Where to find an innovative but authentic Asian tea room

It's all tinged with green at Sinmei Tea at Scrumptious Reads but that's because of one ingredient, matcha tea which finds it's way into everything.

The delightful Sinmei has joined with Julie at Scrumptious Reads (pictured below) to bring her style of tea house to Australia.  Sinmei has tea houses in Shanghai and Hong Kong but her James Street store in Brisbane is the only one where you'll find lamingtons with a touch of matcha which she created specially for locals to enjoy.

What is matcha?  It's a fine powder of specially grown and processed green tea.  The tea plants are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest.

In the small Scrumptious Reads kitchen, Sinmei makes all the tea house treats with her staff and likes to experiment to come up with new ways to use matcha tea in cooking.  She matches western classics with green tea flavours and has created some crackers!

Her Hojicha Hot Chocolate with roased tea, white chocolate, milk and marshmallows is a flavour sensation.  It's not a traditional hot chocolate but combines the same smoothness and sweet hit with the interesting variation of roasted tea.

When the weather warms up you might prefer one of her cold drinks such as a matcha mojito with matcha, mint, lime, brown sugar and soda.

As well as the lamingtons, the menu extends to include a matcha loaf cake which is very green and matcha yoyos.  The matcha chocolate fondant is very popular but do allow a little more time as it takes 20 minutes to cook and is designed for two people.

You can also enjoy sandwiches, rice paper rolls and Hakka Thunder Tea Rice served with home made tea paste.

Sinmei also offers an authentic Asian tea experience with a choice of teas including Pu Erh Vintage 2003 - a fermented dark tea produced in Yunnan, Keemun - a light black tea with a floral and slightly smokey aroma,  and Da Hon Pao - a prestigious oolong tea from Mountain Wuyi.

There's also the opportunity to indulge with an Afternoon Tea Set which includes a selection of goodies and tea of your choice.  You can enjoy this as a group around the large table or just for two.

If you haven't already discovered Scrumptious Reads, its a culinary bookstore born out of Julie's love for books and food. The shelves are filled with a diverse and interesting mix of selections along with home wares and even some locally collected honey.

Ed+bK rating:  4 stars - it's great to have a new tea option and the setting is delightful.

Recommended for:  Those who like to push their flavour boundaries.

Bottom line:  Hot drinks at $6 each, while cold drinks are $8. Lunch prices are around $15 and an afternoon tea costs $35.

Best tip: Buy a food book from Scrumptious Reads.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK enjoyed a complementary tea and cake at Sinmei Tea Room

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