The Urban Tea Merchant recently unveiled a special Sakura West coast tea service to tie in with spring and our city’s beautiful cherry blossoms’ blooming. Available from 11 am to 6 pm daily, the service (minimum two people) includes Sakura! Sakura! and other TWG tea-infused savoury and sweet bites to enjoy with a pot of Sakura! Sakura! tea.
The tea service also includes an $8 credit, automatically applied to any TWG tea (the price of a Sakura! Sakura! pot of tea). Alongside my beautifully-presented glass dish of treats came two pots of tea: Sakura! Sakura! and White Spring Tea ($21). Both teas contain fragrant cherry blossoms, however the White Spring has rare silver Yin Zhen tips with a hint of fragrant blossom, while the Sakura! Sakura! tea is a green tea blended with the slightly-sweet cherry blossoms.
I found that the White Spring tea was an excellent palate-cleanser between bites, and had a different taste when cooled. The cherry blossoms in the Sakura! Sakura! add a hint of sweetness to each sip.
Just about everything on the plate is tea-infused, from the Lapsang Souchong Tea chicken spoon (containing a tender, slightly-smoked chicken) to the Matcha tea-infused madeleines. All are lovingly prepared with a few edible flowers sprinkled around the plate as well as a couple of sheets of dried nori underneath to complete the West coast theme.
Seared sesame-crusted tuna tataki is topped with shredded cabbage in a vinaigrette with Sakura! Sakura!-infused aioli drizzled onto a small, round scalloped spinach tortilla. Shitake mushrooms are marinated in Yuzu (a Japanese citrus cross between a regular and Meyer lemon).
Maple and miso-infused pieces of sablefish sit prettily in a butter lettuce cup, allowing the delicate flavour of the fish to shine through. Dijon and sesame oil are baked into the crostinis, striped with a piece of nori leaf for added taste and decor. The crostinis combined well with the Lapsang Souchong Tea chicken.
The ponzu jelly sitting atop the wasabi and smoked salmon is made in-house and very flavourful.
Two macarons add to the colourful array of delicacies: one infused with Vanilla Bourbon Tea and the other with Lemon Bush Tea. Both are South African rooibos teas from the TWG collection. Matcha madeleines are dipped in dark chocolate, two distinct flavours that combine well and are enjoyable with the teas. A couple of chevron strawberries resemble a buttoned-down vest, with their tiny white chocolate buttons and dark chocolate vest.
I also tried the Sakura! Sakura! Nanaimo Bar, available with both the Signature Sweet Plate or Petite Tea Service. This is a beautiful take on the classic Nanaimo Bar, enhanced by the green and cherry blossom tea, with a splash of berry drizzle to add a tiny bit of tartness. I highly recommend ordering this!
My favourite savouries were the salmon with ponzu jelly and sablefish with butter lettuce cup; the chocolate-dipped Matcha madeleines and vanilla bourbon tea-infused macarons were my favourites of the sweet selection.
The Urban Tea Merchant has called Georgia Street (west of Burrard) home for just over three years; they are Vancouver’s exclusive sellers of TWG teas. The rest of TWG’s shops are located in Asia, the US, the UK, and United Arab Emirates. Every TWG tea sold is made from 100% natural ingredients without chemical processing. Tea leaves come from single pesticide-free estates, while natural fruits and flowers are used, rather than their essences.
The Urban Tea Merchant’s main tea salon is located in the back of the shop and overlooks a small courtyard where cherry blossoms are starting to show their pink buds. A small teapot fountain quietly trickles on one wall while mellow lounge music plays in the room.
The Sakura West coast tea service costs $38 per person and add-ons included a glass of Veuve Clicquot ($30) or a glass of Nino Franco Prosecco ($12).
You can enjoy this specially-created tea service through April 30. The Urban Tea Merchant is located at 1070 West Georgia Street.
My tea service was compliments of The Urban Tea Merchant, for the purpose of writing this article.