly, it appeared that there was no food already prepared, everything was made in front of us in the kitchen by Pei and his partner. So much care and effort was put into service, it was refreshing to see a service that is home-made and fresh – not forced or pretentious.
The presentation was delicate and detailed, every table laid out symmetrically and coordinated; attentive owners made the experience personal. After inquiring about how the chinese tea pots were made, Pei came over to our table to tell us how and gave us one of his books to look at which described the process of making chinese teapots. He even offered to translate the book for us, as it was all written in chinese. Time was made for every customer in the Teahouse.
There was no rushing to get our money and free up our table, it was slow-paced and relaxing. The best service and tea I’ve ever had.