Despite good instructions from enthusiastic floor Manager Quinton Van Schalkwyk, most of my meal is spent debating and creating the perfect cup of tea with my British dining companion.
We started with Osmanthus Phoenix ($9) - a little too flowery for me - but it scrubbed up better in a Peaches & Phoenix ($17) cocktail, where fruit rather than flowers took the lead.
By the time we hit our favoured second pot – High Mountain Red Tea ($9) - we’re sure the second steeping produces the best tiny glass cup of tea.
While my interest was most captured by the teas (imported from Yunnan, China), this surprisingly charming teahouse...
...tucked under the garish-orange awning also does competent pan-Asian tapas with a bit of a Western twist.
Beyond the ever-popular Shanghai Soup Dumplings ($7) you’ll also find wackier Pork and Peanut ($7) versions in their nine-strong dumpling list.
Street food options like panko-crumbed pork Hong Kong Mini-Burgers ($15/4) or BBQ Duck ‘Tacos’ ($16/4) in steamed white buns, probably please groups more than couples.
Never fear there’s always Stir-Fried Green Beans ($18) with pork mince in XO sauce…
Nicely savoury but slightly undercooked black sticky rice let down our Coconut and Kaffir Lime Leaf Sorbet ($10) conclusion, as we alighted our Chinese saddle-stools, well hydrated but slightly stiff-legged.
20a Danks Street, Waterloo
Ph: (02) 8399 1331