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The Tea Centre

May 4, 2010

Tea Porn

When I’m in the city, I am always on the look out for places to sit down. Does that make me sound lazy? Ok yeah, well I’m not going to dispute the truth in that. It’s just that after a strenuous day of shopping and general hooliganism – all I want to do is plonk down and collapse into a heap somewhere. And while Hyde Park is fantastic when the weather is lovely, Sydney city isn’t particularly festooned with inviting places to linger when the weather gets colder. In fact, I would venture to say that the developers of Pitt St Mall in particular quite deliberately installed as few benches as they could get away with, in order to more efficiently siphon you into as many shops as possible (big surprise).

Here’s my top list of places to hang out and catch a break:

  • Hyde Park – you can’t beat park bumming
  • World Square – the architects of this relatively new development seemed pretty mindful of creating places for people to congregate. As such, there are plenty of lovely wooden benches to sit on. Pity that they didn’t think enough to prevent the ENTIRE COMPLEX BECOMING A GIANT WIND TUNNEL. Proceed with caution on blustery days.
  • Town Hall Steps – an oldie but a goodie. Guaranteed to be a good place for people watching, if your tastes verge towards emo
  • Galleries Victoria Food Court – weirdly, this spacious food court is pretty comfortable for hanging out. Perhaps because unlike the much busier (and dirtier) Myer food court, it is actually graced by the presence of natural sunlight (!)
  • Anyway, what I was going to talk about before I got distracted was my visit to The Tea Centre, after the excitement of Free Comic Book Day!

    The Tea Centre

    The Tea Centre is tucked away in Level 1 of the Glasshouse shopping centre on Pitt St Mall, one of the few centres left unravaged by the crazy renovation-ganza that was once the popular shopping strip. I kind of feel sorry for Glasshouse – it’s always a bit emptier than its neighbouring counterparts.

    Until I ventured in there recently, I had no idea what was up there. The gigantic chain stores General Pants and Portmans swallow up the entrance, hiding a miscellany of shoe stores, an expat candy store (must return to investigate further!), extremely specific clothing stores (“High and Mighty, Big and Tall”!), and a sprawling trinket and knick-knack store.

    And in the midst of it – The Tea Centre. It’s cute, up a wooden staircase there’s a little mezzanine filled with tables and chairs, and the walls are covered in a formidable assortment of tea varieties, and teapots.

    The Tea Centre
    I know where to go if I need a duck shaped teapot now

    The Tea Centre
    Oh my goodness, what to choose??

    What is probably bad for business if you’re a clothing store on the lookout for customers, works really well for this place. Nestled inside, away from the foot traffic of Pitt St Mall, The Tea Centre feels like a little haven. The walls are yellow and cosy – and the staff are genuinely friendly.

    We settled down to read the little laminated flip menu. If the wall of tea is any indication of the variety that is available at this place, the long and detailed list makes it abundantly clear. TEA IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.

    The Tea Centre

    My friend and I settle on a pot of Glögg, initially because of the cute name, but after that because it sounds delicious. It’s a flavoured black tea with cinnamon, orange peel, almond, ginger, cloves and cardamom. YUM! Sounds like a delicious cake – or more accurately – sounds like Glühwein! (spiced/mulled wine which is often drunk at Christmas in Germany, and is DELICIOUS!). A quick wikipedia (IPHONES ARE THE BEST) tells me that Glögg is the Nordic name.

    The other teas my friends chose were: Japanese Garden (Green tea, white tea, pineapple, strawberry, mallow leaves, papaya & rose petals – and also tasted as yummy as that sounded), and Masala Chai and Mumbai Chai. Everyone was really happy with their choices.

    The Tea Centre
    I love their little teapots, they’re like little birds

    The Tea Centre
    Tea pornography

    The little details were really lovely. Both black and Chai teas came out with individual pots of milk, but the milk accompanying the Chai tea was frothed. My friend and I split a Devonshire tea for two (around $14)- which gave us one large pot of the tea of our choice (Glögg!), and two little platters: a fat scone and small dishes of clotted cream and jam.

    The Tea Centre
    Devonshire Tea

    The scones were warm and nicely dense. And more than one dish of clotted cream was licked clean.

    Altogether one of the most pleasant sitting down days ever!

    The Tea Centre
    “The Glasshouse”
    146 Pitt Street Mall,
    Sydney NSW 2000

    (02) 9223 9909
    Opening hours:
    Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm,
    Thursday 9am-8pm,
    Saturday 10am-5pm.

    2 Comments leave one →
    1. May 4, 2010 10:17 am

      love that pic of the rows upon rows of tea! and ohgawd now i want scones

      • May 5, 2010 11:06 pm

        I know! So much to choose from…! I love how they all match though. How do they ever find anything?? Maybe they are arranged alphabetically.

        Mmm… yes. Fluffy, buttery warm scone topped with plenty of cream and strawberry jam……!! ;D

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