Chai: Adventures in Tea, Edinburgh

May 11, 2011

Chai Adventures in Tea,

Edinburgh,

EH1 2QD.

 

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.

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