With its sleek, all-white interiors and monochrome furniture, this daytime tea shop and lunch counter in the Mandarin Plaza looks like it could double as a Muji showroom. It also happens to serve some of the best Chinese/Taiwanese comfort dishes around, featuring a rotating menu of soups and rice bowls, including garlic beef tongue served with microgreens, vegan bean curd noodles, and a silky noodle soup covered in three types of pork. And as a teahouse, they also offer a prolific selection of teas, which they are happy to help you make sense of if you, like us, have only bought bags en masse from Costco.
We love their Hainan chicken because it combines big, tender pieces of poultry, well-made sauces, and pretty plating (we’re suckers for handmade ceramics). In addition to the rice and chicken, they’ve included some pickled cabbage with a good crunch and a surprising amount of spice. Instead of a fine, paste-like ginger scallion sauce, they’ve opted for one that’s coarsely chopped and thick, with a slaw-like consistency. Together, it’s a nourishing dish that should be an instant add to your “I’m feeling under the weather and need something to nurse me back to life” shortlist.
At night, the place transforms into Steep After Dark, a moody, low-lit lounge with tea-infused cocktails that are extremely satisfying and unique. We loved the refreshing chrysanthemum vodka drink made with cucumber and a drop of sesame oil, and the bolder black tea whisky concoction spiked with a housemade Sichuan peppercorn syrup. There’s also a short menu of drinking snacks, and the bartender might send you off with a small cup of high-grade green tea on the house.
photo credit: Chicken Rice 2.0, Andrea D'Agosto