I first heard of Tea at TASCHEN several months ago. It just started this year. I saw many pictures on Instagram accounts I follow and it absolutely looked amazing. I looked up the info and they only offer it once a week... Fridays at 2:30PM. And they only have 16 seats, so you definitely have to reserve ahead of time. Early afternoon on a Friday may be a problem for most people since we have to work. But I was psyched when they opened up a Saturday tea time for the holidays (November and December). Also at 2:30PM. I immediately called and got a reservation for 2 on 12/20. I dragged my fiance along with me. haha. He wasn't too keen on the price and had never done afternoon tea so he didn't understand my excitement.
Tea at TASCHEN - The Joule Hotel
1530 Main St.
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 748-1300 (x4363)
Just some brief info on the tea service...
Tea at TASCHEN is $59 per person, inclusive of taxes, gratuity and valet. During the tea, guests receive 10% off purchases in TASCHEN Library. The library is very intimate. A small room surrounded by interesting books and mosaics. Brightly lit, modern yet cozy. As we walked in, we were given glasses of champagne, the tables were beautifully displayed with colorful china, 24 ct. gold flatware, and a mini tower of delectable treats. The menu is seasonal, so it'll change in a few weeks.
There was a large communal table that was still empty when we arrived. So that gave me time to take like a million pictures. hehe. I loved the cup and saucer for the tea. And there was a shortbread cookie placed on top of it. We waited around for something to happen. My fiance wanted to dig into the food, but no one else had started yet. Plus there was no tea... so we tried to be patient. We were both hungry! haha.
Finally the large group arrived. And the manager came in to welcome everyone and explain how the tea service is going to work. He talked about the TASCHEN library, the rescued mosaics on the walls, the different food items on the display tower and the teas we will be trying. The champagne was all you can drink. Kinda wasted on me since I don't drink champagne, but I actually managed to down a full glass! The champagne they served was Gruet Sauvage.
The 3 teas featured were...
Nile Delta Chamomile (Egypt)
Coconut Assam (India)
Both of these were from Kai Organic Tea.
2001 Vintage Oak Barrel Aged Pu-Erh (China)
Now this part was different than other afternoon teas I've done before. Usually you just select the type of tea you want, and they bring you a personal pot of it to refill at your leisure. But here, they had a waitress serve the tea, and you try all 3 flavors. I would've preferred my own pot so I can refill my cup on my own. And neither of us were fans of the Chamomile so I had to wait awhile before they started serving the Assam. The Chamomile was quite bitter, not mild like I'm usually used to. And I don't really like it in general, but he did, and he didn't like this one. He added some honey to it and it seemed to help a little.
The Coconut Assam was interesting. Quite mild, not really sweet, but had a little nuttiness. The manager said this was his personal favorite, and the crowd pleaser, when he made his introductions. I thought it paired extremely well with the shortbread cookie.
The Pu-Erh was the one we both wanted to try the most. My parents and I actually drink a lot of it at home. It's a very dark tea. It has a very unique smell and taste. I want to say it's a little like licking a tree bark, but in a good way. haha. I guess it's just a bit more herbal/woody tasting. And the flavor of this particular one was actually milder than what I drink at home. The dark color just gives the impression that the flavor is going to be pretty strong. We both liked this the best.
Also, during the transition of different teas, a guy comes around with a jar and pours any remaining tea from our cups into it. I wondered why they don't give us new cups... It didn't bother either of us, but I would think hardcore tea connoisseurs would say the previous flavor is contaminating the next? Eh... we're not experts. haha. It was just something I noticed.
On to the food! Everything looked so quaint and delicate. I love miniature/finger foods. Always so tasty looking.
Goat Cheese Brioche (pumpkin butter, sage, salted pepita brittle). Y'all know I'm not a fan of goat cheese but I had to try a little anyways. It was quite goat-y... but I liked everything else. The pumpkin butter was a pretty orange and slightly sweet with the savory goat cheese. I loved the pepita brittle with that extra crunch. I just scraped most of the goat cheese off and gave to my fiance.
