Monday, January 15, 2007

Tea Time!

Image copyright Louisa McKenzie.
For those of us who dislike coffee, want a healthy drink or just love tea, the Tea Palace in Westbourne Grove, London is paradise. A restaurant and a shop for teas and tea related products, it stocks an unprecedented range. Black teas, green teas, white teas, tisanes, mate, rooibos and blends of all of the above nestle in huge, imperial purple tins, stacked neatly on shelves from floor to ceiling behind the counter. The friendly and knowledgable staff are always willing to offer suggestions both for specific "complaints" i.e. tea to boost the immune system, to help you sleep, for digestive difficulties and specific requests (e.g. allergies). Unlike many so called "healthy" drinks, these teas are both delicious and are designed purely to be drinks, not herbal remedies. One of my favourites, particularly during "cold season" is Immune Boost, an organic blend of echinacea, ginseng, orange, ginger and lemon. This is great first thing in the morning. Particularly impressive is the wide range of green teas, both plain and flavoured. There is always something new to try when you visit. All of the teas are available both to be drunk in the restaurant and to be bought from the shop. This also stocks infusers, teapots , sugar and tea gift sets. The teapots range from the ordinary to the rare. The gift sets are particularly imaginative: tailored to the seasons and presented in a range of cases, sets and "books".
The restaurant at the Tea Palace lives up to expectations. It is particularly popular at the weekend. The food is hearty and tasty and there is a range to suit all appetites.
Tea Palace, 175 Westbourne Grove, London. W11 2SB, UK. +44 (0)20 7727 2600.
Shop online at

Below, A Priori Thé, copyright Louisa McKenzie.

If you love the Tea Palace, you'll also be impressed by A Priori Thé, a beautiful tearoom set in the 19th century splendour of the Galerie Vivienne in Paris, France (the two places are NOT associated). Incredibly popular with locals, it is set slightly away from the main tourist sights but is well worth a visit. It is important to get there early because, being quite small, A Priori Thé fills up quite quickly. There is always a queue. Whilst there isn't quite the range of teas here that there is the Tea Palace, A Priori Thé is not to be outdone. It stocks a selection of teas provided by the legendary blenders Dammann. The teas are renowned for their delicate palates and fruity notes. I would particularly recommend the orange flavoured green tea for a refreshing accompaniment to most meals. The food is equally impressive at A Priori Thé, the goats cheese souflé omlette being light, yet filling. There is a tart or quiche of the day, which is always particularly popular. When you have finished your delicious meal you can explore the Galerie Vivienne, which offers a snapshot of Paris' past but is beautifully maintained.
A Priori Thé, 35-37 Galerie Vivienne, Paris, 75002, France. +33 (0) 1 42 97 4875.

No comments: