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O’ Ways Tea Café
Cuisine that resonates with music, coffee and tea
‘Would you care for a lavender iced tea?’ asks the waiter in a soothing tone. I’m seated on a deck under the welcome shade of trees. I've entered a space that is homely and light. The aromas of coffee, tea and even wasabi fill the air. Quaint glass teapots line the bar and vases of orchids spill from the tables.
Taiwanese owner, Lisa Tsai, is a piano teacher by trade (that explains the classical pianist in the background) but she has always been fascinated with food and how it resonates with music as well as tea and coffee. With the help of her husband tea merchant, Mingwei Tsai and Origin Coffee's, Joel Singer, her dream of seamlessly combining these elements have become a reality.
The letter O, in the name, symbolises the cycle of life whereas 'tea' and 'café' combine the elements of coffee and tea. The setting is buzzing with positive energy. The décor relies on earthy tones and beautiful floral decorations. There’s also a tea ceremony table, which can be booked for tea ceremonies held by Mingwei Tsai.
Fusion food meets infusion
Chef, Marion Kumpf has worked as a chef at a well-known hotel in Munich, on the Queen Elizabeth 2 in Ireland and with Harald Bresselschmidt at Aubergine Restaurant in Cape Town. Safe to say then that she’s a well travelled addition to the O’ways team. Her classic, contemporary breakfast and lunch menu marries Eastern and Western cooking styles and includes; classic Italian linguine with fresh ingredients as well as a dim sum platter. It's refreshingly different.
The menu offers over 60 Nigiro teas, sourced from Africa and Asia. The tea is served steeped in glass teapots. Speciality coffee beans from across Africa are roasted and brewed by baristas trained at the Origin Coffee Roasting Company.
My meal has been meticulously paired with artful brews. I start with a watermelon soup, there’s a hint of ginger and a kick of wasabi. My favourite is the Har Gau (traditional Chinese dumplings), accompanied by a nutty roasted Brazilian Mate (tea from South America). I'm pleasantly surprised by the turnip cake (Cantonese dim sum, made from shredded radish and plain rice flour) served with ginger mayonnaise, paired with a side of Earl Grey tea (flavoured with bergamot oil and blue cornflowers). Dessert is a rich, flourless chocolate cake complemented by apricot and cardamom chutney.
Far removed from the bustle of the city this peaceful café is steeped in South East Asian tradition. An ideal spot to eat a healthy, innovative lunch—which you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the Southern Suburbs.
By Lisa Nevitt
Shop 2 | Heritage House | 20 Dreyer Street | Claremont | +27 (0)21 671 2850
Visit our Cafes Section for big breakfasts, light lunches and top-notch coffees.
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