Lobster Mousse Napoleon (celery, spiced tapioca, soy caviar). This was interesting. There was a piece of lobster on the top and it was cooked perfectly. The soy caviar was done with molecular gastronomy. They did explain that they wanted to take classic afternoon tea foods and put a twist on it. The white puff on top was actually dehydrated tapioca balls and then fried! Cool!
Ham Mousse Eclair (parmesan tuille, mustard caviar, bonfire salt). Totally cute and yummy. It was like a ham and cheese sandwich but fancier! The bottom was an eclair half, then ham mousse, topped with parmesan tuille, mustard caviar, and 2 little donut balls. It had a lot of flavor in that little bite. The mustard was a great addition to the other flavors.
Deviled Egg Sandwich (tomato chutney, tomato meringue). This was our favorite. It was fantastic! Pretty AND delicious. I love a good deviled egg and I loved the presentation of it. How did they manage to cut out little perfect squares of egg white is beyond me. And the neat little piping of egg yolk on top. YUMM-O!
I had a friend that went a few weeks before me and she said that they were able to get more of the items they liked best. So we went in thinking that we can get refills on whatever we wanted...which cause my fiance to eat everything faster. haha. But half way thru, we were starting to think that wasn't the case. We asked the waitress that served the tea, if the food was one per person or if we can get more, and she said it was whatever is displayed for us. :( Uh-oh. haha. We were both a little disappointed. But later, when the manager came over, I asked him again. He explained that if the kitchen made extras or if they had some cancellations, then usually they are able to bring out more by request but it isn't always the case. He then asked us which ones we liked the best, we said the deviled eggs and ham mousse, and he winked and said they might have some more in the back. Yay! He later came out with 2 more deviled eggs and a ham mousse. He was fantastic btw, not just because he gave us more food. :P Very friendly, warm, and introduced the food/experience well.
Huckleberry Buckle. This was already on the tower when we arrived. It was one of my favorite items. Kind of like a scone, moister than a biscuit but drier than a muffin. The frosting on top was a perfect ratio to the pastry. It paired SO WELL with all the teas.
The last 3 desserts came out at the end. (From left to right)
Manjori Ancho Tart. It's a dark chocolate tart. I think he said 65% dark or something? It's very dense and rich, and had a spicy kick. It was too dark for my fiance so I got to eat half of his! :)
Vanilla Yogurt Sandwich (with lavender). I think they said this was made with their house-made croissant dough. The cream is infused with lavender. I'm allergic to the smell of lavender so I was hesitant to eat this. I tried a teeny bit of the cream and didn't taste anything other than yogurt. He told me not to eat it... and it wasn't worth eating. He wasn't a fan.
Passion Berry. This was so good!! A heavy contender to the Huckleberry Buckle. I love passion fruit and it pairs so well to the marshmallow and cocoa nibs. The passion fruit was sweet, refreshing, and a little tangy. It was nice to end the meal with that bite.
Before we were finished, they gave every person 2 macarons to go. We got a chocolate and I'm not sure what the other flavor is. The chocolate wasn't that great... kinda chewy, but the other one is airy and nice, as it should be.
It was a great time. The whole event lasted about 2 hours. It was nice to just sit back, relax and enjoy the moment. And my fiance enjoyed himself. Some things were different than I expected but overall I really liked it. The service was great, presentation was classy, the setting was intimate and the food was yummy. The price included tax and tip and valet already so I thought it was very reasonable. Generally afternoon teas are not cheap. I recommend this for a girl's day out, or if you just enjoy afternoon tea. They only have one service each day so you don't feel rushed at all, and you get your fill. We were both quite full after it all. And there's no dress code, but I noticed that most people were at least in nice casual attire.
Quality of Food:
~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~