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Chai: Adventures in tea
The first adventure here is to navigate your way through an
eclectic (some might say bizarre) cultural buffet of
uncomfortable-looking furniture which greets you as you enter. We
neglected the wooden ottomans, low poufs and contemporary
wicker in favour of a divan by a pillar and some high backed
thrones. Also unusual - although perhaps the mode this far North -
was the presence of a pleasingly well-stocked bar, serving a range
of promising-looking tea-infused cocktails served (from what we
could gather) from breakfast onwards. So far so good. Rough little
brown tea pots arrived which were disobedient to the point of
stubbornness and sat on weighty brown perforated trays which
enjoyed more of the excellent brews than we did. There's a large
range of (mostly) China tea including some personal favourites like
Silver Needle and more exotic sounding specimens like White
Monkey, both of which we sampled and neither of which
disappointed one little bit - even at 3.50 a pop (this sort of price
scheme does actually make sense if you plump for multiple
infusions which they were happy to do for us at no extra cost).
There was a choice array of bar snacks but slightly lacklustre
collection of cakes; it pays to ask though because I was brought
some wonderfully light oven-fresh scones, scalding to the touch
and steaming to the tear. To accompany them, butter in place of
clotted cream (unexpected in the nation that proudly calls itself
Congenital Heart Disease home) and a plummy raspberry jam.
Perhaps we were unrealistic to hope that the "adventure" we had
been promised would include elephants and dancing bears, and
the tatty laminated menus looked a little out of place but the
concept's sound and you'll eat and drink in style.
Chai: adventures in tea,
3a Merchant Street,
Old Town,