Tomorrow is the Lunar New Year — the Year of the Rabbit — and this is my first Joburg post of 2023. In celebration of both these facts, I’m thrilled to tell you about Tea and Antique, a brand-new Chinese establishment in Bedfordview.
Tea and Antique, which opened about a month ago, is a traditional Chinese tea house serving delicate, beautifully presented Chinese teas. It’s also a Chinese restaurant with a compact menu of tasty dumplings, buns, and a couple of other dishes. Most exciting of all, it’s a bakery, offering delightful Chinese pastries that are hand-made by Nini, the owner.
Tea and Antique is the kind of place I enjoy blogging about most: small, local, offbeat, and hidden away on a suburban street in the East Rand. I love that Nini has an interesting story to tell, and I love how carefully thought through everything is — from the funky glassware to the beautifully printed cards describing the different teas and cakes.
A Chinese Lunch/Afternoon Tea in Bedfordview
Eating at Tea and Antique was the perfect way to kick off my 2023 Joburg explorations. I went with fellow Jozi bloggers Attiya and Gail — thanks to Gail for discovering Tea and Antique and suggesting we go there.
First, the decor: Nini’s husband, Jonsen, is an antiques collector and has filled the shop with antique furniture and ceramics (which I assume are for sale, although I didn’t ask). The space is bright and cheerful.
Next, the shop: Nini sells an eclectic yet carefully curated selection of tea, clothing, jewelry, and other novelties, all imported from China.
Last, and most important: The meal. This was the most enjoyable Chinese culinary experience I’ve ever had.
We started with chilled, sweetened black tea, served in a glass flask with tumblers that are interestingly rounded on the bottom. We also tried the chilled green tea, which I really enjoyed.
We then moved on to dumplings — two pork varieties and one shrimp. The fried pork dumplings, which were stuffed with chopped greens and spices as well as pork, were my favorite.
We then moved on to the cakes.
Nini taught herself to make traditional Chinese cakes after moving to South Africa, because she thought the cakes here are far too sweet. After eating Nini’s cakes, I totally understand what she means. They’re subtle — not too sugary but just sweet enough. Eating them is a very pleasant experience.
We finished with a plate of dessert-like “salted egg buns” followed by a pot of hot tea, which Nini served in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
We were at Tea and Antique for about two-and-a-half hours and I loved every minute. Highly recommend! Happy Year of the Rabbit.