Whittington's Tea Emporium joins You Me And Tea at The Noodle House*

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this event free of charge. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

I drink a ridiculous amount of tea - five cups a day is pretty normal for me, and I am very picky about how I make it. So when the lovely people at Whittington's Tea Emporium invited me to attend their 'You Me and Tea' tea tasting and food pairing event, I absolutely jumped at the chance! I do tend to have tea if we go for dim sum but wouldn't have thought to match it with other types of Asian food, so was intrigued to see how the pairings would work.





The event took place at The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue, which mixes the street food of South East Asia with a setting more typical of a Japanese teahouse. I particularly loved the globe lights which created fantastic spider web-like effects on the wall and the map of the Indian Ocean.


Whilst we were waiting for the talk to start we had a really delicious mocktail with jasmine and peach iced tea. It had a really refreshing taste - perfect in the hot and humid weather we had in London last week - and a little kick of fizz but without being overly sweet.

The evening started with an introduction to Whittington's Tea Emporium from the founder, Kyle Whittington, who set up the company in 2011 after not being able to find somewhere to source all the best teas in one place. His passion for tea really shone through and was incredibly inspiring.


Each of the tastings is themed around a different type of tea and ours was focussed on oolong tea. I must admit that I'd never tried this type of tea before so was intrigued to see what it would be like. Oolong tea is a partially fermented tea - as opposed to black tea, which is fully fermented - which means that it doesn't need to be brewed at such high temperatures to get the different flavours to emerge.


We started off with a jasmine oolong tea, a rolled oolong (where the leaves are rolled into tight balls) scented with fresh jasmine blossoms, which was served with vegetable spring rolls. I found the slightly floral peachy taste of the tea worked really well with the spring rolls, bringing out the flavours of the different vegetables and cutting through the hint of spice in the sauce.


Next up was Hong Sui oolong tea, which as you can see was a slightly darker colour than the jasmine oolong. We had this with duck dumplings and they tasted really good together; the tea had a lovely plum flavour to it which paired beautifully with the duck and its smoothness was a nice balance against the rich pastry. This was definitely my favourite pairing of the evening.


The third pairing was a Yellow Gold oolong and wok tossed chicken salad. Yellow Gold, also known as Golden Osmanthus, has twisted leaves and is a golden colour (in case the name didn't give it away). It has a lovely smooth buttery texture which I love and which could make this a lovely after-dinner tea instead of dessert. The contrast between the tea and the light fresh tastes of salad worked really nicely as a pairing - I like the idea of using the tea and the food to balance the ingredients and tastes in each other.


Our fourth combination was a Ginseng Oolong, which is a blend created especially for The Noodle House and has even won an award! This tea was served with mee goreng, a dish of udon (fat) noodles with broccoli, tofu, pak choi, bean sprouts and a spicy tomato sauce. The tea was really aromatic from the ginseng and liquorice grass it had been covered with and its sweetness cut through the heat of the sauce nicely.


Finally, we had Nepal Red Thunder (best name for a tea ever) paired with beef char kway teow, which is a stir-fry of flat rice noodles, beef, beansprouts, leeks, broccoli, spring onions, garlic and eggs. I got a bit obsessed with char kway teow when we were in Singapore and Malaysia - it's very big in the hawker centres (outdoor food courts) over there - so had high hopes for this. The tea's malty and sweet notes (it's another one that would make a great dessert alternative) balanced out the rich beef and fresh vegetables really well, and I loved the novelty of the fact it came in a cone too! Apologies for my split fringe in the photo above by the way - I did style it before I came out but the weather wasn't having it...


The meal was finished off with a refreshing citrus and green tea gelato and a Long Islad Spiced Tea cocktail (essentially tea with lots of spices mixed with gin, which makes it possibly the perfect cocktail for me). I will definitely be trying to recreate that one at home next time we have a cocktail party!


Overall I really enjoyed 'You Me and Tea'. The tea was paired brilliantly with the food and it was really interesting to be introduced to a type of tea I didn't know a lot about, as well as how to pick out the different notes in the food and tea and match them with each other. I'll definitely be coming back to The Noodle House for dinner next time I'm in this part of London (is it really geeky I'm considering pairing it with the Ming exhibition at the British Museum when it opens next month?) and will hopefully be buying some oolong tea from Whittington's Tea Emporium very soon. They have an amazing selection of different types of tea so I'd really recommend checking them out - if you like tea I'm sure you'll find something you love there!

'You Me and Tea' events take place on the first Tuesday of every month at The Noodle House and cost £15 each. Whittington's Tea Emporium is also running tea and cheese tasting sessions in Greenwich on the last Tuesday of every month starting on the 26th August, and will soon be launching a series of walks on the history of tea in London. If any of those take your fancy do let me know as I'd love to hear what you thought of them.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing! This event looks great. I also love the pair tea + pasta. Have a great week!

    Jasmine x
    For a Real Woman
    So easy Spanish!

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  2. This looks absolutely amazing, I really wish I was closer as this looks an experience not to be missed, anything foodie or drink and a concept I haven't seen or heard of before, it looks great xxx

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