Not My Cup of Tea @ Meloty

Before everything, I just want to apologize for being MIA for a couple of weeks now (busy with work, friends and family are visiting and all that jazz, you know). I did not come back empty handed though since I have tried a couple of new places! 🙂

There’s been a hype over having high tea in the afternoon as opposed to having light snacks at Mcdonald’s and other such places for a while now, BUT I haven’t really tried it! Some of the reasons that kind of stopped me from trying it are (1) I haven’t got funds–which is all around an important factor and (2) since it IS afternoon tea, it’s kind of hard to fit it in my schedule!

There are very popular places like the Secret Garden Tea Company in Kerrisdale ($15-$40) and in the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver (starts at around $60-$100 a pop so you wonder why I haven’t tried it), both pretty good according to some people who’ve been there, but I can’t really get myself to think about what makes it so expensive! Long story short, I brought my cousins (some are visiting from Manila) to Meloty, a place that’s kind of okay for first timers to try since it gives you a glimpse of the whole experience without emptying your wallet in the process!

Outside, it’s really not much to look at. You probably wont even know it’s a Fine Tea place based on the signage design but inside, it actually looks pretty classy! The second we entered we were greeted by a hostess, and behind her station was a wall to wall case displaying different designs of fine china (which are also for sale). The ambiance was the first thing I noticed was the high ceiling, a long staircase in the middle of the room, different floor levels– all hardwood floors and decadent plate settings.

It was all good and very exciting…until the food came. Since there were 4 of us, we decided to get the $30 for 2 people including a tower of petite sandwiches and desserts with 2 pots of tea. The tea came in a glass pot with a metal strainer inside for steeping and had quite a few selections (around 20 different ones) but the food was really nothing special. The set came with 4 finger sandwiches, all having the same filling (pretty much your basic ham and cheese sandwich with a bit of cucumbers and lettuce with a choice of either white bread or croissant wrap). Not really something I would look forward to eating away from home.

The pastries were also very disappointing. It wasn’t as good as it looked! Another thing you should know about me is I’m crazy for Tiramisu! Whenever I would go to a shop and they serve Tiramisu there, I HAVE to try it. In this case however, I wish i hadn’t.

The tiny cup was filled with stale tasting cream and literally 3 tiny chunks of ladyfingers! It was topped with soggy looking chocolate powder (the kind that you see after it has been sitting in the fridge for a day or so) and a raspberry. It was nothing like a Tiramisu. The flavor was next to bland and it was the first time I only had 2 bites and I was finished. I couldn’t even finish the teeny tiny cup. The other pastries were similar. Pretty much laden with cream with absolutely no cake. The only saving grace of the whole thing was the creme brulee which was the only authentic pastry in the set. It wasn’t jelly like at all and had a very nice creamy texture and you can see fresh vanilla beans mixed in with the custard filling. If it wasn’t for that, I really don’t have a kind word to say about the food.

Overall, this experience was still fun. It was saved by the ambiance and the creme brulee and probably the service. The tea was also fine and you can ask for refills of hot water for the pot,  but the pastries were just…I don’t even want to say it. It’s a 5/10 for me, probably even a 3 because they butchered my favorite dessert but it’s just my opinion. Apparently, they do have dinner sets as well, but I don’t know If I even want to come back to try those. Ill probably shell out a few more bucks at Secret Garden if it’s going to be better than this. For the first time ever: KAT NOT APPROVED. (haven’t worked on a logo for that yet)

Anyway, here’s the information of the restaurant if you’re willing to give it a chance:

http://www.meloty.com/homepage.html

#1161-8328 Capstan Way
Richmond, B.C.  V6X 4B4
Canada

Tel: (604) 214-4691
Fax: (604) 214-4692

Meloty on Urbanspoon

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Crazy for La Chocolaterie

I fell in love with La Chocolaterie’s handmade deliciousness last year during a closed wine & cheese charity event at Richmond Centre. They had a small station there with about 8 different flavored chocolates and they were giving free samples of them to everyone. It was literally love at first bite! There were some flavors that you wouldn’t even dream of mixing with chocolate, but they make it work superbly! If you were there, you’d probably have seen me going around in circles and eating about 20 pieces of chocolate during the span of an hour. It was so good that I actually looked for their shop the very next day to bring some home with me!

