Escaping city belching with aromatic teas and cakes in a secluded laneway.
No matter what city you are in, there is sure to be a small area subject to gentrification by the super hip and ultra trendy. In Melbourne, you have Fitzroy (although from recent reports, the focus appears to be moving westwards). In London, go out Eastside past Canary Wharf or Southside further than Borough. In Hong Kong, away from Soho, there is Poho. And in “Poho,” there is a once plague-traumatised laneway by the name of Tai Ping Shan that is now home to a curious mix of arty homeware stores, boutique galleries, and coffin makers operating adjacent to coffee makers. And in this secluded laneway, there is a darling little al fresco spot that makes life in Hong Kong so beautiful. Allow us to introduce Teakha, a teeny cafe with a chalkboard menus, wooden picnic furniture and a twenty-something crowd that wouldn’t look out of place lounging around in a Richmond/Fitzroy cafe or the Borough Markets.
One visits Teakha for two things: tea and cakes. Tea of the likes that truly revitalizes your senses and makes you dream of another place (the Jamu Balinese Tea that sparkles with lemongrass, ginger, star anise), sweetens your afternoon (the girly pink Roselle & Fresh Mint Tea), or allows you to rediscover Hong Kong in a space a short step yet so far away from the bustle of the urban concrete jungle (the Keemun Milk Tea with Red Dates).
But readers, afternoon tea (or morning tea for that matter) is not made by tea alone. We hear you. Surrender then to the “Green Tea Cheesecake” (HKD$40), Teakha’s signature cake. Made in the lighter Asian-style, rather than your inevitable-waist-thickening-New-York manner, it is a truly exceptional dessert. For those who were never convinced by the idea of “green tea dessert,” this is guaranteed to win you over.
The “Osmanthus & Okinawa Black Sugar Chiffon Cake” (approx HKD $45) is another gorgeous thing — for the expatriate tired of soft Cantonese bread/cakes, this is a real cake, but with oriental flavours. Perfect. The light chrysanthemum tones that flutter with each bite calls for you to order a whole cake for your family home, especially that wizened old grandmama.
In the opinion of these Dessert Correspondents, Teakha’s scones are less successful. Available in a variety of flavours (ginger, figs, apple cinnamon, pineapple and honeycomb), they are cake nuggets in size and texture rather than scones. Just ok though if you are after something smaller than the signature cakes.
An eating spot where you are not breathing in air-conditioned shopping centre or office building air, or worse, carbon monoxide sputtering from a thousand cars or carbon dioxide exhaled by impenetrable crowds? Teakha is a Hong Kong miracle.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Teakha, Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island.
- ☑ Budget: $.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Cafe irresistible.
- ☑ Must-eat: The “Green Tea Cheesecake” or the “Osmanthus Chiffon Cake.”
- ☑ The short and sweet story: Escaping city belching with aromatic teas and cakes in a secluded laneway.