Lots of Choice at the Urban Tea Merchant
It has been 4 weeks (and four of 19 tea lattes) since the Urban Tea Merchant opened its location on Georgia Street and last week with some extra days off was a great opportunity to try out the Tea Salon for lunch with a friend. We arrived right at noon and garnered a table for two by the window. The room is small with seating for only about 30 or 40 and while it was not busy there was a steady flow of patrons. We had two different servers attend to us and both were knowledgeable about the 200 plus tea selections on the menu as well as the food options.
From the Menu
We started with two of the 19 lattes, a Carpe Diem (rooibos flavored with strawberry and almonds) and a classic Chai. From the menu of appetizers, savories (mains) and sweets we chose to start with two appetizers to share. The Brie & Pear sandwich was served open faced with arugula on the side. The brie was very creamy and combined with basil mayonnaise was very good; it just would have been better if it had been warmed to melt the brie ever so slightly. The Macaroni and Fromages was rich, creamy and delicious and topped with sun-dried tomato crème fraiche sauce giving it an interesting twist. The portions of both were large enough to make a lunch for one but sharing was the way to go – both as an option to try two different items and also because the macaroni and cheese would have been a bit rich as a full portion.
Afternoon Tea Service
After lunch we each chose a tea from the very large list and a dessert. I chose the Pear & Almond Tart while Jacquie had the Pistachio Sour Cheery Tart. Both were made on a shortbread crust and were light enough to still enjoy after lunch. I chose a Black tea from Ceylon in Sri Lanka called Ivy Hills. It was good but I honestly have to say that I am not sure that I would be able to tell the difference between it and any other black tea. What I have learned is that there are more types of tea than I could ever have imagined and that tea, like wine, requires educating your palate to the different subtle flavors; and that tea, also like wine, is something that I will enjoy learning more about. While this is not a spot I would go for lunch regularly it is unique and would be a great place to bring visitors, either for lunch or for Afternoon Tea service. I will however, continue my weekly visit and mission to try all 19 lattes (five down, 14 to go with two of the matchas still the favorites).
Food – GOOD, Service – GOOD, Atmosphere – AVERAGE