It’s been a while since I was last there and the owner still remembers me! In the couple of months since I last visited, they have yet again created a dozen more crazy flavors like carrot, tomato, kiwi and even kale! I personally haven’t tried those flavors yet, so I can’t speak for them, but if you’re around the area, leave me a comment down there if you got a taste of it! 🙂 Despite all the new flavors, they still kept all the beloved traditional flavors that I got so addicted to!

Since the shop is inside the Izumiya (A Japanese supermarket chain), the front has a very simple facing and signage that’s very zen. It’s clean and sleek, and they let the wonderful colors of their tasty concoctions speak to the customers.

Another interesting thing about this place is that it’s run by power couple Kayoko Hamamoto and Takanori Chiwata, both chocolate researchers in Japan. Takanori had a hand in the invention of the popular Melty Kiss Chocolate by Meiji and Kayoko has perfected the blend and the optimum roasting technique for chocolate that allows it to be combined with any ingredient in the world.

You can learn more about the history of their growing business here: http://tkchocolate.com/about-us.htm

After spending about an hour making up my mind and countless samples later, I settled on getting 4 different flavors today. Japanese Citron, Strong Green Tea, Earl Grey and Cherry Blossom (which is a seasonal item for spring).

(From top left clockwise: Earl Grey, Strong Green Tea, Japanese Citron, and Cherry Blossom)

If you taste this chocolate, no matter what flavor you have, it melts in your mouth. It’s so pure and delicate, the way chocolates are supposed to taste like.

The Earl Grey is definitely for those who love the taste of the tea. I’ve seen it in bubble tea, in cakes and even mixed in to cream puffs, but  this is the first time I’ve had it with chocolate. It’s not just a hint of earl grey but it’s like you taste both the tea and the cacao at the same time. Highly recommended for those who love earl grey (like me!)

The Strong Green Tea is probably one of the things you should get a taste of to experience authentic Japanese flavors. It’s definitely very rich, but a perfect mix of bittersweet. Compared to the earl grey, the green tea is more dominant than the cacao taste, but the distinctive flavor is what makes it so good. The Green Tea flavor is VERY strong, so if you’re not a big fan of green tea, I’d probably ask for a sample first. 🙂 I would say this is a bit of an acquired taste.

The Japanese Citron is my new favorite! This is the first time I’ve tried this and I’m totally in love with it! The citron is a citrus fruit that you can find in Japan and Korea. It has the tang of the lemon and the sweetness of the orange. Plus, it’s very fragrant. The chocolate tastes great with the right ratio of both flavors. There’s also some zest mixed in there which makes it even more flavorful.

The Cherry Blossom is of course the seasonal flavor so I had to try that! I haven’t tried eating cherry blossoms (I don’t even know if it’s edible) but the flavors of this chocolate is very fresh and in my head, very reminiscent of the cherry blossom. It’s sweeter than the other flavors and has the freshness comparable to strawberries with a hint of coconut. A very good and refreshing combination! I’d only wish they’d make it a permanent addition on the menu.

(Me with owner Kayoko Hamamoto)

Overall, La Chocolaterie never fails to exceed my expectations! Maybe next time I’ll be brave enough to try the more interesting flavors especially since you get a 10% off coupon on your next purchase every time you shop! (Coupon expires after 30 days) The price is a little bit more on the expensive side but you get what you pay for! The 10 piece cups are $5 each and the 2 piece chocolates (like the cherry blossom one) are $1.50 each. They have other packages too and even gifts and party favors but you have to contact them to make arrangements and get a quote on the price. 🙂

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La Chocolaterie

160-7971 Alderbridge Way, Richmond BC V6X2A4

604-214-6607

info@tkchocolate.com

La Chocolaterie on Urbanspoon