I recently received a rather lovely invite to Bam-Bou, a South East Asian restaurant off Charlotte Street, for a pre-launch of their Tea-Tox afternoon tea and was happy to accept – who in their right mind would turn down Caprice Holdings?
‘Afternoon tea with a difference’ is the concept behind this latest pop-up. Unlike tea at The Ritz there’s not a scone, cake or jam jar in sight – which means, you leave feeling refreshed and not on a carb and sugar high that will last until early next morning.
From Marmite teas (that is, you either love them or hate them) to Botox in a box (well not literally, but it does work wonders for your skin) there’s tea to please everyone. Choose from a selection of white, green and black teas, iced teas as well as khong wan, lighter dishes.
I started with the 1000 year red, a giant unfurling flowering tea bud, which not only was beautiful to watch, but also easy on the palate. High in antioxidants and good for digestion, this would be the perfect tea after a meal. Next on was The Damask Rose Tea Buds, a miniature rose bud from the Fijian province. It had a very strong perfume taste, and was more flavoursome than the 1000 year red.
The Rose of The Orient then followed, which became a favourite. You could really taste the strong floral bouquet, yet it wasn’t too sweet. 4 types of green tea are squeezed in to this bad boy, as well as rose buds, marigold and passion flower. Having this iced was even better. I was quite keen on making it into a tea cocktail, adding a splash of vodka, but I guess it would slightly ruin the emphasis on healthy and detox…
Tea expert Shamir Shah, director of the East India Tea House that supply Bam-Bou with their teas, was invaluable as he told us about the teas’ origin, their flavour and other bits and bobs worth knowing about the 2nd most common beverage in the world. He really emphasised the health benefits of tea, especially the antioxidant-rich white tea, which skincare brands use for its cleansing effects.
To complement the delicious teas, I was served a caraway seed cake and an oriental fruit plate with papaya, dragon fruit and a perfectly ripen mango. The icing on the cake however, was the lemongrass granite with lychee and pomegranate – healthier than sorbet and bursting with fresh fruit flavour. It also cleanses your palate in between tea tastings.
The atmosphere was calm and relaxing, and after a complimentary massage session, I had to admit I was quite reluctant to head back on the tube. The afternoon tea is a little sanctuary, designed for us stressed Londoners to relax. Usually a safe place to spot the über-cool media people around Charlotte Street, more people will certainly be keen to try this quiet Oriental hideaway as soon as the tea word is out on the street.
Tea-Tox at Bam-Bou launches August 15th and will keep on running until the end of September. If the concept proves popular, you’ll be able to pop in for chrysanthemum tea all autumn long.