Fantastic Lunar New Year Tea at The Urban Tea Merchant (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)
The Urban Tea Merchant is found along the glamorous and busy business district (I would say it’s an equivalent to NYC’s Madison Avenue in Midtown). The Urban Tea Merchant is well known in Vancouver since 2004 for carrying exclusively the line of teas and teawares from the luxury brand TWG from Singapore. On the ground floor, you’ll find the retail shop, where you can buy teas, gorgeous teapots and accessories, and even tea-infused macaroons. Toward the back of the shop upstairs is the hidden tea salon, where you can have lunch, brunch, desserts, cocktails, and, of course, tea service.
My friends and I had their seasonal Lunar New Year tea service since Lunar New Year is coming up soon (this year, it falls on February 8th). We had our own pot of tea but I opted for the Milk Oolong since I rarely have oolongs that have a caramelized, milky taste and silky texture. My friends opted for TWG’s signature 1837 tea and the White Night Jasmine teas.
The lovely presentation reminds me of the many wonderful teas I had in Hong Kong and what really amazed us was the food was not kitschy. The pork and chive wontons in chicken and ginger broth was delicious and tasted authentic. The wontons were delicious and light and the broth was flavorful.
The other delectable savory offerings were luxurious. The creamy foie gras mousse with truffle aioli on a fruity crisp cracker inspired by the “New York Singapore” tea. The Atlantic lobster torchon with tobiko aioli and yuzu gel was our favorite parts of the service. Sweet lobster meat delicately brightened up with the citrus-y yuzu. The slice of Brome Lake duck breast skewered with an Amerena cherry and “White Secret Tea” Shooter was very good and the non-alcoholic tea shooter was a nice palate cleanser to transition to the sweets.
Onto the sweets portion of tea, the mango panna cotta infused with Alfonso Mango tea and topped with honey milk caviar was not too sweet, not too firm and lovely mango flavor. The gilded “Weekend in Venice” strawberry tartlette with crème anglaise was tasty and the crisp, buttery tart. Chocolate dipped strawberries and fresh fruit like dragonfruit, ground cherries and sliced oranges has some symbolic nuances of Lunar New Year. Scones were freshly baked and delightfully buttery and flaky.
We had two tea macaron flavors inspired by TWG’s teas like the 1837 Black tea with black currant (black colored macaron) and Bain de Roses Tea (pink color) and they had good flavor but the cookie was a bit too crisp.
Overall, this was one of the best tea service experiences we’ve had. The teas itself were delicious and of the finest quality, as expected since it is from TWG. The food was thoughtful to infuse with the teas and it was not your typical afternoon tea fare. Service was great. The staff were knowledgeable with the teas and they are intuitive as to know when you need their attention or not. If you’re in town, you must visit The Urban Tea Merchants. They are much more than just tea and the experience is simply great.
To view more photos of this meal, please view the photo set or the gallery below:
The Urban Tea Merchant
1070 West Georgia Street
Phone: (604) 692-0071
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM