TWG’s Sakura! Sakura! green tea is a celebration of spring, honouring Japan’s annual Sakura blossom tradition. The very flavourful, slightly-sweet haute couture green tea is produced in limited quantities. Hanami – a flower viewing ceremony dating to the 8th century – draws thousands of visitors from around the world to catch a glimpse of the fragrant blossoms, in one of the world’s most scenic areas.
The Urban Tea Merchant pays tribute to this breathtaking event with a Sakura! Sakura! tea service for two. A glass platter is brought to our table filled with savoury and sweet bites, each morsel infused with a different TWG tea.
The service costs $45 per person (two person minimum; price includes one pot of tea per person) and can be paired with a spring collection tea in addition to Sakura! Sakura!, which is a delight to sip while savouring the goodies.
A recent addition to the culinary team is Chef Cliff Hohl, who’s created both a colourful and flavourful presentation to be enjoyed inside the beautiful little tea room in the back of the shop.
Miso-maple sablefish is served on a Shiso leaf, accompanied by a Sakura! Sakura! radish and lotus root crisp. Sencha tea-stained seared diver scallops are prepared with wild boar jam and yuzu jelly while a Kumamoto oyster gets a Togarashi Passion Fruit Tea jelly treatment in a plum vinegar mignonette. The sablefish is magnificent and a favourite amongst our group.
A skewer of Wagu beef is meant to be dipped into a small bowl of veal bone marrow accompanied by Enokitake mushrooms, served “shabu shabu” style (translating to swish, swish, as in, add the beef and quickly stir into the broth).
Sakura! Sakura! is also part of the sweet experience by way of a petit pavlova. A light Tokyo Singapore Tea ricotta cheesecake is nicely complemented by a few tea-infused macarons and fresh fruit.
I should mention here that TWG has an amazing selection of tea-infused macarons, including a Sakura! Sakura! variety, accented with notes of cherry blossom fragrance.
Another seasonal TWG favourite is the White Spring Tea, the champagne of teas. The Yin Zhen silver tipped-tea is minimally processed to maintain its delicate, gorgeous aroma and taste, with the addition of fragrant cherry blossoms.
Other seasonal services include a Mother’s Day Tea Service, Afternoon and High Teas, Breakfast Tea Set and a range of other experiences to enhance your tea drinking.
There’s lots of changes coming to the area: new neighbour-to-be Van Cleef & Arpels is constructing its new 6,000 square-foot, two-level shop right next door. And if you’re as much a fan of this tea as I am, you’ll be pleased to know that in this very space, the first TWG North American flagship will be opening this fall — a fully-branded store with a complete selection of teas.
The Urban Tea Merchant is located at 1070 West Georgia Street.