Mooncakes & Tea @ The Urban Tea Merchant

On the weekend, we were invited to try out the new and seasonal Moon Festival Tea Service at The Urban Tea Merchant, which is being offered until September 30th for $38 per person.

As a tea-drinker, I absolutely loved the store front of TUTM.  It's so visually appealing, and you can tell they put a lot of effort on their displays.

I particularly liked their lanterns which showcased the exclusive TWG tea-infused mooncakes.  I have loved mooncakes since childhood, and these ones were really quite beautiful, with their glossy baked crusts and traditional TWG logo.

It wasn't until two years ago when I spent Mid-Autumn festival in Hong Kong that I learned that mooncakes were kind of a big deal -- in Asia anyway.  All the major high-end restaurants and cafes had their own special mooncakes... like Haagen Dazs' ice cream variation.  Super fance.  I'm really glad TUTM is aiding Vancouver in this market expansion and importing premium mooncakes.

To pair with the mooncake tea set, Casey and Reza chose for us three teas: the 1837 black tea, silver moon tea, and Singapore breakfast.  The silver moon tea, a very smooth green tea, was our favourite, but the 1837, TWG's signature blend, as well as the Singapore breakfast, were also really delicious.

To compliment the tea-infused mooncake, the platter includes a generous variety of sweets and savouries with an Asian twist.  Our favourite savouries were the smoked salmon ribbon and the miso-maple glazed sablefish in butter lettuce.  The open-faced sandwiches had had a delicate hint of wasabi that went well with the ponzu jelly, and the sablefish was delicious with the soft butter lettuce and the light crunch of fried bits.  I enjoyed the ginger dipping sauce that complimented the four different steamed dumplings.

With four different variations of the mooncakes, we had the "Moonlight" -- which is filled with a white lotus paste infused with silver moon tea.  Enclosing a red fruit marmalade heart that was not overly sweet,  the lotus paste was smooth and not oily at all.  We also enjoyed the various truffles and fruits, many of which somehow incorporated tea in some way.

Aside from the moon festival tea set, we sampled the haute couture tea service ($48 per person) as well.  This tea set is a bit more traditional in the sense that it has three tiers and consists of the carbs one would usually find in afternoon tea sets.  Rick particularly enjoyed the scone, which was rich and moist.  The jam that came with it was also really good.  

The savouries on the bottom tier all incorporated tea, which I appreciated.  We enjoyed the Singapore breakfast tea seared ahi tuna, as well as the Miraculous Mandarin Tea scallop, which were both very intricate.  We also liked the chevron strawberry from the top tier as well as the TWG tea macaron.

It was a delightful experience at The Urban Tea Merchant, and we both enjoyed the two tea sets. I really liked the moon festival set, which had a generous amount of savouries and a more modern twist on the traditional afternoon tea.  Nonetheless, the more traditional haute couture set was delightful as well, as it showcased the different ways TUTM was able to beautifully include tea in different foods.

More: Rick Chung

1070 West Georgia Street   
Vancouver, BC
(604) 692-0071
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