Clarissa, mom and I had tea with our relatives in Nagoya at Fortnum & Mason right before we had to board the bullet train to Nara this summer.
They were sticklers when it came to photographs so I had to really be careful.
I'm pretty sure Clarissa would have been able to eat this entire plate of dessert had we not had lunch just moments before.
If you're looking for a great book to add to your tea library, pick up Tea at Fortnum & Mason by Emma Marsden.
Happy tea time!
As I was exiting the Jiyugaoka train station one day I noticed this adorable sign. Alas, it is for the TWG Tea Salon & Boutique. TWG Tea Company was established in Singapore in 2008 by Manoj M. Murjani and Taha Bouqdib.
So what's with the misleading year (1837) on their logo? The company claims it is a tribute to the "year when the Chamber of Commerce was founded in Singapore". They have many locations throughout the world including Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates.
TWG stands for The Wellness Group. I was kind of hoping it stood for something that sounded a bit less corporate.
They also sell hand made tea-infused sweet and savory items.
They have a very large assortment of loose leaf teas available to purchase behind the counter as well as teabags that come beautifully wrapped and packaged.
Their tea salon was packed with ladies in the middle of the day.
They sell very ornate, expensive silver and gold teapots and cups. I didn't sit to have tea, but I did have just enough time to pop in and snap a few pictures before the lady behind the counter asked me not to take any photographs.
1-9-8 Jiyugaoka Meguro-ku Tokyo
Tel. +81 (03) 3718 1588
Monday through Sunday 11 am - 9 pm
BVLGARI in Tokyo has two cafe locations where you can sit back, relax and enjoy a quiet meal in an exquisite setting. I passed the one in Ginza, but didn't have an opportunity to go in so when I was in Omotesando Hills doing some last minute shopping, I made sure to go in.
Bulgari Il Cafe is a restaurant located in the Harajuku neighborhood of Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is located on the second floor of the Gyre building, across the street from Omotesando Hills.
This upscale cafe is owned and operated by an Italian company that owns Bulgari Hotels. The interior is designed by Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio & Partners, and is very modern with glass walls, black leather chairs, and teak floors.
You're definitely going to need reservations if you want a seat indoors in the middle of summer (which I highly recommend by the way). We were lucky that they had space for us outside, but if you know anything about Tokyo in the summer you know that it's HOT and HUMID.
We were taken outside to the patio area where we were seated at a lovely table. Spacious deck and beautiful greenery surrounded us.
I'm all about details so I knew I was going to love this place once the menus...
and napkins arrived.
BVLGARI Brunch Box includes three kinds of appetizers, a pasta dish, Sautéed Sea Bass with Marinated Eggplant and Green Beans, three kinds of desserts (including one piece of their famous BVLGARI chocolate) and drink (coffee, tea or chocolate drink).
Iced coffee for my cousin and Iced Tea for me.
The menu is Italian cafe food - full of sandwiches, pastas, and handmade chocolates.
And on your way out...
if you feel inclined to take home a little souvenir or maybe a special treat for a loved one...
check out their gorgeous display case full of handmade chocolate gems and chocolate dipped fruit and nuts.
The packaging is to do die for.
Here's the other cafe at the Ginza location...
The service was excellent and the food portions were surprisingly generous. My cousin and I split the brunch box and still couldn't finish everything. We would have liked to purchase some more chocolates, but as we all know, quality always stomps quantity. One chocolate for each of us.
GYRE 2F, Jingumae 5-10-1, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo
I can't understand why we don't have a Mariage Fréres in New York City? They have 15 locations in Japan alone! It drives me completely nuts. Luckily I had the opportunity to stop into the one in Ginza on my last trip to Japan.
Mariage Fréres Ginza is right in the heart of the Ginza district, down a small street off the main Chuo-dori Street. This most prestigious of Japan's Mariage Fréres stores has a graceful, wood-paneled facade, with wrought iron window bars upstairs that reflect its French origins.
Step inside Mariage Fréres Ginza and you are greeted by a very inattentive yet knowledgeable staff - as well as a wallful of teapots and tea canisters, as varied in shape and color as the kinds of tea offered here. I have to say, the sight of those oversized tea canisters set my heart aflutter. They also had books about tea and other little accessories.
The Mariage Fréres Ginza is comprised of a restaurant, tea museum, tea emporium and tea salon.
Their tea menu reads like a book. A staggering selection with exclusive teas not available in all their stores. I couldn't resist picking up a few teas while in the shop.
First one I chose was the Paris-Ginza, which is an exclusive flavored black tea blend.
The second one I chose was the Tokyo Breakfast Tea, a yuzu black tea.
I couldn't resist purchasing this Sel Matcha, a tea flavored Matcha salt that can be used for cooking or flavoring savory items. I might just sprinkle a little on my popcorn.
The last thing I picked up before heading out was some Moon Palace Tea, a blue tea from Thailand. Of course, that's only after I managed to get the attention of a nice young man, who was more than eager to help me choose some teas. The two French men standing near the counter barely glanced my way when I asked for assistance. The young man who finally did end up helping me (and I must have spent a good half hour smelling more than a dozen teas) was very patient and knowledgeable about the MF tea line. He answered all of my questions and showed a great passion for tea. In the end he suggested I might like the Moon Palace Tea so I bought it.
In conclusion, I thought the shop was gorgeous and the location is ideal, but I'm not sure I'll be returning to this particular location to pick up my teas in the future.
More on the specifics of the teas in a later post.
Mariage Fréres Ginza
Suzuran-Dori, 5-6-6 Ginza
Phone. : 03 3572 1854